Kala Santiago was riding her bike to work in Brooklyn’s Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood the morning of Oct. 12 when she was fatally struck by a tractor trailer.

The 25-year-old mother of two young children was one of at least 247 people killed in car crashes on New York City streets in 2022, according to the city Department of Transportation.

“She was a good daughter, she was about to go back to college and finish one more year,” said Santiago’s mother, Leeanna Alois. “Nobody deserves that. I feel like there need to be better safety precautions for people who ride bikes.”

The fight to prevent traffic deaths in New York City dates back to the advent of the automobile — and advocates fear things are heading in the wrong direction.

The number of traffic deaths across the five boroughs fell this year from the 274 deaths reported from car crashes in 2021. But last year proved to be an outlier, with the city seeing more people killed by motorists than any calendar year since 2013 — the year before former Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and launched the city’s “Vision Zero” program with the goal of eliminating fatal crashes.

The program centers around redesigning city streets with safety features like bike lanes and narrower roads, which prove to discourage reckless driving. It also focuses on educating motorists on how to drive safely — and ticketing those who break the law.

Car crashes proved to be as big of a problem in New York City in 2022 as shootings. An NYPD spokesperson said 246 people were killed with guns in the city this year as of Christmas Day, mirroring the number of people killed by drivers.

Officials at the city Department of Transportation pointed to some progress on Vision Zero since the start of the year, when Mayor Eric Adams took office. The agency installed safety features like speed bumps at 1,400 intersections in 2022, officials said.

Adams also scored a win in Albany earlier this year, as state lawmakers passed legislation allowing the city’s automated speed enforcement cameras to operate 24/7. Until August, the city could issue tickets only on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

City officials pointed to long-term progress: New York City saw 381 traffic deaths in 2000, 54% more than this year.

But street safety advocates like Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, feel the city hasn’t done enough.

Harris criticized the city’s failure to meet the mandate of the “Streets Master Plan” law passed by the City Council in 2019, which requires the Department of Transportation to install 30 new miles of protected bike lanes this year. Transportation department officials said they were on pace to install 25 miles of those lanes by the end of 2022, but declined to specify how many had actually been installed with three days left in the year.

“We need to get the streets plan done, and we need an accelerated path to get to Vision Zero,” said Harris. “This needs to be expanded at scale so no New Yorker needs to fear death or serious injury.”