Articles Tagged with Pedestrian Accidents

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The rate of injuries and deaths in vehicle-related accidents in New York is approximately one every two hours. In fact, the mayor of New York City has worked to make conditions safer for pedestrians as well as motorists by signing a law that reduced the default speed limit to 25 miles per hour. The initiative in the city is known as Vision Zero, which is dedicated to street safety. The wisdom in reducing speed limits in areas with extensive pedestrian activity is supported by a recent study that shows a major connection between speed, age, and risk of death for a pedestrian.

The data used in this study comes from a federal compilation of data gathered between 1994 and 1998. This data shows that when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian at a speed of approximately 22 miles per hour or less, the risk of death for the average person is less than 10 percent. However, the risk of death for an individual who is 70 or older is nearly twice as high as a car travels at 22 miles per hour.

At 25 miles per hour, the average person’s risk of death in such an incident is 12 percent, and the aged individual’s risk is 23 percent. With Vision Zero in place, New York City experienced its lowest level of traffic deaths in a given year since 1910, and the new default speed may be a significant factor in this outcome. While reduced speeds don’t completely remove the risks for pedestrians, they may represent a key strategy for leaders in other cities with serious pedestrian fatality statistics.

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A stolen Tahoe being driven by a New York minor crashed into another SUV in Flatbush on May 16, causing injuries to four people. The driver of the vehicle was arrested and charged with grand larceny, being in possession of property that was stolen and use of a vehicle without permission. According to investigators in the incident, the 18-year-old male jumped into the vehicle in Brownsville on Rockaway Blvd. as the SUV was left unattended with the motor running.

The two-vehicle accident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. after police noticed an SUV run a red light and followed the vehicle. Three blocks further, the SUV ran another red light where it crashed into a second SUV, a Pathfinder, causing both vehicles to spin. As the vehicles went in different directions.

The vehicle that was struck ran up over a sidewalk, barely missing a woman pushing an infant in a stroller. However, debris from the SUV struck the child and both woman and child were transported to a hospital, where their conditions were reported as stable. The vehicle that had been stolen struck another woman pushing a stroller when it ran up over a curb. A wheel came off the SUV when it jumped the curb. Reportedly the baby was not struck, but the SUV hit the mother of the child, tossing her in the air. She was listed as being in critical condition.

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We talk a lot in this blog about the many dangers the pedestrians in New York City face and distracted drivers pose one of the biggest threats to pedestrians in the city. Whether fiddling with the radio, looking at a GPS device or checking Facebook on a Smartphone; drivers who allow their attention and focus to be taken off of the road are a hazard to everyone with whom they share the road and especially to pedestrians.

It turns out that many pedestrians in New York City are also distracted and regularly put their own health, safety and very lives in danger by not paying attention to where they’re walking. Additionally, distracted walkers also put the safety and health of other pedestrians at risk and are responsible for knocking down other pedestrians and causing them to suffer serious injury.

“Women age 55 and older are the most likely to suffer serious injuries, including broken bones” due to the actions of distracted walkers and individuals age 18 to 34 are the most likely offenders. In addition to walking into and knocking down other pedestrians, distracted walkers are also prone to trip and fall on curbs, run into signs or other objects and fall down stairs.

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When surveying traffic in New York City, the vast majority of motor vehicles are taxi cabs and personal vehicles. In fact, the Department of Transportation reports that trucks make up only 3.6 percent of the city’s traffic. However, despite this seemingly insignificant number, trucks are cited in approximately 32 percent of fatal accidents involving bicyclists and 12 percent of pedestrian deaths.

In many cases, fatal and serious truck accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists occur when an individual is hit by or runs into a truck’s side. When this occurs, an individual’s body may be pulled underneath the truck and crushed by its wheels. In an effort to prevent these types of debilitating and deadly accidents, this past June, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation “requiring side guards on all large city trucks, and on private garbage trucks operating in New York City, by 2024.”

The bill affects some 10,000 trucks that operate within the city including approximately 4,500 city vehicles, “2,700 Department of Sanitation vehicles” and as many as 6,000 privately-owned and contracted garbage trucks. With the signing of this bill, New York City becomes the second U.S. city, after Boston, to require the use of side guards on large trucks operating within city limits.

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News sources report that more than 10 percent of New York City residents walk to work, making the city number one among pedestrian commuter cities in the U.S. Given other commuting options like taking the subway, driving a motor vehicle or hopping in a cab; for many city residents, walking is the quickest and least stressful way to get to and from work.

While there are many environmental and health benefits to walking versus driving in a car or standing on a crowded train, pedestrian commuters also face numerous hazards as they attempt to cross busy and congested city streets.

According to New York Public Radio’s Mean Streets project, during 2014, a total of 144 pedestrians were killed in New York City traffic accidents. With a total of 51 reported pedestrian deaths, Brooklyn ranked number one among the city’s five boroughs for the most reported pedestrian traffic fatalities. Queens ranked second with 42 pedestrian deaths followed by Manhattan with 29.

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On any given day throughout New York City’s five boroughs, millions of people can be seen walking to the subway, work and school. Residents of and visitors to the city are accustomed to walking and many favor being a pedestrian over a driver or passenger. While pedestrians are everywhere in New York City, many people likely don’t realize the numerous dangers and hazards pedestrians face on a daily basis.

According to a recent report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, during a three-year period, from 2011 to 2013, a reported 453 pedestrians were fatally injured throughout New York City’s boroughs. Among those city streets deemed the most deadly are the Bronx’s Grand Concourse and Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue, both reporting 10 fatal pedestrian accidents within the three-year timeframe.

Also listed among the city’s most dangerous streets for walkers are Queens and Woodhaven Boulevards in Queens with a total of 17 deaths and Manhattan’s First Avenue which, during the timeframe studied, was the site of seven fatal pedestrian accidents. These “multi-lane arterial” streets pose many dangers to pedestrians who may not be able to cross all lanes of traffic before a walk or traffic signal changes.

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Not sure of what’s required of drivers after an accident that causes property damage or injury? Basically, if you are physically able to exchange information with the other driver, then you are required by law to do so.

In New York, the law states that, if you know or have cause to know that the collision resulted in personal injury or property damage, then specific kinds of information should be exchanged with the other party or provided to police before you leave the place where the injury or damage occurred. The law requires you to provide the following:

  • Name
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance information, including your card, carrier, policy number and effective dates
  • Street and number of your residence

Police on the scene of a crash are also required to help the parties involved in the collision exchange information when doing so is practical and physically possible.

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Of all the vehicles on the road in New York City, trucks owned by the city make up less than 4 percent. However, as recent reports tell, 32 percent of bicyclist fatalities and 12.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities are due to collisions with city-owned trucks.

In consideration of those disturbing figures and the human suffering they represent, the City Council Transportation Committee has unanimously passed legislation that would require all private and public sanitation trucks in the city to install protective side guards to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from being trapped under the vehicles.

Earlier this year, 240 sanitation trucks were equipped with side guards as part of a test run, but the new bill would do much more. The legislation would apply to city trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds and to all private sanitation trucks. An estimated 4,500 city-owned trucks and more than 5,500 privately owned trucks would be affected.

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We often discuss legal and medical issues related to collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians, but the dangers to pedestrians in New York are not all car-related. In fact, a recent report highlights hazardous construction sites in New York as particularly dangerous to pedestrians and bystanders.

According to analysis by The Wall Street Journal, pedestrians and passersby in New York City were involved in 96 construction accidents from 2008 through 2014, with 155 injuries resulting from those accidents. More than 75 percent of those incidents occurred in Manhattan.

Construction accidents that injured bystanders during that period involved falling tools, bricks and fences, and in some cases fences were blown down by the wind. Incidentally, the building code now specifies that fences on construction sites should be able to withstand 80-mile-per-hour winds. However, fences on construction sites fell or blew over and hit bystanders 16 times between 2008 and 2014, causing injuries to 23 people.

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According to the Department of Transportation, between 2003 and 2013, there were more than 400 serious injuries and 38 traffic fatalities on Queens Boulevard. The city plans to improve on those tragic figures by investing $100 million in the roadway before 2018.

Specifically, the plan is to turn the boulevard into a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment with better pedestrian crossings, protected bike lanes, wider medians, and as much as five more feet of pedestrian space on either side of the boulevard. The idea is to give the boulevard tree-lined walkways like those you’ll find along Brooklyn’s Ocean and Eastern parkways.

The $100 million for the Queens Boulevard redesign is part of a total of $250 million — provided through Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Great Streets” initiative — that will go also toward safety improvements on Fourth and Atlantic avenues in Brooklyn and Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

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