Most people in New York City are pedestrians. Unfortunately, the rate of pedestrian accidents has increased, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s best efforts with his Vision Zero initiative. Florida is actually more dangerous for pedestrians and bikers than New York, but it still means pedestrians aren’t entirely safe here. As a pedestrian, you understand the implications—you could still be badly hurt in a traffic accident in New York City.
The Latest Numbers
New York City saw 200 traffic fatalities in 2018, down from 222 just a year before. This is the lowest fatality rate recorded since the city began keeping records in 1910, when there were considerably less vehicles on the road.
In December of 2018 alone, there were 12 pedestrian deaths. By contrast, the number of fatalities for bicyclists and motor vehicle passengers decreased from 2017.
But looking primarily at pedestrian deaths, the numbers are not as promising. In 2018, 114 pedestrians were killed on New York City streets, up from 107 in 2017. Mayor de Blasio was reportedly disappointed in the increase, and stated that the city would work to improve streets to make it safer for pedestrians.
Why a Pedestrian Accident Happens
Most people assume that if a pedestrian is hit by a car, it’s the driver’s fault. However, that isn’t always the case. Some of the most common reasons for a pedestrian accident include:
- Inebriation, either the driver or the pedestrian
- Not paying attention by either party, including texting, paying more attention to the phone
- A pedestrian crossing at unmarked intersections, or crossing in the middle of a street.
- Pedestrian darting out into traffic
- Aggressive drivers ignoring traffic signals
- Walking at night in dark clothing or without reflective gear
- Improper use of a bike lane, forcing a pedestrian into a street
- Hybrid cars that have quieter motors, making it harder for a pedestrian to hear it coming
After concerns about traffic accidents in New York, particularly for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, Mayor de Blasio wanted to work towards reducing that number to zero by 2024. The plan is based on a similar Swedish program of the same name. The premise is that traffic deaths are not caused by “accidents,” but a flaw in the design of the streets.
The changes implemented within Vision Zero include:
- Reducing speed limits from 30 to 24 mph
- “Slow zones”
- Additional bicycle lanes
- Increased enforcement
- Speed cameras, particularly in school zones
- Specialized pedestrian crossing signals that allow them to cross before a traffic light changes
- Countdown timers that show pedestrians how much time they have left to cross the street
- Additional laws that makes failure to yield a crime if a pedestrian is injured or killed
In the five years since Vision Zero was implemented, the total number of traffic fatalities has been reduced, although actual traffic accidents have increased. In 2018, the city completed 138 street safety engineering projects, and over 500 have been completed since the beginning of the program.
Hiring A New York City Pedestrian Accident Attorney
The NYC East Village personal injury attorneys at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier have been helping East Village New Yorkers for over 25 years. If you’ve been hurt in a traffic accident as a pedestrian, we’re ready to help. Call us today at (212) 777-9400 or contact us online, and we’ll talk to you about your case. Your first consultation is free. Our contingency fee basis means we don’t get paid unless we settle your case or win the trial. We also have Spanish and Chinese speaking staff if you need them.