Any New Yorker knows that traffic deaths are an unfortunate reality of living in the Big Apple. The city’s traffic death rates have remained high for over 100 years. However, earlier this year that rate fell to its lowest number since 1910, when records began.
So what does this mean for the future of pedestrian safety in New York City?
What’s Keeping Pedestrian Death Numbers So Low?
In 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio created a program aimed at improving the city’s pedestrian safety. Many have lauded his Vision Zero program as the primary reason for the city’s lowest traffic death rate in 108 years. The program’s success stems from several factors, many of which are seemingly obvious safety precautions.
Reducing the Speed Limit
One key element of the Vision Zero program was to reduce New York City’s speed limit to 25 miles per hour. While many drivers continue to disobey this new speed limit, the reduction has helped improve safety for pedestrians, particularly when crossing intersections.
As a result of the program, the city remodeled street corners and recalibrated cross signals to accommodate the changes and provide pedestrians with more time to cross. While New York has already reaped many safety benefits from de Blasio’s program, he hopes to continue these efforts and improvements in the future.
How Can You Stay Safe While Walking in New York?
Whether a New York City native or new transplant, there are some basic New York road rules that you should be familiar with to stay safe. While the Vision Zero program has improved pedestrian safety throughout New York, bicycle, motorcycle, and vehicle accident rates remain high.
First, make sure to wear a helmet if you choose to ride your bike or motorcycle through the city. Also, don’t forget other important protective gear, such as knee pads, shin guards, and padded protective shorts. This gear can also provide added protection while walking.
Furthermore, avoid distractions, such as texting or talking on the phone, while walking through the City. Mayor de Blasio has even considered enacting a law that imposes fines on people who text while walking.
No matter where you walk in New York, you’re going to be surrounded by hundreds of vehicles and other pedestrians. If busy texting, you might collide with another person, or worse, a moving vehicle. If you need to send a text or otherwise use your smartphone, stop and do so before you resume navigating the busy streets of the Big Apple.
Further Statistics on New York City Pedestrians
Recent transplants to New York may have some misconceptions regarding pedestrian-vehicle interaction. According to local statistics:
- Overall traffic fatalities went down 35 percent after 2001.
- Traffic accidents cost the city $4.29 billion annually.
- Most pedestrian crashes are over 60 percent deadlier when on major street corridors compared to smaller, local streets.
These statistics also indicate that most pedestrian deaths result from a driver failing to yield at an intersection. While the pedestrian may be to blame, due to various possible distractions, unsafe drivers remain the primary problem.
Overall, New York’s traffic fatalities compose a quarter of the national rate; we obviously need further safety improvements to reduce this number.
Safety Remains Paramount
The best way to prevent a pedestrian or traffic accident is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Unfortunately, maintaining such focus can prove difficult given the numerous distractions in the city. New York remains a global hub for culture and business, which brings with it distractions and stresses that may not be as prevalent in a smaller city.
Anyone moving to New York should consider the aforementioned statistics, and stay aware when walking the busy streets of our city.
Even when aware and focused, accidents happen, and some situations are simply unavoidable. Where should you turn if involved in such an accident?
Finding Legal Help Immediately
If you were injured in a traffic-related accident, contact Diamond Injury Law today! Ivan M. Diamond is an experienced personal injury attorney who has successfully litigated numerous cases involving pedestrian and other traffic-related accidents.
Call (718) 588-2000, or complete this online form, to schedule your free consultation! While every case is different and no result is guaranteed, seeking legal assistance immediately provides your best bet at recovery.
Time is of the essence in a personal injury case, and convincing evidence may be required to succeed. An experienced attorney can help you gather all available evidence, and handle all communications with insurance companies.