There was good news earlier this year when the Mayor’s Office released data showing that in 2017 the city experienced the smallest number of pedestrian fatalities since it began keeping records on them, way back in 1910. Last year, a total of 214 people died in traffic crashes in New York City, 101 of them pedestrians. The year before, those numbers totaled 231, with 148 pedestrians.
Improvements Still Sought
The city credits the improvement to both the broad focus of its Vision Zero project, which aims to ultimately reach zero fatalities on city streets, and also on specific initiatives. In this case, many have credited the small change of leading pedestrian intervals with saving many pedestrian lives.
While the numbers are encouraging, it’s still disturbing to realize that more than one hundred of our fellow New Yorkers died last year simply while crossing the street or otherwise going about their business on foot.
Part of a National Problem
It’s true that we should keep the numbers in perspective: In terms of overall fatal accidents to people on foot, New York City is a hotspot that few others compare to. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities in the United States in 2016. New York City saw 148 pedestrian deaths that year, which means that more than one out of every forty pedestrian fatalities nationwide happened on the streets of the Big Apple.
Preliminary national data for 2017 estimate that the number of pedestrian fatalities was almost exactly that of the year before (New York’s share declined to only about one in sixty). But even more disturbing, pedestrian deaths are up 27 percent over the past decade, while other traffic deaths have declined.
Pedestrians Don’t Kill People . . .
People sometimes overlook the fact that pedestrians—or walking—aren’t the real problem. The problem is cars. No one ever died in a pedestrian-on-pedestrian collision.
In fact, at low speeds (under 20 mph), very few pedestrians are killed even in collisions with cars and trucks. The danger comes from drivers not looking out for others and often driving faster than they should. Increasing speed to just over 30 mph increases the pedestrian fatality rate to nearly 50 percent. The old cliché that speed kills turns out to be true.
New York City Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
We can’t focus only on fatalities: More than 1,000 New York City pedestrians are injured seriously enough to require medical treatment every month. These victims often have no recourse other than to sue the drivers who struck them in civil court.
If you’re a pedestrian who has been hurt in a collision with a motor vehicle, Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP may be able to help. Our experienced car accident attorneys have helped many of those harmed in crashes recover the damages they need to cover medical expenses, lost wages and income, and other costs related to the accident. Give us a call at 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) or contact us online through the form below to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.