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A Comprehensive Guide To Pedestrian Safety in New York City

A Comprehensive Guide To Pedestrian Safety in New York City



Long ago, most pedestrians just worried about carefully crossing streets at busy intersections or making sure they never jaywalked. Today, they must remain far more vigilant as they walk down streets since so many cars, scooters, and trucks sometimes jump curbs and hit pedestrians. Hopefully, this article’s content will help remind you of the types of pedestrian dangers you must constantly guard against — so you can move about safely while walking down city streets.

After first reviewing some recent Bronx and other New York City accidents, the materials below will also address who can be sued in many pedestrian accidents, common liability issues, each driver’s duty of care, and other related topics. Safety guidelines are also shared since too many of us keep sticking with habits that increase our risk of being hit by a car. For example, listening to music while walking down the street – could one day prevent one of us from hearing a vehicle that’s about to hit us. We each need to form healthier new pedestrian walking habits.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

Recent Pedestrian Accidents in New York

August 2023

Six or seven pedestrians were hit by a 29-year-old female driver who veered off a road in Midtown Manhattan. She fled the scene but was later arrested.

Note: Another incident in the same month involved a man in a stolen SUV hitting about 10 pedestrians near Grand Central Terminal.

July 2023

A large Lexus SUV in Brooklyn struck a 68-year-old woman in a wheelchair, leading to her death.

June 2023

In Bedford Park, Bronx, a speeding vehicle jumped a curb and hit several pedestrians, causing at least one critical injury.

February 2023

NYPD officers responding to a call hit a parked car and a 52-year-old pedestrian, who later died due to her injuries.

Common Factors in Accidents

Most accidents in 2022 had distracted driving as a common factor.

Driver’s Duty of Care

When licensed drivers get behind the wheels of their vehicles, they must abide by an immediate duty to drive safely and to avoid subjecting anyone they encounter to any form of negligent harm. Therefore, all drivers must avoid all the following dangerous behaviors.

• Distracted driving. This might include texting while driving, eating food while behind the wheel of a car – or glancing at a video that someone in a car’s front seat is watching on a handheld device.

pedestrian-accident-lawyer2-nyc.jpg Speeding, or failing to properly respect all state and local driving rules and regulations. For example, all drivers must stop at every red light, and yield the proper right-of-way to pedestrians in certain traffic settings.

• Every driver must signal when about to turn or make any other type of maneuver that might affect others driving or walking nearby.

• All drivers must avoid driving when they have recently had any degree of alcohol or controlled substances that might alter their ability to drive safely. Unfortunately, too many prideful people refuse to recognize when they are too drunk to drive and cause tremendous harm or death.

When we fail to properly uphold our duty of care as drivers, we can then become liable for all the injuries we cause pedestrians or passengers that we may harm.

Pedestrian Accident Liability in New York

• The negligent driver who solely caused the accident that harmed a pedestrian

• A local municipality. In some cases, a poorly designed intersection could result in local officials or construction engineers being held liable. This would be based on facts indicating that the area moves traffic through in a faulty manner — tending to cause too many regular accidents.

• A pedestrian can sometimes be held partially liable. While this does not usually occur, the defendant driver’s insurance company will sometimes try to pin part of the liability on the pedestrian after the person was hit during an accident. Our New York City pedestrian accident law firm is fully prepared to defend you against such charges. Should you be found by a court to be partially liable for the accident, you can still usually recover for at least some of your damages. (This issue involves comparative negligence – a topic one of our lawyers can explain to you in greater detail).

• If a vehicle involved in a pedestrian accident malfunctioned in some way, there’s a small chance that the manufacturer might be held at least partially liable for some of your financial damages. However, that’s a rare occurrence.

When we first speak with you during your free initial consultation, we’ll carefully explain your basic New York pedestrian accident rights, so you’ll fully understand all that we’ll do to protect them once we accept your case.

Safety Guidelines

For Drivers

• Always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in crosswalks or walking across intersections
• Never allow your vehicle to block a crosswalk when pedestrians or others are trying to safely move across it at an intersection.
• Always obey the posted speed limit. When in doubt of the proper speed, slow down a little bit and hopefully save someone’s life.
• Never run a red light. You can master this skill by constantly surveying the traffic ahead of you.
• Always keep scanning your surroundings, looking for pedestrians who aren’t easy
to see.
• Never text and drive. If something is urgent, it can always wait until you have time to pull over in a safe parking lot (or protected area by the side of a road).
• Be extra vigilant when passing by all schools and playgrounds that are likely filled with children. Keep in mind that kids often suddenly run out into streets to chase after wayward balls.
• Always keep in mind that you are sharing the road. This can help you more readily obey all the posted traffic signs or special speed limits (like those
posted around schools).

For Pedestrians

• Whenever possible, only walk across a street at an intersection in a marked crosswalk. If there isn’t a crosswalk – you must move along with extra caution – constantly watching all the passing vehicles.
• Always do what we were all taught to do as children: Before stepping into any street, look to your left and then to your right. Only then can you safely try to cross the street when the traffic signals indicate you have the right-of-way? When we fail to do this, we are much more likely to encounter someone zipping around the corner in a truck — or on a speedy motorcycle or scooter.
Never spend time texting, checking your emails or talking on the phone as a pedestrian. Whenever you ignore this rule of thumb, you will greatly increase your chances of being hit – or possibly killed. Being a New York City pedestrian has become quite dangerous – as all the profiled accidents in this article clearly indicate.
• At dusk or during evening hours, consider wearing bright or florescent clothing of some kind so motorists will be more likely to see you.
• While walking, try to use those helpful “pedestrian pushbuttons.” Once they indicate it’s safe to move forward – glance around – and then walk with great care.
• Use sidewalks whenever possible; when there are none, always try to walk facing traffic so the drivers can see you. Whenever possible, make eye contact with drivers. When you do this, they’re more inclined to keep an eye on where you are – which will increase your safety.
• Keep your eyes wide open, constantly looking for vehicles that may suddenly appear out of alleyways — or while backing down driveways. While it would be great if they stopped upon seeing you, just be ready to let them pass by as you wait.


If you have suffered from an accident due to negligence, consult our New York City pedestrian accident law firm. We aim to fight for your right to compensation for all losses, including lost wages, pain, and suffering, as well as medical expenses.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in New York?

Distracted driving is the most common cause, followed by speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians.

Who is commonly held liable in pedestrian accidents?

The negligent driver is most often held liable, though local municipalities and sometimes even the pedestrian can be partially liable.

What should I do if I’m involved in a pedestrian accident?

Contact our New York City pedestrian accident law firm for a free consultation to discuss your options and next steps.

What are some tips for pedestrians to stay safe?

Use crosswalks, stay alert, wear bright clothing, and make eye contact with drivers whenever possible.

What are some tips for drivers to ensure pedestrian safety?

Always yield to pedestrians, follow speed limits, and be extra vigilant near schools and playgrounds.