Far Too Many Pedestrian Accidents Keep Happening in NYC
Far Too Many Pedestrian Accidents Keep Happening in NYC
The latter part of 2019 proved to be just as dangerous for pedestrians as the earlier part of that same year. In fact, during one 72-hour period, six pedestrians were killed – four of them by commercial truck drivers. Despite the city’s efforts to decrease all traffic accidents and fatalities under the Vision Zero program, there appears to be ongoing fluctuation in the high number of people dying on New York City streets each year.
The only truly redeemable part of the 2019 statistics indicated that there were fewer traffic deaths for the year, even though pedestrian deaths increased.
What follows is a quick review of the six pedestrian accidents referenced above. Half of the victims were over the age of sixty-five – and half were killed in Brooklyn.
All lives matter – including those of the six pedestrians who died within hours of each other
While the following incidents were spread across different parts of the city – half of them did occur in Brooklyn. Everyone must immediately improve their driving skills so we can quickly diminish the number of these senseless deaths.
- Lin Zhisheng, a 67-year-old man. This accident in Flushing, Queens, occurred when this man was suddenly hit by a passenger car as it tried to turn into a parking garage. After the victim was knocked down, he was rushed to an area hospital where he died the next day;
- Xue You, a 75-year-old woman. This lady was on foot in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park area, trying to cross 52nd Street, when she was hit by a young 21-year-old Jeep driver as he made a left turn. Xue You was fatally injured just hours after Lin Zhisheng;
- Brendan Gill, an 85-year-old-man. This gentleman was also fatally injured one afternoon while trying to cross the street in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park area. A box truck driving down Third Avenue hit and killed him;
- Katherine Miller, age 26. This young woman was hit by a Ferraro Foods truck when it suddenly drove in reverse, fatally injuring her. Ms. Miller was pronounced dead at the scene — near Howard Street on Broadway;
- Andres Stylianou, age 57. Early one morning in Gowanus, Brooklyn, this man was hit by a truck before then being hit by two cars traveling in the opposite direction;
- A sixth man was killed by a private sanitation truck in the Hell’s Kitchen part of Manhattan. This man’s name was not readily released to the press since authorities were still trying to contact his relatives.
What may be contributing to this rising number of pedestrian deaths?
- Too many drivers still prefer truck and SUVs. Drivers of these heavier vehicles are far more likely to cause deaths than those driving smaller economy or passenger cars;
- Holiday season traffic. More people are often out on the streets and sidewalks at this time of year, trying to buy gifts for others – or visiting friends and relatives they rarely see during other months;
- Distracted driving. Too many emotionally immature drivers still insist on using their smartphones while navigating busy city streets and highways;
- Abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana and other substances. No one drives well when under the influence of substances that diminish their strength, agility or vision;
- More tickets need to be written for bad drivers who violate traffic laws – and penalties should be assessed against companies who hire people with poor driving records. All employers should be required to run DUI and various criminal background checks at least once a year;
- Commercial and private truck companies should be required to perform more routine maintenance on their fleets. These repairs must include the brakes, steering wheel assemblies, tires, lights and other equipment to keep the vehicles in good working order;
- Parents and other caregivers must use great caution when walking with their children on all busy city streets. When it’s affordable, it may be best to use either public transportation or cabs;
- Vision Zero should be expanded – before more pedestrian deaths occur.
What can all of us do – as pedestrians – to remain safer out on NYC streets?
- Be extra careful about what you wear when it’s dark, foggy or rainy. We should all wear retro-reflective materials. These will increase our visibility and make it much easier for drivers to see all of us;
- Learn all you can about each of the many different types of pedestrian signals and safety provisions provided by NYC and other New York communities. While nearly all of us are familiar with the standard “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs, there are many others. By visiting this link, you can read more about each of the following special pedestrian signals.
- The leading pedestrian interval (LPI) signal. All people on foot get a useful “head start” in crossing the street before vehicles can enter the area;
- Exclusive pedestrian signals. These aren’t very common – but they provide perfect safety for everyone needing to get completely across a street – while all vehicles are forbidden to enter the crossing area;
- The rectangular rapid flashing beacon. These are present at intersections without traffic lights to supplement pedestrian warning signs;
- Other special pedestrian devices include: accessible pedestrian signals, countdown timers, HAWK signals, median refuges and crosswalks. Learning how each of these should be used can help everyone better protect themselves and their children;
- Sit down with your children, periodically, and remind them how they must exercise caution when trying to cross busy streets. If they are very young, you must forbid them to cross the street without the help of an adult they know who’s holding their hand;
- When walking at night, always carry a flashlight – except when crossing the street. This will not only make you more visible to others, it will help you avoid falling;
- Always walk sober. Even people who have just had one drink are more likely to fall when walking on sidewalks or crossing streets;
- Keep your phone turned off and safely stored in your knapsack, briefcase, purse or other container. No one walks safely when distracted by a phone;
- Never assume an approaching vehicle will stop. Always try to meet the eyes of each driver near you so they’ll be more careful about passing nearby. If the driver is on the phone, you can bet they’ll never look up;
- Before stepping off any curb, check what’s coming down the street. All too often, a speeding vehicle, truck or motorcycle may be headed your way with no plans to stop any time soon;
- Never wear any type of headphones or earbuds while out walking. When your hearing is impaired, you’ll probably fail to hear the very sounds that might have saved your life;
- Always walk facing traffic when there’s no sidewalk;
- Don’t assume all drivers will obey traffic lights or pedestrian signals. Only step off the curb when you’re sure you’re likely to make it to the other side of the street unharmed;
- Only cross the street at night in well-lit areas;
- Minimize walking conversations with others. This will help you be more apt to hear a car suddenly “rev” its engine – or start backing up near you;
- Never jaywalk – those who use such “shortcuts” often get hit;
- Look both ways. Remember the advice you received as a child – always look both ways before trying to cross any street;
- Always stay on the lookout for turning vehicles – or cars or trucks driving out of alleyways near you;
- Try to only use crosswalks or marked areas at intersections when crossing streets.
The more pedestrian rules you learn – the better your chances of never getting hit and injured.
If you’ve been seriously injured due to the negligence of another in a pedestrian accident, you should immediately contact our New York City pedestrian accident law firm. We’ll aggressively investigate the facts of your case and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available for all your injuries. Our firm wants your damages award to fully cover all your pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses and other losses.