NEW YORK. Walking in New York is one of the main ways people get around. Even those who ride the subway eventually use their feet to get from point A to point B. Yet, according to the New York Times, in 2013, 12,000 pedestrians were injured in crashes. In 2014, 138 people died while walking in New York. The good news is that New York’s Vision Zero has been working to make the city safer for pedestrians, prioritizing their needs over the needs of drivers. Yet, there remain situations where pedestrians are more at risk, and there also remain steps that pedestrians can take to keep themselves safe. What are they?
- Don’t text and walk. Just like texting and driving, texting and walking poses a danger not only to yourself, but to other pedestrians on the sidewalk. We’ve all seen the walker who almost trips over a stroller or a “crash” between two pedestrians. Worse, when pedestrians use their phones while crossing the street, they are not focusing on traffic. Walkers should never assume that cars will stop for them. Sometimes drivers fail to see pedestrians. Pedestrians should have their full attention on walking and on keeping themselves safe.
- Watch for left turning cars. Left turns are the most dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike. However, what can make a left turn even more dangerous is when streets and sidewalks meet at awkward angles. New York City recently did a study on what it called a pedestrian’s “desire lines.” Pedestrians generally choose the fastest way from point A to point B. Sometimes these paths don’t follow crosswalks or they veer off sidewalks. City planners understand this dilemma. Pedestrians want to cross quickly. However, drivers turning left may not always see a pedestrian. The left turn is particularly problematic because both the pedestrian and the driver have the green light. If both aren’t aware of each other, problems can occur. The New York Times reports that New York City has changed many of its crosswalks recently to cater to the needs of walkers. Drivers need to be aware of the changes, because if they turn and hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the driver will be negligent for the accident. The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan analyzes the places in the city where pedestrians are most at risk.
- Follow traffic signals. When the reaction times of New Yorkers were studied, the researchers found pedestrians had a negative reaction time. They either ignored the crossing signal and walked when it was red or they preemptively walked before they had the signal to go. Many New Yorkers consider themselves pedestrians, not drivers. This creates a culture where pedestrians may be more aggressive when it comes to crossing the street. Yet, if you are hit when you don’t have the signal to go, it could be more difficult for you to prove negligence against the driver and seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Following the law may pay.
If you’ve been injured in a crash, consider speaking to Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, car accident lawyers in New York City. Our attorneys can review the circumstances of your accident and help you seek damages to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you were hurt due to another driver’s negligence.