Why Are So Many Pedestrians Dying in New York City?

Unlike many U.S. cities that are dominated by motor vehicles, one look around New York City's sidewalks and streets on a busy workday solidifies that here, pedestrians reign. While the city is known for its hoards of pedestrians who move with purpose towards their destinations, a recent string of fatal pedestrian accidents serves as a stark reminder of the many dangers faced by those individuals who, throughout the city’s five boroughs, choose to walk.

It's been nearly two years since Mayor Bill de Blasio, as part of the city's Vision Zero plan, announced the formation of an interagency group whose aim and the mission was to develop "a comprehensive road map to eliminate deadly crashes, especially those involving pedestrians." While the number of pedestrian fatalities to date this year are lower than 2014 numbers, the deaths of 12 pedestrians since Halloween has renewed concerns about the safety of the city's streets and sidewalks.

As part of the Vision Zero’s initiatives, the city has taken steps to crack down on speeding motorists as well as those who fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians. So far this year, city officials note a 13 percent increase in the number of speeding tickets issued and a 14 percent increase in failure-to-yield tickets. While these numbers help prove that the city is being more proactive in its attempts to identify and punish unsafe drivers, too many people are still being injured and killed in traffic accidents caused by speeding, distracted and reckless drivers.

Recent fatal pedestrian accidents include one in which three individuals died after a driver lost control of his vehicle and jumped a curb, crashing into the group. Another pedestrian who was walking down a sidewalk was killed when a car hit a curb and rolled over, landing on and killing the 50-year-old man. Other accidents involved motorists, including taxi and bus drivers, who failed to yield to and struck pedestrians who were attempting to cross the street.

The vast majority of traffic accidents, particularly those involving pedestrians, are preventable. Drivers who choose to speed or who disregard the rights of pedestrians should be held accountable for their actions.


New York Magazine, "12 Pedestrians Have Died in NYC Since Halloween," Jamie Fuller, Nov. 10, 2015DNAinfo, "11 People Have Been Killed by Cars and Buses Since Halloween," Jeff Mays, Nov. 9, 2015

Howard Raphaelson
Howard A. Raphaelson founded Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm, P.C. in 1992 after graduating from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Established in New York, NY, his personal injury law firm has obtained numerous million-dollar verdicts. With over twenty-five years of experience as a personal injury attorney, he has earned a trusted reputation from his peers, judges, and top leaders, including recognition among the top 5% injury attorneys as a “Super Lawyer” (Thomson Reuters) and “New York’s Best Lawyers” (New York Magazine).
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