The streets of New York City often fill with pedestrians. Tourists, residents and those who commute into the city for work flood into the city every day. With the sheer number of people walking the city’s streets, it may surprise you to know that the number of pedestrians dying in traffic accidents has dropped significantly in the past four years.
In fact, in a time when more pedestrians are dying on city streets across the country, the number of people dying that way here in NYC has dropped around 45 percent since 2013. This may be due to changes made in order to increase the attentiveness of drivers and lower speed limits.
What the Department of Transportation is doing
At many of the city’s intersections, the DOT made changes to traffic signals to allow pedestrians some lead-time before any vehicles start making turns. In 2017, the DOT put 832 so-called “pedestrian lead intervals” into place, increasing their number to 2,334. That’s seven times more than existed in 2013. The DOT also changed the timing on traffic signals to encourage drivers to follow the 25 mph speed limit, which is the default for the city.
Even with these changes, 101 pedestrians died in 2017. That’s 101 too many. Moreover, the number of cyclists that died that year increased. A lot more work needs to happen in order to make foot and bicycle transportation safer, even though the city’s numbers fall well below the national average. Unfortunately, the sheer number of vehicles that traverse the city continues to put pedestrians and cyclists at risk.
When Mayor de Blasio took office in 2013, he announced his “Vision Zero,” which would eliminate pedestrian deaths all together. Even those who doubted the program’s efficacy at first can’t argue with the results so far, but with bicyclist deaths rising and the number of pedestrian deaths still over 100, more initiatives may need exploration.
In the meantime…
As long as pedestrians continue to die or suffer serious injuries on the streets of the Big Apple, families will continue to mourn their losses. They will also continue to suffer substantial financial losses due to another person’s negligence.
Even though nothing can change the fact that you lost a family member, it may be possible to do something about your monetary losses connected to the death of your loved one. State law allows you to pursue compensation from those whose actions took the life of your family member. Any compensation received through a successfully litigated claim could help make up for the financial impact of the death of your loved one and provide you with some sense of justice and closure.