NYC Pedestrians Fatalities Are on The Rise

NYC Pedestrians Fatalities Are on The Rise

Pedestrian deaths are spiking across the country, and New York City is not immune. According to The New York Times, fatal pedestrian accidents nationwide spiked 21 percent in 2020. While we still wait on the preliminary numbers of pedestrian fatalities in 2021, safety experts predict the numbers will be even higher. 

As the weather starts to take a turn, even more pedestrians will be out-and-about in NYC. All New Yorkers are responsible for the safety of our community, and helping to keep pedestrians safe is crucial. 

Recent Pedestrian Accidents 

Certainly, winter weather-related hazards (snow, ice, sleet) can cause motor vehicle accidents to surge, leading to a rise in pedestrian fatalities and injuries. However, recent pedestrian accidents in NYC occurred on warm to mild days, where snow and ice played no factor. 

  • An NYC e-bike rider was arrested in Brooklyn on March 5 after striking two pedestrians, one of whom was critically injured. 
  • A private garbage truck in Brooklyn struck and killed a pedestrian in a dangerous intersection on March 4, outside the Atlantic Terminal Mall. 
  • On February 12, a 17-year-old was hit by a BMW at Kings Highway and Avenue K in the roadway. 
  • On February 18, a teen driver in Queens, illegally driving a massive Ford F-150, killed a pedestrian in Flatbush who was walking on the sidewalk. 

These are only a few of the tragedies NYC has seen in the last month, most of which could have been prevented with safe driving behaviors. 

Pandemic-Related Causes for Pedestrian Fatality Spikes

There’s no argument that the pandemic has had long-term effects on the safety of NYC streets. The New York Times highlights several pandemic-related risk factors that have contributed to the increasing rate of pedestrian road fatalities:

  • Reckless Driving
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Drunk Driving
  • Speeding
  • Fraying of social norms 
  • Increased anxiety levers 
  • Reduced presence of law enforcement

Other Risk Factors Leading To Accidents

Outside of pandemic-related influences, national safety experts attribute the nationwide rise in traffic accidents to other ongoing factors, one including updated safety features in newer vehicles. The New York Times reports that due to a bulk of new features protecting drivers and occupants, some motorists have developed a false sense of security–as if they are indestructible. 

It’s important to note that no safety feature is perfect, no matter how updated. Software programs and technology develop glitches and errors all the time. In a vehicle, these mishaps could result in drivers missing hazards they often would catch without the presence of new features, including a pedestrian crossing the road. 

How Pedestrians Can Stay Safe

NYC roads are a dangerous place for pedestrians right now. From cars to e-bikes, to buses, to trains, there are more than enough ways to get into an accident, even when paying attention. 

Pedestrians may not be able to control what is happening around them, but they can take several steps on their daily commute to reduce the risks of accidents: 

  • Watch for e-bikes and e-scooters. It doesn’t matter if the rider of e-bikes and e-scooters is experienced or a beginner. They can move quickly and out of nowhere if you are not vigilant. Give these vehicles space and time. Never try to predict their movements. 
  • Always cross at a crosswalk. Crossing in the middle of the street is incredibly dangerous. Drivers may not expect pedestrians at non-crossing sections and may not be able to stop in time. Always cross at the crosswalk with a green signal to help prevent accidents. 
  • Wear bright colors and reflectors. If you are out in the early morning or walking at night, wear bright-colored clothing to alert cars of your presence. Even during the day, bright colors can catch a driver’s eye, giving them an ample amount of time to stop. 
  • Stay off your phone. Try not to text or call while you are walking around NYC. Pedestrians on their phones are less likely to hear or notice oncoming cars or detect traffic hazards with enough time to avoid them.
  • Leave extra commute time. Spring is the time of the year when more New Yorkers choose to bike and walk the streets. Give yourself extra time to commute by foot to avoid having to rush and take risky maneuvers to be someplace on time. 
  • Stay on the sidewalk. Try not to walk along the curb, in bike lanes, or on the side of the road. Vehicles in NYC move fast and can swerve into a pedestrian quickly. 

New York City Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

At the law firm of Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, we have been fighting for New York City workers and victims of construction accidents for over 60 years. If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury on a construction site, our experienced trial attorneys are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation anytime through our online form or call 212-227-1212 for a free case evaluation.