New York City has seen an alarming increase in pedestrian accidents and deaths, worrying lawmakers and citizens of the Manhattan area alike. Pedestrian accidents often cause alarming injuries and can result in death for the pedestrian, who may have no protection against the impact of a car accident. Learn more from our Manhattan pedestrian accident lawyers below.
The Rise in Pedestrian Accidents
Recently, New York saw 124 pedestrian deaths in a single year, a 30 percent increase from the previous year. This upward trend reflects statistics across the nation. Manhattan sees a very high rate of pedestrian accidents compared to other boroughs in New York City. Manhattan sees approximately four times as many pedestrians killed or severely injured per mile than the other areas of New York City.
Why Does Manhattan See Such a High Degree of Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian accidents occur on streets across the nation for a variety of reasons. However, pedestrian accidents in Manhattan happen more often due to several reasons.
Dangerous Streets and Intersections
Some areas of Manhattan naturally pose a greater danger to pedestrians than others. For example, Canal, 14th Street, 125th Street, Park, and Adam Clayton Powell Street make up just 12 percent of the Manhattan street network, according to the NYC Pedestrian Safety Study Action Plan, but see approximately 47 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 34 percent of severe injuries for pedestrian accidents.
Seventy-four percent of pedestrian crashes across New York City occur in intersections, often because of the inherent dangers of the location. For example, intersections can have poor visibility, short cross times, or a design that does not allow adequate visibility when drivers look for pedestrians.
Manhattan’s overall design offers small blocks with regular intersections, which decreases the odds that pedestrians will cross at areas other than intersections and, therefore, decreases the odds that accidents will occur outside an intersection.
Reckless Driver Behaviors
In most cases, reckless driver behaviors substantially affect Manhattan pedestrian accident risk. Reckless drivers can fail to see a pedestrian crossing even in a marked crosswalk or may not have adequate time to stop before hitting a pedestrian. In addition, reckless drivers may struggle to safely control their vehicles.
Distraction Behind the Wheel
As many as 80 percent of crashes in New York involve a driver who looked away from the road during the crash or moments just before. Unfortunately, Manhattan drivers can suffer from any number of distractions. The busy streets of Manhattan, including the high volume of pedestrian traffic, make it more likely that a driver will grow distracted due to something outside the vehicle.
At the same time, Manhattan drivers can suffer from distractions inside the vehicle. Some drivers may try to get additional work done, check a cell phone, or use a GPS to navigate the tight streets of Manhattan. Any number of distractions increases the risk of pedestrian accidents.
Manhattan drivers may struggle with the impulse to speed, especially if caught in a tight spot in traffic with a chance to move ahead of the backup. Unfortunately, speeding can raise the risk of a collision and increase the force behind a collision, exacerbating the severity of an accident. Pedestrians may also find it more difficult to predict the progress of a vehicle traveling above the speed limit, particularly on familiar roads and at familiar intersections.
Failure to Yield
Some drivers fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, despite the pedestrian having a clear right of way. As a general rule, pedestrians already in a crosswalk have the right of way, even if the light changes. Unfortunately, drivers focusing on traffic signals may not notice the presence of a pedestrian already in the intersection.
Furthermore, drivers may not note changing traffic signals that allow pedestrians to begin crossing the street. With short crossing times at some of Manhattan’s pedestrian crossings, a lack of driver attention could prove fatal as pedestrians quickly hurry across the street.
Reckless Pedestrian Behavior
While reckless drivers contribute to many Manhattan pedestrian accidents, reckless pedestrian behavior also raises the risk of a dangerous collision. Manhattan sees a high degree of traffic from all the boroughs. Around 43 percent of Manhattan pedestrian accidents occur among pedestrians who live in one of the other boroughs. Manhattan sees a higher overall degree of pedestrian traffic due to the large number of people who work in the area.
Pedestrians may engage in various reckless or dangerous behaviors that raise the odds of a serious collision.
Failure to Yield
Pedestrians, like drivers, should pay careful attention to traffic signals to determine who has the right of way. Some pedestrians may force themselves out in front of a vehicle, often to reduce their time waiting for traffic to pass. Pedestrians on a tight deadline to get to work or who need to hurry to catch public transportation may also have a higher risk of reckless behavior like failing to yield to traffic.
Pedestrian distraction can be as potent a danger as driver distraction. An inattentive pedestrian focused on a personal device instead of on the road can quickly get in a very serious accident. Distracted pedestrians may have difficulty keeping up with what happens around them, from changing traffic signals to speeding vehicles.
Some reckless behavior among pedestrians occurs due to inebriation. Other pedestrians may engage in reckless behavior like trying to run across the road, weaving back and forth, or shoving others on the sidewalk out of high spirits or inattention to circumstances around them.
Reckless pedestrian behavior can quickly prove fatal on the streets of Manhattan, where heavy traffic may mean that drivers do not have adequate time to respond to a pedestrian behaving recklessly.
Time of Day
The time of day can have a substantial impact on pedestrian accident risk. Late-night pedestrian crashes prove twice as deadly as other pedestrian crashes, and most pedestrian accidents across New York occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. More than 40 percent of pedestrian accidents occur during high-volume hours, partly due to higher pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Winter months, when it gets darker earlier and roads are icy, factor into many collisions, increasing the risk of pedestrian accidents.
Left Turn Accidents
Many pedestrian accidents occur from a serious lack of visibility. Left turn incidents involving pedestrians often occur because the driver cannot see the pedestrian until they complete a turn when the driver has begun to pick up speed. Manhattan, in particular, has poor visibility in a number of its intersections. Part of the pedestrian safety initiative in New York City, particularly in the Manhattan area, includes removing curbside parking spaces directly around an intersection to increase visibility.
Road Rage and Aggression
Unfortunately, road rage and aggression contribute to many pedestrian accidents. Road rage and aggression have increased considerably as drivers and individuals experience increased frustration. Many drivers and pedestrians alike may choose to engage in potentially risky behaviors when out on the road due to rage, frustration, or anger.
For example, a raging driver might ignore speed limits or fail to yield when traveling through an intersection. Pedestrians may grow increasingly frustrated when they feel “stuck,” especially if the traffic light seems slow to change in their favor.
New York City continues to work toward safer roads for pedestrians and drivers alike. Despite these initiatives, pedestrians face a high degree of potential danger. While creating a safer overall traffic infrastructure that allows for more pedestrian safety can help, pedestrians and drivers should exhibit safer behavior on the roads to reduce the risk of accidents.
Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents in Manhattan: The Dangers
Hit and run accidents pose significant hazards to many pedestrians. Not only can the force of the accident cause serious injury, but a hit-and-run accident may also mean that the pedestrian does not know where to turn for compensation for their injuries. Hit and run accidents across New York hover around 46,000 incidents per year, including pedestrian hit and runs and hit and run accidents between vehicles.
Police generally make arrests in just 1 percent of hit and run accidents, despite increasing traffic cameras across New York City.
Why Do People Hit and Run?
A driver may flee the scene of an accident in Manhattan because of.
- Lack of insurance
- Lack of license
- Fear of legal consequences
- Worry about being late for another activity
- Fear of consequences from family or job
These fears or potential consequences do not compare to the severe injuries suffered by a pedestrian involved in a hit and run accident and the compensation needed by that pedestrian.
Liability in Manhattan Pedestrian Accidents
The driver involved in a Manhattan pedestrian accident will often bear liability for the accident. However, in some cases, the pedestrian may also bear liability, especially in cases where the pedestrian engaged in dangerous or reckless behavior that directly caused the accident. In addition, other entities, including the employer of a driver using a company vehicle or driving as part of job responsibilities, may bear liability for the accident.
To determine who bears liability for a Manhattan pedestrian accident, you need a pedestrian accident lawyer on your side.
What to Do Following a Manhattan Pedestrian Accident
If you find yourself facing the aftermath of a Manhattan pedestrian accident, take these steps to seek the compensation you deserve for your pedestrian injuries.
- Obtain a copy of the police report from your accident. Review it for accuracy to ensure that it contains all relevant information about the incident. Report it to the police if it does not contain accurate information.
- Talk to a lawyer about your rights. A lawyer can help you learn more about how and when to file a claim or lawsuit.
- Make sure you attend all medical appointments and follow the instructions issued by your medical care provider. Failure to follow these instructions could leave you responsible for further complications in your recovery.
- Talk to your insurance company or review your insurance policy if you suffered injuries in a hit and run or with an uninsured driver. Your insurance company will, in some cases, offer payment when you have an accident with a driver who does not carry adequate insurance.
Dealing with a pedestrian accident in Manhattan is complex and frustrating. However, protecting yourself and your right to compensation can be critical on your path to recovery.
Contact a Manhattan Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Help with Your Claim
If a Manhattan pedestrian accident injured you, having a lawyer on your side can make a big difference in your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Contact a Manhattan personal injury accident lawyer as soon after the incident as possible for a free consultation that will provide you with more information about your rights and your next steps.