Making Streets Safer for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
When we hear about pedestrian accidents in New York, many of us think about the busy streets of Manhattan. However, many fatal collisions occur at intersections in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. Given the number of incidents that occur across the boroughs, the New York Department of Transportation has developed a “detailed plan to help make specific accident-prone borough streets safer,” according to a recent article in the Bronx Times.
The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is part of “Vision Zero,” an initiative in New York City aimed at reducing the total number of traffic fatalities. How will the new Pedestrian Safety Action Plan work? According to the article, it “focuses the initiative on the most accident-prone traffic corridors and intersections, and should bring about infrastructure planning and improvements, enforcement and education.” Polly Trottenberg, the Department of Transportation commissioner, drafted the report in collaboration with the New York police department following a series of “community discussions and analysis of accident data.”
Last year, the Department of Transportation launched its Vision Zero plan. Now, going into the second year, Trottenberg and others are looking for new ways to prevent pedestrian fatalities. According to Trottenberg, “these borough plans combine cutting edge data analysis and community input from the city’s most important source—its residents—and will help the city target its engineering, enforcement, and education efforts to make New York’s streets the safest in the world.” What will the new plan include?
The following steps have been mentioned:
- Pedestrian islands at bus stops underneath elevated trains;
- Additional street lighting;
- Better coordination of traffic in conjunction with pedestrian crossings; and
- More signage at accident-prone streets and intersections.
Some of the most targeted areas will include a series of intersections in the west Bronx, which, according to the report, “seems to be the epicenter of the borough’s population and its traffic deaths.”
Learning About and Preventing Pedestrian Accidents
What should you know about pedestrian safety and car accidents? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 5,000 pedestrians sustain fatal injuries in traffic collisions each year, and more than 75,000 suffer injuries. Those at the greatest risk of a serious pedestrian accident include older adults (aged 65 and older) and children (between the ages of 5 and 15 years old).
How can you help to prevent a deadly pedestrian accident? Most importantly, you should teach your kids about the risks of an accident and how to stay safe. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, pedestrian accidents are the fifth-leading cause of injury for children. Young teenagers are particularly susceptible to being injured in a traffic collision. What tips can you give your children when it comes to safely walking in busy areas and crossing streets?
- Teach your children—and show them by example—that they should always walk on sidewalks when they are available. If they are walking on a street without sidewalks, it is important to walk facing oncoming traffic.
- Kids should always use crosswalks and the traffic signals at those crosswalks. Crossing the street on a “Don’t Walk” sign can lead to serious injuries.
- Children under the age of 10 should always cross the street with an adult. For kids in this age group, it is relatively difficult to “judge speed and distance of cars.”
- Show your children that it is important to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Oftentimes, a driver simply does not see a pedestrian, and a deadly accident occurs. Likewise, always make eye contact with a driver that is backing up, as blind spots can make it difficult to see pedestrians.
Finally, if you are driving an automobile, be particularly alert if you are in a residential area or in a school zone. Kids who are walking or riding bikes may not be on the lookout for drivers, and you can help to prevent a serious crash.
If your child was injured in a pedestrian accident, contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. You may be able to file a claim for financial compensation.