New York is one of the most densely populated cities in the Western world. There are 8.6 million citizens walking its streets and thousands of vehicles. It’s no surprise that accidents happen on a daily basis here in the heart of the city. Inevitably, and regrettably, pedestrians are hit by road users nearly 1000 times every month in New York. But, there is an element of good news here. 2014 marked the safest year ever for New York City pedestrians. The current data for 2015 suggests this trend will continue over the next twelve months too.
It’s important to raise this awareness and highlight the problems in order to keep the city safe. Pedestrians, both tourists and residents, wander the city unaware of the hazards around them. Despite the city environment, vehicles here still drive fast enough to cause fatal accidents. There are dangerous intersections at every corner and citizens ought to be aware of the statistics. We’ve explored the details to bring you the most important numbers from 2014.
First of all, it’s important to look at the factors behind last year’s dramatic decrease in traffic accidents. Most experts point to New York’s incentive to lower the city speed limit. Previously stuck at 30mph, Mayor Bill de Blasio pulled the limit down to 25mph. It was part of a broad plan to lower pedestrian deaths which, until now, had rocketed. Over recent years, the number of deaths had increased 15%. Only now, are we starting to see the decline. Proof, if it were needed, that lower speed limits do save lives.
The official figures put the pedestrian death toll at 134. Bill de Blasio still calls this “134 too many” and more initiatives will be introduced this year. The next step will be to take a long hard look at the most dangerous times and areas for pedestrian road deaths. A quick glance at the figures show that, inevitably, most death occur during the rush hours. Most collisions take place at 8am and then again between 5pm and 7pm. In terms of specific days, Friday night and the early hours of Saturday are particularly dangerous. One can assume that letting off steam at the weekend lowers awareness in both pedestrians and drivers.
The city also has to take stock of the vehicles involved in these collisions. As you would expect, given New York’s vehicle population, passenger vehicles are the main culprits. New York’s traffic numbers are on the rise, and it is public transport that forms the backbone of the problem here. The second biggest problem are SUVs or sports utility vehicles. Their large size naturally causing trouble in the tight city environment. Close behind in third place is the ubiquitous New York taxi cab. In the borough of Manhattan, the taxi collision number is particularly high.
Finally, it’s important to address the issues that cause these incidents. Looking at statistics, more than half of all accidents are caused by drivers failing to yield and driver distraction. It’s no wonder that pedestrian accident lawyers are so in demand. Most of these accidents are the fault of drivers, not pedestrians, and action must be taken here.
Bill de Blasio and his mayoral office have done a fantastic job so far. Bringing fatalities to their lowest number in a century is a big achievement. Let’s hope this trend continues.