Subways and taxis are common ways to get around New York City. But an ever more common and older method of transportation is walking. There are sidewalks throughout Manhattan and the boroughs. And on these sidewalks are many pedestrians walking to various destinations.
The City of New York Parks & Recreation department has a program called Walk NYC. It “is a free program that encourages New Yorkers of all ages to get fit while enjoying the outdoors. With funding provided by Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Parks will staff locations throughout the city with trained walking instructors to lead one-hour walks.” Walk NYC has locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. There are many parks around New York within which to take a stroll. Central Park, Battery Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach are all great parks to take walks through.
But why drive to a park when you can use the sidewalk right out front and walk around your neighborhood. As noted, there are lots of sidewalks and there are crosswalks at every corner. After Hurricane Sandy took trains out of service due to flooding, a major part of the city’s mass transit system, even more people were walking through New York.
This is a good thing right? In New York, walking is a mixed blessing. With all of the cars, trucks and taxis crowding New York streets, pedestrians and bikers must be highly alert to avoid accidents. The New York State Health department states the yearly state average of motor vehicle traffic-related pedestrian deaths is 312. On average 3,446 pedestrians are hospitalized due to motor vehicle traffic-related injuries. And the total yearly emergency room visits due to motor vehicle traffic-related injuries is 12,104 pedestrians.
Bicyclists are also prone to motor vehicle traffic-related fatalities and injuries as well. On average there are 31 deaths, 635 hospitalizations, and 3,209 emergency room visits per year.
Focus: New York City
A team of surgeons, physicians, and researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center tracked admissions at the Bellevue Hospital Center from December 2008 to June 2011. They saw 1,400 pedestrians and cyclists after being in a collision at this one hospital. When they looked at hospital admissions city-wide, they totaled 11,000 pedestrians and 3,500 bicyclists were injured by motor vehicles in 2010. Most of these injuries “occurred in Manhattan and western Brooklyn, stretching along the busiest corridors of a city where street safety and traffic engineering have been trumpeted as defining legacies of May Michael R. Bloomberg’s tenure.” .
Some interesting results from this study include:
*About 8 percent of both pedestrians and cyclists said they were injured while using an electronic device, including cellphone or music player. For victims ages 7 to 17, the numbers climbed to more than 10 percent of pedestrians and nearly 30 percent of cyclists.
*About 40 percent of injured [bicycle] riders were bit by taxis, compared with 25 percent of pedestrians.
*More than 80 percent of cyclists rode with traffic flow, but less than a third wore helmets.
*On weekdays, about 60 percent of pedestrians were struck between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., with injuries occurring consistently over what are typically the highest-traffic hours of the day.
(Information taken from New York Times article Crosswalks in New York Are Not Havens, Study Finds)
In addition, 44 percent of injuries occurred when pedestrians used the crosswalk with the signal. And while we like to think sidewalks are safe, about 6 percent of pedestrian injuries by motor vehicle occurred on those very sidewalks.
Walking with your eyes and ears open is great for your health and our environment. But an individual must still be aware. If you have been injured walking on a sidewalk or crossing the street, contact our personal injury attorney to review your rights.