Pedestrian fatalities in New York City during the first four months of 2021 rose by a worrying 58% compared with the same period in 2020, according to figures released recently by the city’s Department of Transportation. New York’s Vision Zero initiative, which was launched by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the five boroughs, but some road safety advocates believe that the measures being put into place to prevent car accidents are actually making urban streets more dangerous for those who choose to travel on foot.
These measures include reducing the speed limit on most New York City streets to 25 miles per hour and adjusting the timing of traffic signals to deter speeding and the running of red lights, but it is the bicycle lanes the city has added that many residents are worried about. While bicycle lanes make travel safer for cyclists, they reduce the amount of road available to cars and concentrate traffic. City residents say that this has made crossing busy streets much more dangerous, and the latest pedestrian fatality figures seem to support this view.
Pedestrian struck and killed by e-bike
Experts are also worried about the growing popularity of e-bikes, which are capable of reaching far higher speeds than conventional bicycles. A fatal pedestrian accident involving an electric bicycle took place on April 17 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. A Brooklyn man was seriously injured after being struck by an e-bike near the intersection of West 78th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. He died eight days later. The cyclist remained at the scene and was not charged.
Pedestrian accident lawsuits
Plaintiffs in car accident lawsuits usually must prove that the defendant acted negligently, but experienced personal injury attorneys may point out that this is not always the case when pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles. Attorneys could explain that the legal doctrine, res ipsa loquitur, shifts the burden of proof onto the defendant when the facts speak for themselves. The doctrine has been applied in cases in which pedestrians were struck and injured while walking on a sidewalk.