Mayor Bill de Blasio recently published an action plan that outlines the need for updated safety plans for Queens. Pedestrian fatalities have increased as a share of total traffic fatalities in Queens, and lawmakers want to do everything they can to dramatically decrease these instances. In addition to pedestrian fatalities, they also want to make the roads safer for everyone who uses them -- be traveling by foot, car, motorcycle, scooter, skateboard or bicycle.
Part of the inspiration behind the report was the fact that even though aggressive street re-engineering took place to improve pedestrian safety from 2007 through 2013, pedestrian fatalities in the city have not lowered. In fact, pedestrian fatalities increased during 2012 and 2013 by 2 percent compared to the years 2005 through 2007. Meanwhile, fatalities to other road users declined by 24 percent. Although pedestrians make up 14 percent of traffic-related fatalities across the country, in Queens, they make up a staggering 55 percent.
According to the report, one reason why this problem needs to be addressed is that the baby boomer generation is beginning to retire, which means that New York City will have an increasing number of senior citizen pedestrians on its roadways. Our city's senior population walks more than those in other areas of the country, so it is vital that the city begin focusing now on strategies that will help keep these pedestrians safe. If not, Queens and New York City as a whole could experience an alarming spike in pedestrian deaths.
In a lot of cases -- especially when a pedestrian is lawfully crossing the roadway at a crosswalk -- the pedestrian will have the right of away in a pedestrian versus car accident, and the motor vehicle driver will be deemed at fault. While every pedestrian case is different, this could mean that an injured pedestrian will have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver who caused his or her injuries.
Source: City of New York, "Pedestrian Safety Action Plan: Queens," accessed Aug. 24, 2016