A college senior from New Jersey who was in town for a series of job interviews was struck by two taxis and killed on the Upper Eastside, as she crossed York Avenue near the intersection of East 84th Street around 11:30 p.m.
Authorities say the fatal Manhattan pedestrian accident occurred as she, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend crossed the street without seeing the oncoming taxi in the southbound lane. The driver reportedly swerved to avoid impact, but ended up striking her anyway, throwing her into the northbound lane – and into the path of another taxi. The 22-year-old was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.
Just two days later, a 69-year-old man was seriously injured on the Upper West Side as the man was struck by a police car as he stepped into the street on Broadway, between 77th and 78th Streets, The New York Times reported.
News of both incidents comes less than a month after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a campaign to commit the city to “literally” zero traffic deaths in the coming years. So far, the effort has consisted primarily of the New York Police Department issuing nearly 80 percent more jaywalking tickets than this time last year – 215 through February 9, versus 127 the same time last year.
Meanwhile, tickets issued to drivers were down.
Last year, there were 176 pedestrians killed in New York. While we can certainly appreciate that pedestrians must remain aware of their surroundings and obey traffic laws, the mayor’s “Vision Zero” won’t get far if motorists aren’t at least held accountable. It’s worth noting that even if a pedestrian does violate the law, that doesn’t necessarily absolve a driver of negligence. Every case is going to be different.
In a recent Times report on the issue, transportation economist Charles Komanoff was quoted as saying that if people in New York City didn’t jaywalk, the efficiency here as a place to live and work would plummet. That’s not to say we’d encourage jaywalking, but to note that there is more than one perspective on the issue. Perhaps the bigger problem is that there should be more places to cross.
So far, that’s not on de Blasio’s agenda, though he has expressed support for an expansion of so-called “slow zones,” wherein the speed limit is reduced from 30 miles-per-hour to 20 mph. He’s also backed the installation of more speed cameras.
In one area of Brooklyn, officers are testing a practice that involves using plainclothes police officers to nab drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. It involves a plainclothes officer walking back and forth across the intersection, while another officer is nearby watching, ready to cite those who don’t give the pedestrian the right-of-way. In a single month, 17 tickets were issued just in the 78th Precinct.
Even so, the number of citywide motor vehicle traffic summonses has fallen by about 100 from this time last year.
Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports some 4,400 pedestrians are killed annually, and recently, the agency noted a 3 percent year-over-year increase.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations for victims of pedestrian accidents in New York City. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Young New Jersey woman killed by taxis during visit to New York for job interviews, April 11, 2014, By Frances Burns, UPI
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Citi Bike Named in $15 Million Personal Injury Lawsuit, March 28, 2014, New York City Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog