Despite increased efforts by U.S. cities to make the streets more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, there is a disturbing trend of an increase in fatalities and injuries for bicyclists and pedestrians. The number of pedestrian deaths has increased in cities like Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. A recent study showed a 20% increase in pedestrian fatalities in New York. As cities are encouraging people to walk and bike, the roads are still dominated by fast-moving vehicle traffic and most cities, like New York, lack the proper infrastructure to support cyclists and pedestrians.
Reasons for the Dangers
Cities like New York have begun building bike lanes in order to make it easier to share the road. However, while some of these bike lanes are protected, many miles of lanes are separated from speeding cars by only a line on the street. Bike lanes are a recent phenomenon, and motorists aren’t yet used to driving next to bike lanes or obeying the laws related to bike lanes. In addition, many of these bicycle lanes only extend for short distances.
Speed limits are also an issue that can lead to increased fatalities. Lowered speed limits on city streets could help reduce the rate of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. Vehicles are often moving too fast to identify and respond to cyclists and pedestrians. There’s also a failure of motorists to check their blind spots and reduce their speed around cyclists and pedestrians.
The increase in distracted driving is also a lethal factor. Drivers are simply not keeping their eyes on the road and are not remaining aware of their surroundings. Bicyclists and pedestrians are not as visible as other vehicles and depend on the attentiveness of drivers to stay safe.
New York, along with other cities, has signed on to the Vision Zero strategy which hopes to completely eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024. Things like lowering the speed limit and improving intersections and bike lanes are being implemented to provide a safer infrastructure. In addition, better education for drivers on how to safely share the road and eliminate distractions can be a major factor in improving safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluated your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.