Pedestrian Accidents: Controversy on the Street

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New York City sometimes seems to be the center of the world, and because of that status, little things can be amplified. Sometimes it seems like everything has to be a controversy, just so the newspapers have something to talk about. But something as simple as pedestrian safety shouldn’t be controversial.

Mayor de Blasio has instituted a law that penalizes drivers who fail to yield right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists. There doesn’t seem to be anything controversial in such a proposal. But after a bus driver was arrested for striking a pedestrian on February 17th, 2015, the bus drivers’ union has protested the law, despite the injuries to the pedestrian being serious enough her leg had to be amputated.

The premise of the complaint is that the drivers have done nothing illegal. They were not speeding or texting or taking part in any activity that limited their ability to control the vehicle. The problem with this argument is that the drivers were by definition doing something illegal, as they were not ceding right of way to pedestrians. And the law is being equally applied. More everyday drivers have been arrested than bus drivers.

According to the city’s own website, it is dangerous to be a pedestrian in New York City. Per nyc.gov:

  • Pedestrians are ten times more likely to die if they are in an accident than individuals in motor vehicles
  • Pedestrians accounted for more than half of all traffic deaths in NYC in the years surveyed
  • Over a quarter of those deaths occurred in situations where drivers failed to yield

Considering these dangers, it is good the city is doing something about pedestrian safety, and it is sad that the bus drivers’ union is opposed to it. If you or someone you love has been injured while walking, please contact an attorney to help you explore your options. As is plainly clear in situations such as this, even pedestrian safety can be controversial.