In New York City, everybody walks. With fewer car owners by far than any other city in the country, that's just how they roll in NYC. But that doesn't mean that it's always the safest way to get around. A new report points out some of the glaring safety hazards for walkers on the mean streets of New York, many of which are applicable to pedestrians in other parts of the country as well.
The analysis of pedestrian walking hazards in the Big Apple was commissioned by the personal-injury law firm, Hecht Kleeger & Damashek and billed as The Ultimate Guide to Walking Safely in NYC. It points out some interesting trends that translate well to city walking in other parts of the country.
Data source: NYC Open Data
For instance, the report found that more than 1/3 of pedestrian injuries and fatalities were caused by the driver's failure to yield the right-of-way. Another third of accidents was caused by driver inattention and distraction. So even if the sign says "walk," it pays to make sure your path is clear before stepping off the sidewalk.
The analysis also found that the majority of automotive-pedestrian accidents involved private passenger vehicles or SUVs — not those mean taxi cabs like you might expect. Not surprisingly, men are more likely to be hit when walking than women. Pedestrian accidents also increased in frequency along with pedestrian age: Seniors and baby boomers are involved in more accidents than millennials or Gen Xers.
And when are pedestrians most likely to be hit? Friday night into Saturday morning is the most dangerous time for walkers, followed closely by the morning and evening rush hours.
The takeaway for walkers in all parts of the country — from NYC to Small Town, USA — is that it makes good sense to pay attention while walking. Even if you are on the sidewalk. Even if you have the right-of-way. Unfortunately, in the rock-paper-scissors game of pedestrian versus car — car always wins. So if you want to live to walk again another day, you need to keep your eyes open, and when in doubt, defer to the car coming your way.
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