In New York City, there appears to be a particular problem with elderly pedestrians being struck and killed while crossing the street. The statistics show more elderly are killed in a pedestrian accident as opposed to a younger pedestrians. That may indicate that an older person has a slower reaction time, and perhaps a body that is less elastic and more brittle than a younger person’s, making the elderly more prone to pedestrian injury and death than others.
Just one day after New York dropped the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in order to prevent, among other things, the high incidence of pedestrian accidents, two elderly individuals were killed by vehicles while trying to cross the street. A 79-year-old man was hit by a van while crossing Hillside Avenue in Queens at 5:18 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8. The driver remained at the scene.
Earlier the same day, a 76-year-old woman was killed in Brooklyn at 11:30 a.m. while crossing North Conduit Avenue. She was hit by a white BMW, though it’s unclear whether the BMW operator remained at the scene. According to police, each victim was crossing outside the crosswalk.
However, the mere fact that a pedestrian is crossing outside the crosswalk is not conclusive as to the driver’s negligence. In any traffic event where a person is on the street, a driver must use due care not to hit that pedestrian. The driver must be able to stop his vehicle in time to avoid hitting another car or a person observable on the roadway ahead.
The foregoing rule will usually not apply where, for example, a child runs out between parked cars directly into the path of an unsuspecting operator. If a pedestrian in New York is contributorily negligent for not using a crosswalk, that negligence may not be substantial enough under modern comparative negligence laws to override the liability of the vehicle operator. Consequently, each pedestrian accident must be evaluated on its own facts to determine whether negligence, and liability for harm, will be attributed to the driver.
Source: pix11.com, “2 elderly pedestrians killed in separate accidents in Brooklyn and Queens“, Nov. 9, 2014
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