On July 14, a group called Families for Safe Streets held a vigil attended by hundreds of people at Union Square in New York City. That group was joined by another advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, in making the case for safer streets and smaller pedestrian accident numbers. The gathering also met to support the program of Mayor de Blasio called Vision Zero, which intends to reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries down to zero by the year 2024.
One young woman who was crushed by a taxi cab when properly crossing the street at 93rd and West End Avenue spoke to the crowd. The woman suffered a permanent disability from the collision and described her life since the event happened. She is a member of Families for Safe Streets, which is a group of people whose lives have been affected by traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
However, the advocacy and the Vision Zero programs have a long way to go. In the first six months of 2015, 127 traffic fatalities occurred in the city. Reportedly, 54 of those were pedestrians and five were cyclists. For those six months, 24,890 people were injured in traffic crashes in the city. 4,700 of them were pedestrians.
The task of Vision Zero is extremely ambitious. It wants to cut down drastically on accidents by changing the laws to make them stricter against reckless and dangerous driving, but it also intends to bring about a culture change in the city by changing the tolerant attitude toward careless driving that now exists. In 2014, the program saw many new traffic laws, including reduction of the speed limit in New York City. The tougher laws now allow police to arrest those who drive cars irresponsibly and put other lives in danger. It is believed that pedestrian accident statistics will show an improvement as this new culture of safety takes hold in the city.
Source: indypendent.org, “Vision Zero: The Road Forward“, Janaki Chadha, Aug. 5, 2015