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How dangerous is New York City for pedestrians?

New York City is famous for its vibrant and thriving metropolitan streets full of pedestrians rushing to their destinations. The darker side of this busy reality is that with so many vehicles and pedestrians converging, accidents are an inevitable result.

How dangerous are New York City streets for pedestrians? Is the fatality rate rising or falling? And what is the city doing to protect the safety of pedestrians, both visitors and residents? Following is some key information about pedestrian safety and injuries in New York City.

Pedestrian deaths on the decline

New York City began keeping records on pedestrian fatalities in 1910. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene defines pedestrian fatalities as "anyone on foot, walking, running or jogging killed from injuries sustained from a crash with a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or bicycle." Over time, the rate has fluctuated, but in 2014 Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented an initiative called Vision Zero. The objective of this plan is to eliminate pedestrian deaths in the city by 2024. In fact, an article in the New York Times revealed that the number of NYC pedestrian deaths in 2017 was the lowest since the city began keeping records.

Causes and types of pedestrian accidents

The majority of New York City pedestrian accidents are the result of a collision with a motor vehicle. Since pedestrians are much more vulnerable to injury than passengers traveling in a car, their injuries are generally quite severe. In accidents without pedestrian fatalities, the pedestrian often suffers injuries ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injury. Sometimes these injuries can cause permanent disability, and the implications are devastating on a financial and personal level.

The law protects victims of pedestrian accidents in New York City by providing them with legal avenues to pursue compensation for their injuries. Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, a pedestrian can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover expenses for medical treatment as well as other compensation, such as lost wages due to time off work. 

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