An ambitious new study by New York's Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) took a look at over 7,000 crashes that occurred in New York City between 2002-2006 and that resulted in the death or serious injury of at least one pedestrian. Its conclusions can help us identify the biggest threats to pedestrians in New York, and by extension, in other big cities. This data will hopefully help NYC and others to make the streets safer.
Walking while being Green may be Hazardous to your Health (at least in New York)!!
What to look out for:
Men seem to be more apt to hitting pedestrians than women. "in 80 percent of city accidents that resulted in a pedestrian's death or serious injury, a male driver was behind the wheel. (Fifty-seven percent of New York City vehicles are registered to men.)" The most dangerous kind of maneuver is the left turn at an intersection, with 3x the risk of a deadly collision compared to a right turn.
Some of the ways to alleviate these issues are to remove parking spaces on the side of the streets in certain places so that drivers doing left turns have better visibility, and to encourage pedestrians to favor sidewalks to the right of moving traffic and to be particularly careful at intersections.
Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons.
Here are a few other key findings of the study:Traffic fatalities in 2009 were down by 35% from 2001.Traffic crashes cost the City?s economy $4.29 billion annually.Pedestrians are 10 times more likely to die than a motor vehicle occupant in the event of a crash.NYC?s traffic fatality rate is about a quarter of the national rate and less than half the rate in the next 10 largest U.S. cities.Driver inattention was cited in nearly 36% of crashes resulting in pedestrians killed or seriously injured.27% of fatal pedestrian crashes involved driver failure to yield.Pedestrian-vehicle crashes involving unsafe speeds are twice as deadly as other crashes.80% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve male drivers.79% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve private vehicles, not taxis, trucks and buses.Most New Yorkers do not know the city?s standard speed limit is 30 m.p.h.
But page 7 (pdf) of the report puts things in perspective: New York isn't particularly dangerous for pedestrians, ranking near Copenhagen and Portland, but it isn't as safe as it could be. Cities like Stockholm and Berlin have 2-3 times fewer fatalities per capita, and that should be the target.
Via NYC DOT, NYT