DMV data shows that last year 135 people were killed in avoidable pedestrian accidents in New York. While city officials, including Mayor de Blasio, are struggling to find ways of decreasing fatalities, they must also accommodate motor vehicle and bicycle traffic on streets that simply can’t get any wider. While some of NYC’s major changes–including new bicycle lanes and pedestrian crosswalks and medians–have come under public fire for their ineffectiveness, several pieces of legislation soon to become law aim to penalize irresponsible drivers.
Among the changes is the creation of 20 MPH “slow zones” throughout the city. These zones were tested earlier last year in certain highly congested areas in the City with positive results. The mayor’s office is eager to expand this program (and the total number of zones) throughout New York as part of his “Vision Zero” plan.
Additionally, the NYPD will now be able to enforce penalties for activities which constitute “stunt driving.” These include revving of engines, and popping wheelies on motorcycles and dirt bikes. These types of behaviors have been involved in several notable fatal pedestrian accidents in New York over the past year, including a tragic accident in the Bronx which left two pedestrians injured and the driver of the bike dead.
The new laws also create financial penalties for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Many states across the nation have such laws on the books but New York City has been slow to follow suit.
Interestingly, there are also six resolutions in this package of legislation that call on the state government to go even further. The proposed state laws would allow NYC to have control over its speed-camera and red light camera programs and allow for tougher penalties for drivers who cause injuries to pedestrians and other driver while behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been struck by a car or motorcycle while on foot, contact a New York City pedestrian accident attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.