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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Pedestrians in Crosswalks

Motor vehicles in New York are supposed to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and to ensure that pedestrians have the right of way when crossing at a crosswalk or intersection. There are some exceptions, but generally speaking, a driver may be liable for injuries if that driver fails to stop at a crosswalk or fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian who is lawfully crossing the street. According to a recent report in The New York Times, New York officials want to redesign crosswalks in the city so that it is safer for pedestrians to cross without suffering life-threatening and fatal injuries in collisions with motor vehicles.

What do you need to know about pedestrian injuries in motor vehicle collisions and seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit? Our New York motor vehicle accident attorneys can provide you with the assistance you need.

Plans to Redesign New York Crosswalks in Response to Motor Vehicle and Pedestrian Deaths

The new mayor has proposed raising “hundreds of crosswalks across New York amid a surge in traffic violence during the pandemic, in part because of an epidemic of speeding and reckless driving,” according to the report. In the last five years alone, the report indicates that more than a dozen pedestrians have been injured or killed at specific intersections in the city, and more than 125 pedestrians were killed in collisions in New York City in 2021. Since the start of 2022, a total of 20 pedestrians and 17 motorists have been killed in collisions across the city.

Recognizing that the Vision Zero policy that aimed to reduce pedestrian and motorist fatalities has been undone by pandemic traffic and reckless driving, new plans have emerged to redesign crosswalks amidst what The New York Times calls a “boom in cycling and e-mobility, and outdoor dining that has brought more people into the streets.” The crosswalk redesign plans are focused on creating raised crosswalks across the city.

Raised Crosswalks to Reduce Pedestrian and Speeding-Related Deaths

According to the report, other cities that have established raised crosswalks have seen a reduction in injuries and deaths affecting pedestrians and motorists alike. Yet currently, New York City has about 40,000 intersections and only 17 raised crosswalks. In 2022, the city will add 100 more raised crosswalks and will focus on intersections that have seen a particularly high rate of pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions. The city will also be creating enforcement plans “to catch drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians.”

Under New York law, “pedestrians have the right of way in all crosswalks and at intersections with marked or unmarked crosswalks.” At the same time, it is important to note that New York law does not give pedestrians the right of way when a pedestrian steps out immediately into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Indeed, the law says that “no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.” Unless a pedestrian violates such existing laws, a pedestrian may be able to file a lawsuit against a motorist who strikes a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk or at an intersection.

Contact a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer in New York

If you need help seeking compensation after a collision with a motor vehicle, one of our New York car accident attorneys can help. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information.


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