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Pedestrians Can't Take Safety for Granted in Crosswalks

Crosswalks in New York City are not necessarily safe zones for pedestrians. A study by doctors and researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center has found that pedestrians hit by cars in NYC are often in a crosswalk with the signal on their side, the New York Times reports.

The researchers studied pedestrians and cyclists treated at Bellevue Hospital Center after collisions, most of which occurred in Manhattan and western Brooklyn.

The study found that the pedestrians generally were not at fault in the collisions. In fact, six percent of the pedestrians were injured on the sidewalk. Of those injured on the street, 44 percent were using a crosswalk, with the signal on their side; 23 percent were crossing midblock and 9 percent were crossing against the signal. The remaining injuries occurred from a variety of less common situations.

Almost 60 percent of the injured pedestrians were struck between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., with injuries occurring over the highest-traffic hours of the day. Most of the cyclists’ collisions occurred from noon to 3 p.m. Cyclists were more likely than pedestrians to be struck from 6 p.m. to midnight.

About 40 percent of injured cyclists were hit by taxicabs – most likely because they compete for the same space on the curbside roadway. Less than one-third of the cyclists wore helmets.

One surprising finding was that victims who were overweight or obese had less severe injuries than victims with a lower body mass index. However, Dr. Spiros G. Frangos, the study’s senior author, told the Times that overweight and obese patients did not do as well as thinner people after hospital admission.

Distracted pedestrians and cyclists may play a part in these collisions. Among patients 18 and older, 15 percent of pedestrians and 11 percent of cyclists consumed alcohol before the collision. Approximately 8 percent of pedestrians and cyclists said they were injured while using an electronic device, such as a cellphone, and this number was higher for victims ages 7 to 17.

The study covered 1,400 pedestrians and cyclists who were injured in collisions from December 2008 to June 2011 and did not include information about victims who died at the scene of the accident. The study was published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

While NYC city officials have been championing the need for bike lanes, pedestrian plazas and other traffic measures, this study finds that there is still a great need for change.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian or cyclist accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact the experienced New York pedestrian injury law firm of David Resnick & Associates, P.C., for a consultation to determine your right to compensation.

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