Walk Safely and Avoid Pedestrian Accidents in NYC

Crossing a busy intersection in New York City can feel like running a gauntlet of cars, trucks, taxis, and other pedestrians converging from multiple directions at once. Even when pedestrians have a walk signal, some motorists fail to yield at an intersection. People on foot are among the most vulnerable users of city streets.

Pedestrian deaths account for an alarming 60 percent of all traffic fatalities in New York City, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published in 2015. That is by far the highest percentage of any major city in the United States, according to the NHTSA.

To avoid being struck by a car, it’s important to educate yourself about pedestrian safety and the proper steps to stay out of harm’s way. Many drivers are looking for oncoming cars and trucks and are simply not paying attention for people walking or jogging.

What are the biggest contributing factors to pedestrian accidents? Are there times of day when motorists have more difficulty seeing pedestrians? Are there dangerous intersections in NYC where pedestrian accidents are so common that you may wish to avoid them?

You can find the answers to these questions and others in The Ultimate Guide to Walking Safely in NYC, a new online resource published by Hecht, Kleeger and Damashek, P.C. The guide is a tool to provide you with useful information about pedestrian accident trends in the five boroughs and help you navigate the city more safely.

As New York personal injury attorneys who assist injury victims, we recognize that pedestrian safety is an ongoing concern for many New Yorkers, whether you are in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx or Staten Island. We are committed to helping improve pedestrian safety in NYC.

A pedestrian accident can occur at any time in NYC. Still, it’s helpful to be aware of the times of day, day of the week and intersections that present the greatest risk of accidents involving pedestrians. The guide contains that information for each of the five boroughs. For example, the data in the guide indicates that inattention and driver distraction contribute to a third of all collisions in Manhattan.

shutterstock_263237606Pedestrians and drivers alike should avoid distractions such as talking on a cell phone when navigating the city. If you have headphones in your ears while walking on the street, you may be less likely to hear a vehicle coming behind you. You need to keep all of your senses alert when you are a pedestrian.

Keep in mind these 10 basic safety precautions to stay safe as a pedestrian:


Make yourself more visible. Wear bright colored clothing during the day and clothing with reflective materials at night. Motorists have more difficulty seeing pedestrians at night, particularly if you are wearing dark clothing. A flashlight can also help others see you.


Pay attention to the traffic around you and don’t distract yourself by listening to headphones or talking on a cell phone.


Walk on the sidewalk if one is available. If no sidewalk is present, walk facing traffic and as far away from traffic as possible.


Cross at crosswalks and intersections and obey all traffic signals.


Look left, right, and then left again before crossing a street and remain alert for oncoming vehicles as you cross.


Follow the Walk/Don’t Walk signals when they are present rather than the traffic light. Even when a signal indicates that you can go, look to make sure that oncoming motorists are stopped or yielding. Be aware that drivers who are turning at an intersection may fail to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. It’s a good idea to make eye contact if possible.


Adults should supervise children when crossing streets. Children may have more difficulty determining when it’s safe to cross.


Alcohol may impair your ability to walk safely.


Keep in mind that parking lots can be as dangerous as streets. Watch out when crossing behind cars in parking lots.


Expect the unexpected. Stay alert for sudden changes and try to anticipate unsafe situations.

If you have been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, talk to a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer about your legal options to obtain compensation to cover your medical bills. You should not have to pay medical bills for injuries from a pedestrian accident caused by a reckless motorist.