Our lives are literally in each other’s hands

Shortly after 8 p.m., Saturday night, a fire truck, with emergency lights and sirens on, was responding to a report of a gas leak, when it hit a man at E. 15th St. and Irving Place in Manhattan police said. The Ladder Co. 3 truck ran over one of the man’s legs. A witness said the man was launched several feet and wound up under the truck.

“I didn’t think he was alive,” said Tony Myagi. “After he got ran over, I did watch him elevate his upper body and his head. They kept telling him not to move.”

The 34-year-old suffered a severe leg injury and was taken to Bellevue Hospital. The fire truck stayed at the scene.

Although it isn’t often we hear of emergency response vehicles being involved in accidents with pedestrians, pedestrian accidents with other vehicles are a daily occurrence in New York. In fact they are so common to life in the city, it has motivated Mayor Bill de Blasio to unveil an extensive set of proposals expected to improve street safety in New York City. He has pledged considerable police resources and political capital.

The 42-page plan has its roots in a Swedish street safety approach known as Vision Zero. Vision Zero views all traffic deaths as fundamentally preventable. Measures like, New York Police Departments will increase precinct-level enforcement of speeding, and to keep delivery vehicles out of travel lanes when they are double parked, park lanes will be widened, will be taken in an effort to step up safety.

According to police statistics, in 2013, 176 pedestrians were killed in traffic in New York. Safety experts note that studies show drivers cause roughly half of all pedestrian collisions by racing through crosswalks, speeding, running red lights, and making illegal turns. However, this is not the whole story.  An article written for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons stated, “A study of hospital emergency departments found that more than 1,500 pedestrians were injured in 2010 while using their phones, up from 559 in 2004.”

Tuning out traffic and their surrounding is making pedestrians more vulnerable. Listening to music, texting, talking on the phone, wearing headphones, are dangerous behaviors to engage in while walking the busy streets of New York. Experts have stated that while there is little hard data on this issue, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Smartphone distractions for both drivers and pedestrians is partly to blame for the number of pedestrian fatalities beginning to rise in 2010 after years of holding steady.  

To avoid being a “Deadwalker” and to remain safe and alert while walking, keep in mind these important tips from the AAOS:

  • If you must use headphones or other electronic devices, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.
  • While you walk, focus on the people, objects and obstacles around you.
  • Don’t jaywalk. Cross streets carefully, preferably at a traffic light, remaining cognizant of the pedestrian traffic flow and the cars and bikes in and near the road.
  • If you need to talk to a child or the person next to you, make a phone call, text or other action that could distract you from the goal of getting where you need to go safely, stop and do so away from the pedestrian traffic flow. “

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “Our lives are literally in each other’s hands,” and he couldn’t be more right. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

If you were in a pedestrian accident and suffered a personal injury caused by a negligent driver, it is important to seek legal advice from a New York Personal Injury Lawyer immediately. A New York personal injury attorney will know how to protect your rights and can ensure you are fairly compensated for loss of wages and medical costs relating to your injury. Pulvers Thompson Personal Injury Lawyers has been assisting the greater New York area for over 70 years. Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorneys are crucial when an injury is serious. The process of financial recovery can be long and complicated. Contact Pulvers Thompson Personal Injury Lawyers today.

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