According to a recent study, at least 500 pedestrians are struck by bicyclists each year in New York City alone. This is more than half of all pedestrian accidents involving bicycles in all of the state of New York.
Researchers suspect that there are actually many more accident victims than this number because the report only analyzed hospital data. The research did not take into account people who were injured but did not go to the hospital. Such victims may either not have sought medical treatment or went directly to their primary care doctor or to an urgent care clinic.
The research was funded by the widow of a New York City victim of a wrong-way bicyclist. She says she is not against bikes, even though a cyclist caused her husband’s wrongful death. Instead, she was interested in the information so that she could use the data to push for increased enforcement and education of laws pertaining to bicycles.
She is particularly concerned about preventing accidents such as the one that resulted in her husband’s death. In that regard, this woman is hoping to implement a road-safety pledge among restaurant delivery workers. In the end, however, she is primarily concerned with reducing the number of pedestrian-bicycle accidents.
Although it does appear that bikers are improving their safety, with New York City’s bike-sharing program, there is increased concern about people riding bicycles without knowing the basics about where they are going, the laws of the roads and even the language.
Of course, there are scenarios in which pedestrians actually cause accidents, such as when they are not paying attention. Perhaps, pedestrians need to be educated as well. However, the bottom line is that pedestrians have the right of way, and New York bicyclists must always be alert to their presence.
Source: New York Daily News, “East Harlem is the most dangerous part of New York for Bicyclists, new study finds,” Tracy Connor, Sept. 19, 2011