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NYC seeks to end 'epidemic' of fatal pedestrian accidents

In a two-block area of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, three pedestrians have been killed in a nine-day period. Police have cracked down on jaywalking in an attempt to make the area safer.

The victims range in age from a 73-year-old father of two who was hit by a tour bus, to a 9-year-old boy who was crossing the street with his father when they were hit by a taxi. Those two collisions occurred within 30 minutes of each other. The third victim was an anesthesiology resident at Columbia University. The driver of the vehicle that struck the young woman said that he didn't even know that he had hit her until another motorist stopped him.

Police have increased their vigilance in watching and ticketing jaywalkers in the area where the deaths occurred to avoid more pedestrian knockdowns, though clearly pedestrians are not at fault for every such accident.

Nonetheless, barriers have been set up to prevent crossing in the middle of the blocks. An electronic sign has also been placed at the intersection of 96th and Broadway, instructing pedestrians to cross the street legally for their own safety.

While pedestrian deaths may be linked in many cases to jaywalking, it cannot be denied that distracted, intoxicated or speeding drivers also cause far too many pedestrian accidents.

The mayor and other officials have characterized the problem of traffic fatalities in the city as an "epidemic," and advocates for pedestrians and cyclists have taken to the streets to spray-paint messages drawing attention to the issue.

Pedestrian accident victims or their families have a right to seek legal justice beyond criminal court. Insurance companies and at-fault motorists often do what they can to shirk responsibility and minimize or deny payouts to victims. In these cases, a personal injury attorney with experience in wrongful death claims can help grieving families understand their rights and options.

Source: New York Daily News, "Woman, 26, third pedestrian killed near Upper West Side street in 9 days," Edgar Sandoval, Ryan Sit and Tina Moore, Jan. 20, 2014

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
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