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Possible new bill may help protect bicyclists and pedestrians

Pedestrians and bicyclists are among the most likely groups of people to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Pedestrian accident victims suffer traumatic injuries, some of which are fatal. Fortunately, some of the dangers facing pedestrians and bicycle riders are finally being addressed by New York officials. A new bill put forth by the Department of Transportation gives both pedestrians and cyclists a better chance at making it to their destinations safely.

The bill would apply leading pedestrian intervals to close to 1,500 city intersections. With these intervals, the walk lights will turn before the traffic lights, giving pedestrians an extra few seconds to cross before cars start turning. Cyclists that are waiting at the light can also move when the pedestrian signal comes on, thereby giving them a head start over turning cars as well. However, cyclists must still yield to pedestrians.

The bill addresses one specific problem faced by cyclists: turning accidents. Turning crashes occur when a car attempts to turn in front of a bicyclist riding adjacently to them. Approximately 23 percent of cyclist deaths occur as a result of this type of accident.

Another recent proposal attempts to protect delivery cyclists that are contracted by Uber, food delivery service Seamless, and other similar companies. The proposal requires that these cyclists wear helmets and protective clothing with the name of their company. Cyclists who work for restaurants are already required to do this under law.

If the Department of Transportation can follow through with these proposals, there is a high likelihood that pedestrians and cyclists will be safer on the streets of New York.

Source: New York Daily News, "DOT backs bill that would allow cyclists to blow red lights by letting them follow pedestrian walk signals," Erin Durkin, Nov. 15, 2016

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
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Phone: 347-286-1937
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