Bill Passed to Make New York City Streets Safer for Bikers and Pedestrians

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Beginning December 27, 2016 the streets of New York City will be safer for individuals walking and biking. The new local law labeled Intro 997-A protects pedestrians who enter a crosswalk during the flashing “Pedestrian Change Interval” to have the right of way. Currently, Section 4-03 of the Rules of the City of New York states that no pedestrian should enter or cross the roadway during the time the change interval is flashing. The application of the current standard has been found by city council members to not align with the reality of every day New Yorkers.

The unanimous decision by lawmakers to implement the new local law will help prosecute motor vehicle operators under the 2014 Right of Way Law. While the law allows for the prosecution of a driver who injured a pedestrian or cyclist with the right of way, under the new bill, a pedestrian or biker’s right of way will be expanded to during the time of the blinking signal. Under the current standards, the NYPD and District attorneys often declined to criminally prosecute cases against drivers in such instances because the current law did not allow for any determination that the pedestrian had the right of way.

Although Mayor de Blasio has made a strong push with his Vision Zero plan to make the City safer for bikers and pedestrians, The New York Times reported in August that more cyclists have been killed this year than all of 2015.

Notably, 78 year-old Michael Schenkman was killed on August 24 after being struck by a car in Queens. Mr. Schenkman was an avid biker, often biking nearly 20 miles a day. The death sparked outrage in the biking community, and lead to an initiative of advocacy groups to pass laws to protect pedestrians and bikers in the city of New York. Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan is aimed to eliminate traffic deaths in the city by the year 2024. Other than advocating new regulations regarding pedestrian and biker safety such as Intro 997-A, the city has increased the number of protected bike lanes and lowered the default speed limit to 25 miles per hour.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle related accident, contact an attorney experienced in handling these matters. Put the experienced personal injury attorneys of Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC on your side so you and your family are able to receive compensation that the law provides. Contact (718)-238-2400 for a consultation today. 

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