Beware the Left Turner

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A new report issued by the city's transportation planners highlights where and why pedestrian accidents occur throughout the city. WNYC Senior Reporter Collin Campbell discusses the findings and what the Bloomberg administration is doing to make the city more walker-friendly.

What's the most dangerous intersection or pedestrian area you encounter? Any car/bike/walker incidents to report? Let us know!


Collin Campbell

Comments [24]

Tam from brooklyn

I hardly ever see a woman behind the wheel in NYC! I'm a 57-year old woman who has lived in the city since 1980. In 1998 I bought a car when I moved from Manhattan to Queens (in 2005 I moved to Brooklyn) and I use it quite frequently, probably on average one trip a day. In the last few years I started to think about how rarely I see a woman on the road. In my anecdotal totally unscientific opinion, I'd say 95% of the drivers I see are men. Is my view distorted? If not, why would this be the case?

Aug. 17 2010 12:26 PM
Nina from East Village

Hi Brian--I hope you're right about bike lanes making the city safer for pedestrians . . . Bike lanes have been installed on Second and First avenues in the East Village: No we notice that bicycles come from BOTH directions, instead of traveling in one direction with the traffic as is the law (is it the law?).
And bicycles are traveling across the street where there are NO bike lanes and they're traveling on the sidewalks . . . I rode a bike in the city for years until bikes became popular, and I stopped because with their proliferation they became dangerous. >sigh< I hate to say this, but maybe the city's next step ought to be to police bicycle traffic with similar vigor to the way they police car traffic. A friend was hit and badly injured the other day by a cyclist who came out of nowhere, on the sidewalk, in spite of those bike lanes . . .

Aug. 17 2010 12:03 PM

John from Bklyn
and how would i get to the airport??

Aug. 17 2010 12:01 PM

Yes! He's right about 4th Ave in Brooklyn. It's practically a highway. I am SUPER duper careful about 4th Ave.

Also, does anyone know why Park Ave near the upper 50's has very few pedestrian lights? it's confusing. This is near St. Bart's. Is it because they are unsightly??

Aug. 17 2010 12:00 PM

what about letting walkers go before drivers get a green light

Aug. 17 2010 12:00 PM
Brett from williamsburg

As a driver it worries me when pedestrians stand a few feet out in the street while waiting to cross, it is unnecessary and makes them much more vulnerable to accidents. My other complaint is with bicyclist, because they don't follow the rules of the road, they don't stop at lights or stop signs and more often than not don't wear helmets.

Aug. 17 2010 11:58 AM

Excellent stats point by the caller! The number of miles driven by males is crucial.

One way or another, New York effectively legalizes reckless driving. Pick your favorite high traffic street and clock a few drivers. I see people doing 50 miles per hour on Prospect Park West. I've seen people doing a lot more than that on Eastern Parkway. Late at night, bikers drag-race on Eastern Parkway. The cops do NOTHING.

The cops do NOTHING.

Pinch in roads at intersections -- better than speed bumps.

Enforce bike lanes. Enforce crosswalks. Enforce speed limits. Enforces lights and stop signs. The city does NONE of this.

I can count on ONE hand the number of moving violations I've seen ticketed in the past 10 years, and I see 20 or 30 moving violations per day (and that's not including simple light-running).

Aug. 17 2010 11:55 AM
mary from greenwich village

hope that "count-down" clock is slated for an incredibly dangerous cross-7thave.s.-/w.11th-/greenwich ave.- from walk sign to hand flashing -6/7 seconds!
sure that when st.V's was opened they saw a fair share of accidents- this is right in front of what was their em doors

Aug. 17 2010 11:54 AM
Simoise from Maplewood

I don't understand why left turns are worse than right

Aug. 17 2010 11:53 AM

People laugh at me, but I am SUPER careful when out as a pedestrian. I don't trust anyone is going to stop. My friend's make fun of me, but I learned the hard way as a 14 year old when I was hit by a car.


Aug. 17 2010 11:53 AM
John from Bklyn

If cops stopped Vans and illegal immigrant car service drivers both industries would completely go out of business.

Aug. 17 2010 11:52 AM
Daniel from Midtown

As a cyclist, I've realized that street safety is not just a matter of ensuring that we don't physically hurt each other, but cultivating streets where we FEEL safe. I have been riding through red lights for years, and I've always felt that since I knew I was in control, if I scared people a bit,it was fine. But I realize now how important it is to feel safe. Though I believe that cab drivers are more in control and more experienced city drivers, they could take more responsibility for cultivating a safe environment.

Aug. 17 2010 11:51 AM

In the twilight hours, when the law _requires_ that headlights be on, but brain-deprived testorone-junked males are trying to be cool by _not_ using headlights.

Fine them. Fines are the solution. And let's see some drivers go to prison for killing bicyclists and walkers. The NYPD doesn't even _fine_ these murderers.

Aug. 17 2010 11:50 AM
sam from astoria

What percentage of fatal accidents involve hit-and-run drivers?

Aug. 17 2010 11:49 AM

What about Van Drivers. They are the most aggressive I have seen on the roads.

Aug. 17 2010 11:48 AM

How about just stripping away a driver's license -- permanently -- when he uses his vehicle as a weapon.

I have never been more terrified than when an Access-A-Ride van passes me. I swear they cut in close to threaten us.

Aug. 17 2010 11:47 AM
maw from nyc

The intersection of Dyckman, Broadway & Riverside Drive - it's terrifying to cross on the west side of the street with cars speeding through @ the walk sign in a rush to get on the West Side Highway.

Aug. 17 2010 11:47 AM
JJ from Astoria

How come there are no patrols that ticket cop cars when they double park along an entire block on alternate days? Seems to be a selective enforcement policy on a number of levels in this city. Get out of the donut shops, park your cars and start patrolling busy throroughfares and crosswalks and try protecting the people you are paid well to, before going back to your houses in LI and NJ.

Aug. 17 2010 11:47 AM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

Yes, left turns at intersections are definitely the worst! Pedestrians are legally crossing against the cars making that left turn -- cars seem to think they have right of way no matter what. That's the education that needs to happen -- that pedestrians have right of way. The one thing Guiliani did that made sense was putting traffic lights in the middle of mid-town blocks so cars can make their turns unimpeded and pedestrians can cross more safely mid block.

Aug. 17 2010 11:46 AM

How about more traffic cams and fines of $1000 for running a light and a crosswalk?

The crosswalk nearest me on Eastern Parkway takes over 5 minutes between walk signs. Then pedestrians get about 30 seconds to cross. If you are not there at the moment it turns to "Walk", you can't make it.

How about hiring just _one_ cop who will enforce traffic laws. Red lights are treated as optional in my area.

By the way, that scene with Dustin Hoffman was an _accident_ -- the car just rolled into the shot.

Aug. 17 2010 11:44 AM
ben from carroll gardens, bklyn

dont fall for the epidemiological mistakes! fire trucks dont cause fires! men causing more accidents is "association" NOT cause and effect! You could make associations like this between many things, like blonde hair, racial things, eye color, etc. Cmon!

Aug. 17 2010 11:31 AM
Mike from NYU

I believe that the cabs are not the worst. I don't know about the left turn thing though. I would think running a light or rushing around some obstacle in a straight path would be the worst.

I was nearly hit in the crosswalk with the light yesterday because a car was held in the intersection by construction until after the light changed and then floored it to get going before sitting through a second cycle or causing grid-lock. The driver missed my wife and I by less than a foot.

The easy fix for this would be cameras on intersection lights to ticket people that speed OR pull past the stop line. People really shouldn't be driving in Manhattan anyway so I have no sympathy. As far as I'm concerned ticket and fine them left and right.

Aug. 17 2010 10:55 AM
Lauren from NYC

...And I know that the data says that private cars are more likely to be involved in accidents, but this data seems to include the outer boroughs, where there aren't too many cabs, so the results would be skewed.

Aug. 17 2010 10:31 AM
Lauren from NYC

Does this study parse the data regarding cabs vs. non-cabs? Cabbies are the most dangerous drivers, BY FAR.

Aug. 17 2010 10:28 AM

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