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Older pedestrians at risk in Manhattan

Older pedestrians comprise less than half of the population in Manhattan but account for almost half of all car-versus pedestrian fatalities in the borough. This trend reflects national statistics, according to a non-profit advocacy organization.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization that advocates for the reduction of car dependency in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In late 2014, it issued a report on pedestrian fatalities in the tri-state area based in part on information from the federal government. It found that people that are at least 60-years-old accounted for 42.6 percent of the 364 pedestrian fatalities in Manhattan from 2003 through 2012. However, this age group was only 17.8 percent of the entire population. Residents aged 75-years and older comprised 6 percent of the population but also constituted 22 percent of pedestrian deaths in Manhattan.

In short, the rate of pedestrian deaths for residents that were 60 and above was 3.67 times those who were younger. For the population that was 75-years-old and older, their rate was 5.59 times greater.

In the United States, the pedestrian death rate for pedestrians under 60 was 1.40 per 100,000. For pedestrian over 60-years-old, their rate was 2.23 and 2.87 for people who are 75 and older. This fatal accident rate is bound to increase as the population of older adults grows nationally and in the tri-state region.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign has recommended that New York expand its SafeSeniors Program and begin a Safe Routes to Transit Program that improves pedestrian safety near transit stops.

The City of New York has implemented some improvements, however. The state has allowed it to lower the legal speed limit to 25 mph in residential and business districts. It also adopted a Vision Zero Policy intended to make streets safer and end traffic deaths.

As Manhattan and other governmental authorities struggle to combat this problem, families of senior citizens killed by a vehicle may need to seek legal assistance to assure that their rights are protected in a wrongful death lawsuit. Legal advice can help determine liability for a deadly auto accident.

Source: Tri-State Transportation Campaign, “Older pedestrians at risk,” Accessed on Feb. 23, 2015