Pedestrians & Manhattan Rental Cars: A Closer Look at Pedestrian Safety

In 2010, the City of New York undertook the first ever Pedestrian Safety Report and Action Plan. This is a landmark study. As a matter of fact, it is the most statistically ambitious study of its kind ever undertaken in a U.S. city. Built upon the Department of Transportation’s Sustainable Streets strategic plan, the report examines over 7,000 records of crashes in the city. The goal? To determine ways to improve pedestrian safety and reduce Manhattan rental cars collisions. 

A number of roadway improvements in the city have used this study’s findings as a base. These include:

  • The installation of countdown pedestrian signals at 1,5000 intersections.
  • The creation of a pilot program to test the safety performance of neighborhood 20 mph zones.
  • The creation of pilot programs to improve visibility at left turn signals along busy avenues in Midtown Manhattan.
  • The redesign of 20 intersections for pedestrian safety on two-way streets.

What’s more, this report help to uncover some surprising stats concerning the safety of NYC’s streets. For instance, did you know that New York City’s traffic fatality rate is lower than Copenhagen’s?

If not, this study is definitely worth reading – especially if you’re planning to drive one of our Manhattan rental cars during your upcoming visit to the Big Apple. The following is an overview of interesting stats and actions based on the report.

Why Road Safety Matters

Drivers in Manhattan rental cars might not realize just home important pedestrian safety is to a city like New York. However, according to a study from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in British Columbia Canada entitled Traffic Calming Benefits, Costs and Equity Impacts, traffic calming improvements that reduce speed and volume have been strongly linked to increased home values, a key factor to attracting and retaining residents. The Health and vitality of the Big Apple is dependent upon pedestrian safety. After all, 52% of traffic fatalities from 2005 to 2009 were pedestrian related.

Vulnerable Road Users in New York City

While the Safety Report and Action Plan focused primarily on pedestrians, it also touched on a wider range of vulnerable road users (i.e. any road user outside a closed vehicle – bicyclists, motorcyclists, etc.). And while you might think that cabs and drivers of Manhattan rental cars rule the roadways, this couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s more, vulnerable road users actually account for 71 % of the city’s traffic fatalities.

Where Do Pedestrian Crashes Happen?

Drivers in Manhattan rental cars can help keep pedestrian accidents to a minimum by being extra careful when driving on the following types of roadways in the city. These are areas particularly bad for pedestrian safety:

  • Intersections: Nearly 74 percent of pedestrian accidents occur at intersections in the city. Oddly enough, this is the exact opposite in most other major U.S. cities (76% of pedestrian accidents in the nation happen at non-intersection locations).
  • Arterial Streets: These wide signalized streets account for roughly 60% of pedestrian fatalities. Crashes on these streets in NYC are 2/3 more deadly than crashes on non-arterial streets. And yet, they only account for about 15% of the city’s road network.
  • Bike Lanes: In recent years, the DOT has spent a great deal of time and money expanding the city’s bicycle network. Today, drivers in Manhattan rental cars will find more than 200 miles of new bike lanes. This expansion has increased safety not just for cyclists but also for pedestrians. Pedestrian accidents are 40% less deadly on streets with bike lanes compared to those without.

When Are Pedestrian Accidents Most Likely to Happen?

New York City’s crash profile differs slightly from that of the rest of the nation. Most cities record a large portion of pedestrian crashes at night (46% between 8 pm and 4 am). However, New York experiences the greatest number of deadly pedestrian accidents between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm.

Winter also appears to be the most dangerous time for pedestrians in the city. Nearly 20% more crashes occur per month during the November and December holiday season as compared to other months of the year. This is likely attributed to increased volumes of pedestrian traffic as well as increased traffic volumes, increased alcohol intake, and poor driving conditions.

Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?

There are a wide variety of reasons why pedestrian accidents occur in New York City. These include driver inattention, failure to yield, crossing against the signal, left turns, speed, alcohol, and improper lane changes.

What Role Do Drivers in Manhattan Rental Cars Play?

According to statistics from the report, drivers that kill or seriously injure pedestrians in NYC crashes are overwhelmingly male. Approximately 80 percent of crashes involve male drivers. Yet, only 57% of the city’s vehicles have male owners. Furthmore, male drivers in their 40’s are the most likely perpetrators in a pedestrian crash.

Private passenger cars dominate deadly crashes, accounting for about 79% of all recorded accidents. However, very few of these accidents involve cab drivers – less than 16% of deadly passenger accidents involve cabs.

The moral of the story? Drivers in Manhattan rental cars need to keep their eyes peeled when driving on busy pedestrian lined streets. Awareness and caution are key factors in improving the safety of NYC’s street.