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Question: Will Right of Way Law Protect Pedestrians in New York City? Part 1 of 2.

Answer: Not right away. The law faces challenges from unions and in Albany.

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There have been several bus-pedestrian accidents in recent weeks resulting in injuries to the pedestrians. Descriptions of the accidents make for somewhat gruesome reading, but they also raise important issues about the safety of pedestrians in New York City. The remainder of this post describes some of the most recent bus incidents that hurt or killed pedestrians. Our next post will outline some of the challenges the city faces in implementing the Right of Way Law as it applies to buses.

A List of Recent Bus "Accidents"

A pedestrian in Queens was struck by the Q66 bus as it turned onto Roosevelt Avenue from Prince Street. The man, who was in the crosswalk, was dragged under the bus and suffered serious injuries to his legs. The MTA is investigating.

A man crossing Fifth Avenue between 57th and 58th streets was outside the crosswalk when he was struck by a taxi. The impact threw him into the path of an oncoming BxM 9 bus, Officials said the man had darted out from between two parked cars.

A man on crutches was standing outside Radio City Music Hall when he lost his balance and fell under the M50 cross-town bus. He was taken to Bellevue in serious condition. The driver was not charged.

In early July, a man was hit by a double-decker tour bus as he was crossing Sixth Avenue at West Fourth Street. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, although the nature of his injuries was not reported. Another tour bus caused a fatal accident in May when it hit a Spanish tourist in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at 111th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

In February 2015, an MTA bus struck a teenage girl in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, mangling her leg. The driver was later charged with failure to yield and failure to exercise due care. The girl was in the crosswalk at Grand Avenue and Union Avenue when the bus that was making a left turn struck her, pinning her leg under the tires.

In addition, a woman was killed in Queens when a Nassau Inter-County express bus struck her on Hillside Avenue in early January. The driver kept on going despite the screams of his passengers, who were aware that the bus had hit someone. Police eventually took him into custody for questioning, although the eventual outcome of the case is unknown.

Our next blog post outlines the issues related to enforcement of the Right of Way Law and efforts by some to make it less strict.

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