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Pedestrian accidents with buses are a Vision Zero problem

A woman pushing a baby stroller was crossing 46th Ave. at 111th Street in Queens on Nov. 15 when she was struck by a Q23 bus that pinned her briefly under its front wheels. She was injured critically and rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center by paramedics. The stroller was not hit, and her 3-year-old daughter was unharmed. Pedestrian accidents involving city buses in New York City are far too numerous to go unnoticed.

The city previously had designated this area as a priority corridor needing improved safety pursuant to Mayor DeBlasio's Vision Zero Plan. Just last month the city initiated a plan to add a bike lane, remove a driving lane and expand the curbs on 111th Street. Studies have verified the dangerousness of the type of traffic pattern involved here, i.e., where the pedestrian is crossing properly in a crosswalk and the bus is turning right onto the same street.

It is difficult for bus drivers to identify and protect pedestrians crossing the street in such situations. Numerous studies have recommended solutions, one of them being to have the buses equipped with radar detectors and sound systems that will warn pedestrians. These proposals are still in the investigatory stage and will not be implemented in the immediate future.

In the meantime, pedestrians who are struck and seriously injured in pedestrian accidents of that nature are entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation from the transit authority that owns the bus. The principle of vicarious liability applies, making the transit authority liable for the torts of the driver committed while in the scope of the employment. The bus driver was negligent for not seeing the victim prior to impact and for not stopping in time to avoid the collision under the laws of New York City. Despite the difficulty faced by bus drivers in making "blind spot" turns, the driver nonetheless must remain more diligent when confronted with the prospects of passengers in cross walks.

Source:, "City bus strikes woman pushing stroller in Queens", Ryan Sit, Dan Rivoli, Thomas Tracy, Nov. 16, 2016

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