We have been writing this week about the minimal punishments drivers often face for causing accidents while breaking traffic laws. Failure to yield has become a misdemeanor offense in New York, thanks to Vision Zero. But other offenses, including accidents caused by texting and driving, rarely result in anything more than a fine.
Last week, we wrote about one of the many initiatives outlined in Mayor de Blasio's "Vision Zero" campaign. For too long, the status quo in New York City has been to treat car accidents, pedestrian accidents and bicyclist accidents as unpredictable and unpreventable mishaps. Those who injure or kill other travelers rarely face criminal charges, even if they violated traffic laws.
With the rise in use of app-based taxi services, such as Uber and Lyft, gaining popularity as an alternative to the traditional yellow cab, and providing millions of rides a day worldwide, an interesting question is raised: what about their insurance policies? Who is liable if an accident occurs whether I am inside or outside the car? Do I sue the company, or the driver? Last year, major liability issues were raised when a young girl was killed after being hit by a driver operating a vehicle used for Uber purposes.
Mayor de Blasio's "Vision Zero" initiative is an ambitious undertaking, but one that New York City seems ready for. We have already seen certain VZ provisions enacted, such as the reduction of speed limits throughout the city.
By Adam Cahn
The popular ride-sharing company is under fire after a Connecticut man alleged that he flipped over the Citi Bike he was riding this fall, after his front wheel struck a low barrier that had been installed next to the bicycle docking station near E. 56th Street and Madison Avenue.
For all of the technological achievements we have made as a society, Americans continue to be their own worst hazards. This is especially evident in the realm of driving. Seat belts have long been standard-issue in every new vehicle as well as the subject of safety campaigns and laws. Yet failure to wear a seat belt is often cited as the cause of death or a major contributing factor in car accident fatalities.
The winter weather in New York this year has been burdensome, to say the least. Heavy snow alone is difficult and dangerous enough. But when heavy snow and road salt interact with New York City's aging underground infrastructure, things can go from bad to worse very quickly.
The winter weather took its toll on New York City-area roadways, creating potholes of all sizes that can cause serious damage to vehicles, and even death, as in one unfortunate case in Riverhead, New York. A 37-year-old motorcyclist died at the hospital hours after he lost control of his vehicle as a result of hitting a pothole.
Many of the amenities we usually take for granted are actually quite amazing. Utilities like water, heat and electricity make it possible to live as we do, yet we almost never see the work that goes on to bring such utilities to our homes and apartments.