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More traffic leads to higher bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities in 2015

New York City and other urban jungles provide unique challenges for pedestrians and bicyclists trying to get around safely while maneuvering around one another and, of course, motorized traffic congestion.

People are more frequently taking to the road in their motor vehicles, thanks to reasonable gas prices, an improving economy and other factors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that Americans drove more last year than at any other time: 3.1 trillion miles. Because of this, traffic deaths significantly rose in 2015.

Their report, based on preliminary data, shows an increase in fatalities of 7.7 percent, from 32,675 to 35,200, in 2015 across the nation. That is the highest number of traffic deaths since 2008, which saw 37,423 fatalities.

Non-motorist traffic deaths saw even worse spikes. Bicycle fatalities increased 13 percent and pedestrian deaths jumped 10 percent, according to a July 1 article by the Associated Press.

The numbers in NYC

In 2014, the most recent year for which the NHTSA has published data, the majority of cyclist and pedestrian fatalities from traffic accidents occurred in urban areas, such as New York City.

In New York City in 2014, there were 20 of these fatalities, which accounted for 8.1 percent of total traffic fatalities, the highest percentage of any large city behind Tucson and Seattle. Pedestrian fatalities accounted for roughly 50 percent of total traffic fatalities, or 125 of 248, respectively.

Getting help after an accident

For bicyclists and pedestrians, being involved in a traffic accident can have serious and even life-threatening consequences. They can take steps to prevent accidents - such as staying alert, using the designated road or pathways and being predictable - but that does not always make up for negligent drivers and other factors. Once the damage is done, what is there to do?

Cyclists and pedestrians who have suffered injuries, from broken bones to head trauma and back/neck injuries, may be entitled to compensation. To help with the process, individuals should consider consulting a lawyer who will work to recover compensation for their losses, including pain and suffering, medical expenses and financial losses because of a prolonged absence from work.

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