NYPD’s Ridiculous Advice for Pedestrians: “Avoid Walking in the Dark and During Bad Weather”


It was just after noon on Monday, November 9 — her 65th birthday — and Olga Rivera was walking home with her boyfriend of 10 years when a cab hit a box truck, and the box truck jumped the curb and pinned her to a fence. Rivera was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Earlier that morning, around 7:30, Man Chit Cheng, 59, and Mu Wang Lin, 41, were walking down Queens Boulevard when a 22-year-old in a Camaro careened into the sidewalk, hitting a phone booth, a lamppost, and two parked cars before striking the two men. Both were pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital.

Pedestrians make up the majority of traffic fatalities in New York. Of 274 vehicular-related deaths recorded in 2012, 148 were pedestrians.

What’s the NYPD doing about it? Well, they’re offering some patronizing advice. NYPD headquarters is distributing a flyer, spotted by StreetsblogNYC, that offers the following tips:

  • Walk on sidewalks. If you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic. Stop at curb before entering the street.
  • Cross only at street corners, preferably those with a traffic light and within marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to “Walk/Don’t Walk” signals.
  • Give yourself the most time to cross by waiting for a newly turned green or walk signal.
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, and be on the lookout for turning or backing vehicles.
  • Keep scanning for vehicles as you cross.
  • Hold your hand up or do whatever it takes to make yourself more visible to drivers.
  • Avoid walking in the dark and during bad weather such as snow, ice, rain, or fog.
  • Make eye contact with driver before crossing in front of a vehicle. Stay out of the drivers blindspot.
  • Walk and cross with other pedestrians whenever possible.
  • Listen for engine noises of backing vehicles when you’re in a parking lot, near a driveway or crossing mid-block between cars.
  • Wear light or bright-colored or reflective clothing, especially if you walk at night. Use a flashlight if you walk at night.
  • Do not use a cell phone or other electronic device while you cross the street. Always be alert.
  • When you walk with younger children, make sure you hold their hands and keep them in your eye sight.
  • When you push a stroller, wait until traffic is stopped then enter the cross walk.

We urge you to make the most of our pedestrian safety tips to improve the quality of life in our communities.

Unfortunately, none of these tips would have helped pedestrians like Rivera, Cheng, or Lin, all three of whom were on the sidewalk, in broad daylight, in clear weather, and with another pedestrian when they were mowed down by reckless drivers.

As Streetsblog has previously noted, NYPD also has tips for cyclists.

So, how about some tips for drivers, NYPD?