Mitchel Ashley of The Ashley Law Firm is a recipient of the Super Lawyer rating for eight years in a row. This accolade is bestowed on him by his peers, an honor that only 5% of NYC attorneys receive.  

In his own words, Mr. Ashley has some information he would like to share regarding transportation and individuals endangering themselves while in transit:

I have been traveling quite a bit recently, and as an avid observer of human nature and a people watcher, I have been noticing that there are many ways that people in transit are endangering themselves. For whoever is reading this, I want you to be safe and secure while traveling.


Traveling on the Train

New York City comes in 7th in the world for annual subway ridership, at 1.757 billion riders per year. The top ten are:

  • Beijing: 3.660 billion
  • Tokyo: 3.411 billion
  • Shanghai: 3.401 billion
  • Seoul: 2.620 billion
  • Guangzhou: 2.568 billion
  • Moscow: 2.384 billion
  • New York City: 1.757 billion
  • Hong Kong: 1.716 billion
  • Mexico City: 1.624 billion
  • Paris: 1.526 billion

In 2016, there were 48 deaths from people being struck by subway trains and 168 total incidents, which is down 10 deaths and 4 incidents from the previous year. The dip is partially attributed to various public information campaigns warning people to stay away from the platform edge. One campaign was even targeted to players of Pokemon Go, chiding them to be careful.

As you walk into train stations, down the stairs, through the turnstiles, stay aware of your surroundings. Put down your phone, take out an earbud, and pay attention. Due to uneven and sometimes broken steps, it is common to see people stumble on the stairs, which can injure yourself and others in your path.

You are also surrounded by hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. Stay aware and protect your belongings. Train stations can sometimes house thieves and pickpockets. Put your phone in your pocket, close your bag fully, and take note of your surroundings.

Every time I ride the train, I see many people standing right at the edge of the platform, looking down the tunnel for the subway train. This is so dangerous, especially on crowded platforms or during rush hours.

For your own safety, please back up. Stand a few feet back from the edge. You don’t need to look down the tunnel, it will not make the train come any faster and you will see and hear it as it gets closer anyway. Many train stations even have signs and tickers saying when the next train is coming. Be safe and be smart. Stand back.


Walking in New York City

Did you know that up to 50 million people come in and out of New York City every year? And over 8.5 million live here, in all five boroughs. This is more than Los Angeles at 3.976 million and Chicago at 2.705 million, by a great deal.

According to the New York State Department of Health, there are about 1100 pedestrian deaths on average every single year due to automobile accidents. This means 5.6 out of every 100,000 New Yorkers are dying due to accidents involving cars. With so many people and vehicles around all the time, you must be careful and aware of those around you and the condition of the streets.

I see more people than ever looking at their cell phones while walking – even as they cross busy streets! Whether you are on the sidewalk, in a crosswalk, or crossing against the light, put down your phone. Drivers are legally supposed to yield to pedestrians, but not all of them do and accidents can and do happen. I have litigated too many of the sad results from these accidents.

We live in one of the busiest cities on the planet and just a tiny bit of distraction on the part of a driver can mean the difference between life and death. Look both ways and put your phone away before crossing busy city streets. Look around, observe, and watch where you’re going. Streets and sidewalks both are riddled with potholes, debris, and uneven slabs. You don’t want to fall and get injured. If you must look at your phone, simply move to the side and stop for a moment. It is always better to be safe than sorry.


Driving in New York City

Whether I am in an Uber, a taxicab, or my own vehicle, I see dangerous and distracted driving all the time. In the year 2000, in only the borough of Manhattan, there were 24,609 reported traffic accidents according to statistics. Approximately 70 of these accidents resulted in fatalities, and approximately 14,624 reported motor vehicle accidents resulted in personal injuries, while property damage occurred in 9,915 of the accidents.

These numbers are startling, and it has only gotten worse as most drivers are using their cell phones for navigation, communication, and other tasks, and not paying attention to the road. With so many vehicles on the road, you want to stay as safe as possible.

In order to be safe and proactive, here are my tips for driving:

  • Remember the left lane is for passing. If you aren’t passing someone, please move into the right lane, as that is the cruising lane. If everyone were to follow this rule, the highways in general would be much safer, as the passing lane rule stops the people who are driving faster than others from weaving in and out of traffic to get ahead.
  • Never ever text or use your phone while driving. For one thing, it is illegal in the state of New York. Did you know that using a cell phone while driving has passed drunk driving as the number one reason teenage drivers are in accidents and injured or killed? Both iPhones and Android cell phones have a feature that disables alerts while you are driving and you should be activating that feature every time you get in a vehicle. When driving, you are operating a two-ton piece of heavy machinery. Even a second of distraction can result in horror.
  • If you are speaking on the phone while driving, you must use a hands-free device, such as a headset or a speaker. Studies have shown that speaking on the phone while driving is very much like drinking and driving, in terms of distraction and reaction times. You are just as distracted a driver as someone under the influence! Do not use your phone while driving, period.

As a resident of New York City, it is important to me that our people stay safe and uninjured. Whether you are traveling by train, bus, car, or walking, put away distractions, pay attention to your surroundings, and be safe.

If you have any questions, contact the New York City law firm of Ashley Law – consultations are free.


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