Do you feel safe as you go about your day? Well, you shouldn’t. What you might not realize during your daily routine is that all the things that you do without really thinking about them are very possibly the exact things that are going to kill you. Kill you till you’re dead. The New York Times reported on some of the surprising statistics from a study done by “a team of trauma surgeons, emergency physicians and researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center” which found that many of New Yorkers most common assumptions about what keeps them safe are completely wrong. I guess what’s so scary about this is that it’s like you’re never really protected. You can’t feel safe just because you don’t live on the side of a volcano, you know? So, are you supposed to just lock yourself in a room and never come out again? No. Don’t worry. The city of New York is here to warn you about all the possible ways you might die a horrible death. The city of New York wants to take care of you. That’s been Mayor Bloomberg’s mission for the last 12 years after all. He’s just wanted to help us live our lives better, because we don’t know how to do it ourselves. So if you avoid the following things that can potentially lead to your untimely demise, everything will be just fine. Just fine.
Using the Crosswalk
That’s right. It seems so counterintuitive, but, in fact, most pedestrians were struck by cars while they were in a crosswalk last year. Not when they were jumping out from between cars, not when they were just strolling down the median on 4th Avenue as people do I guess, but as they were walking properly in the crosswalk with, the Times points out, “the signal on their side.” So, learn a lesson from this and jaywalk judiciously. That is definitely the lesson to be learned. Also, don’t trust anything on four wheels.
Going On a Diet
This seems to run directly against the Bloomberg administration’s desire that we all eat healthy food and not drink soda and lose weight or whatever. But, as it turns out, carrying a few extra pounds could save your life. The NYU Langone study found “that excessive weight may prove a boon for pedestrians in a collision.” I mean, logically, it makes sense that a little extra padding would cushion a person against the hard asphalt, but I still have to doubt that this will reverse the city’s constant haranguing via subway ads to count calories or avoid sugar. I do, however, feel less guilty about that second cookie I ate for breakfast today, because clearly it was more a self-preservation tactic rather than straight up gluttony.
Welllll…I guess this isn’t the most surprising unhealthy habit. In fact, most people are pretty aware that drinking heavily and getting around while intoxicated are not the safest of things. But! We still do it. We’re still human. And, as the Times notes, most people associate alcohol consumption with reckless driving. This study found that pedestrians in accidents are frequently intoxicated. The lesson? No matter how much fun it is to drink, it will probably kill you in one way or another.
Being on the Phone
Yeah, this is gonna get you killed. Or, at least, grievously injured. Either way, not a pretty picture. According to the study, “about 8 percent of both pedestrians and cyclists said they were injured while using an electronic device, including a cellphone or music player. For victims ages 7 to 17, the numbers climbed to more than 10 percent of pedestrians and nearly 30 percent of cyclists.” So, stay off your phone, stay off your “music player”, which, I guess, for some people still isn’t the same thing? Anyway, be safe. Playing Words with Friends is not worth risking death. Not even when you get to slip “ZA” into a triple word score. Not even then.
Cycling With the Flow of Traffic
One thing that I remember hearing when I was growing up was that you could tell a real New Yorker by the fact that, when crossing a one-way street, they’d only look one way. This impressed upon me, at a very young age, the fact that New Yorkers weren’t idiots. We knew traffic would be coming from one direction, we looked that way, and we crossed. We weren’t fucking rubes who had to look both ways no matter what. This has all changed with the increase in cyclists in this city, and the fact that many of them practice “salmoning” (riding against traffic), an act that makes me want to throw things at their spokes (even though I don’t, I have some self-control, though not a lot.) Anyway, I’ve always taken comfort in the fact that all those cyclists who ride against traffic will probably get hit by cars and, while I never want anything seriously bad to happen to them, maybe it will teach them to follow the rules of traffic and, by extension, society. Well! As it turns out, out of all the injured city cyclists, “more than 80 percent…rode with traffic flow.” Yet another example of how following all the rules will lead to nothing more than being a hood ornament for a taxi. Depressing. Be careful out there, everybody. Or, you know, don’t. It doesn’t seem to matter either way. We’re all fucked.
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