Photo of exemplar transit bus of same make and model as one that fatally struck pedestrian.

​Exemplar transit bus of same make and model as one that fatally struck pedestrian. (Source: MTA)​

Fatal Pedestrian Collision with Transit Bus

What Happened

​​About 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 21, 2016, a 2006 Motor Coach Industries transit bus operated by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was traveling southwest on Water Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The bus, driven by a 63-year-old male, entered the intersection with Whitehall Street on a green traffic signal. (Water Street becomes State Street at this intersection.) The bus did not clear the intersection before the signal turned red. Instead, it stopped behind a line of vehicles waiting for the light to change one block west (at State Street and Peter Minuit Plaza). The bus blocked part of the crosswalk on Water/State Street.

A 58-year-old female pedestrian was waiting with a group of pedestrians on the southwest corner of the intersection. When the traffic light turned green on Whitehall Street, the pedestrian entered the marked crosswalk on the west side of the intersection, walking north. She was talking on her cell phone and walking slower than the rest of the group. The other pedestrians passed in front of the stopped bus and safely reached the sidewalk on the north side of Water/State Street. But as the pedestrian walked in front of the bus, the traffic signal one block west turned green, and the southwestbound vehicles on Water/State Street began to move, including the bus. (The light at Whitehall Street was still red, and the pedestrian was still crossing Water/State Street on a WALK signal.) The bus struck the pedestrian with the right side of its front bumper. The impact knocked the pedestrian to the ground, and the bus ran over her. As the bus continued west, it dragged the pedestrian underneath.

​The pedestrian, who was entangled in the bus’s third axle, was dragged about half a mile before the bus stopped at the intersection of Trinity Place and Edgar Street. Witnesses at the intersection saw the pedestrian underneath the bus and alerted the driver and law enforcement officers. Members of the New York City Fire Department removed her body from under the bus and transferred it to the office of the New York City medical examiner for an autopsy. The temperature at the time of the crash was 66.9°F, winds were calm, and skies were cloudy. It was daylight, but within a half hour of sunset (which occurred at 6:06 p.m.).

What We Found

We determined that the probable cause of the crash in New York City, New York, was the failure of the bus driver to check for pedestrians in the crosswalk immediately in front of the bus before he accelerated from a stopped position.