The problem with police officers imparting such advice through ticket-writing, though, is that it leaves pedestrians with a misleading—and sometimes deadly—impression: that following traffic laws will keep them alive. Such a strategy doesn't work in New York, at least not yet. Officers presumably targeted Wong to change his future behavior. But by doing so, Wong could put himself in greater danger. According to news accounts, Wong was crossing two-way 96th Street and Broadway with a crowd but against the light. Had Wong waited for the light, though, he would have had no guarantee of safe passage. At 96th and Broadway, as is typical of a Manhattan intersection, pedestrians and drivers going in the same direction both get a green light at the same time. A pedestrian crossing a side street thus shares the same "go" time with drivers turning from the main avenue onto that side street. Wong could have patiently waited for the light to change and then assumed that any turning drivers would respect his right of way. That's what 72-year old Maude Savage did last November, stepping into a Brooklyn crosswalk only when she received her signal. "You [can] see Savage [on video] waiting for the pedestrian signal and looking both ways before stepping into the street," reports Streetsblog's Brad Aaron. After she did, a speeding driver turned into her. She died from her injuries two months later.
I'm sure the Precinct commander's intentions are good, but the policy is wrong.