New York Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Riding a bicycle is fast becoming an alternative and viable mode of transportation in New York City. According to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), traveling cyclists have increased by 26% between 2008 and 2009 and have doubled since 2005. The New York City Department of Health estimates that More than half a million New Yorkers ride bicycles.

However, it is important to remember that cyclists face a number of road hazards in New York City regardless of which county they are traveling. When a bicycle and a car collide, it is often the cyclist who suffers serious, catastrophic or fatal injuries. Cyclists do not have the type of protection that a motor vehicle can offer, such as seat belts, airbags, body panels and cabin frames.

Injured cyclists tend to face significant medical expenses, hospitalization costs and related expenses of rehabilitation and ongoing care. Injured victims may not be able to return to work until they are fully recovered. Some are permanently injured or disabled and are not able to reintegrate into the workforce. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in New York City, it is essential that you have a better understanding of your legal rights and options.

Cycling Laws in New York City

First of all, it is very important that all motorists understand that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other motor vehicles. There are specific laws in New York City that regulate the movements of a cyclist such as-

  • Traveling on the street, not on the sidewalk. The exception to this law is when the cyclist is under 12 years old and the bicycle wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter.
  • Travel with traffic and do not find.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs. Be sure to obey all traffic signs, signs and markings on the pavement. Exercise due care to avoid collisions with pedestrians, cyclists or cars.
  • Use lanes or designated bike lanes when available except when making a turn or when it is not safe to do so.
  • If the road is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel side by side, cyclists have the right to travel in the middle of the driving lane. Remember, bicycle riding is allowed on all major and local streets in New York City even though there are no designated routes.
  • Adjust your bike with a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as a buzzer or horn and reflectors.

Bicycle Lanes in New York City  

The New York City Department of Transportation, for the last five years, has increased the city’s bicycle network by more than 400 miles. A safety study by the NYCDOT in 2010 found that streets with bicycle lanes are 40% less lethal for pedestrians. Also, the streets protected with bicycle lanes have seen some of the most drastic reductions in injuries for all users, not only for cyclists.   

For example, the bicycle lane on Columbus Avenue saw a 58% growth in bicyclists, while car accidents that resulted in injuries decreased by almost 20% during the NYCDOT study period. Bicycle lanes on Ninth Avenue helped reduce injuries by 58%. Accidents with injuries were decreased by up to 63% in the Prospect Park West, while the number of users doubled and tripled. In addition, traffic injuries were reduced up to 21% on First Avenue, while the number of users increased by almost 177%. The increase in the number of cyclists in New York City can be attributed to the recently implemented program by City Bike.

What Causes Bicycle Accidents in New York City?

Several bicycle accidents in New York City are caused by drivers who do not see the cyclists who are sharing the lane; drivers who operate their vehicles too quickly, carelessly or imprudently; and drivers who pass the cyclists without giving them enough space. Drivers can cause accidents when they fail to judge the speed or trajectory of a cyclist. The most dangerous types of crashes for cyclists are those that occur at or near street intersections. The three-way junctions are particularly dangerous for cyclists.  

Our legal team has represented many cyclists who have been injured by drivers who have not paid attention to traffic conditions. Some of the bicycle accident cases that we have handled involve drivers who:

  • Cutting the road for cyclists: Under New York law, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other vehicles. Due to their small size, bicycles are often not seen by distracted or negligent drivers who fail to yield right-of-way or cross into their lane.  
  • Bicyclists are hit in the back: We often handle bicycle accident cases where the driver and cyclist were traveling in the same direction and the driver hit the cyclist in the back. Many times, this happens because the driver is disabled, distracted, in excess of speed or has misjudged the speed of the bicycle.
  • Accidents with doors: Accidents with doors are caused by careless drivers or passengers who open the doors in the path of cyclists on the move. These types of accidents can be catastrophic or even fatal for cyclists, especially if they are thrown in the way of other vehicles on the road.
  • Make changes to dangerous lanes: When drivers change lanes without giving way to cyclists, the consequences can be devastating.
  • Invade the bicycle lane: Bicycle lanes are present for the safety of cyclists. However, when drivers invade bike lanes, the resulting crash can be devastating for cyclists.
  • Making dangerous turns: The City of New York has a series of busy intersections. When drivers make turns at intersections without yielding right-of-way to cyclists, accidents with serious injuries can occur.
  • Failure to yield the right of passage: Whenever a driver leaves or enters a driveway or an establishment, he or she has an obligation to yield the right of passage to cyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk. When they do not, the resulting collision can be catastrophic for the cyclist.

Bicycle Accident Injuries

Bicycle accidents tend to cause serious injury or even permanent catastrophic injury or long-term or permanent disability. These are some of the types of injuries that cyclists are at risk of suffering in the event of a crash:

  • Traumatic brain injuries : cyclists are at risk of serious head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Those who suffer this type of brain injury can permanently lose their physical and mental abilities. Victims of brain injuries also require extensive rehabilitation and care treatments, the costs of which can increase very rapidly.
  • Spinal cord / spinal cord injuries : cyclists tend to suffer serious neck and back injuries if they fall off their bikes in the event of a crash. When the back of a victim hits the pavement, it can suffer serious damage to the spine. In the worst case, this type of injury can result in paralysis.
  • Broken bones : Although the fractures appear to be injuries that can be healed, there are certain broken bones that can result in permanent damage. Complex fractures where the bone protrudes from the person’s skin, multiple fractures or incidents where the bones are crushed are examples of the types of injuries where permanent damage can occur.  
  • Damage to internal organs : in a bicycle accident, there is a danger of catastrophic injuries to the internal organs of the person such as the lungs, kidneys and spleen.
  • Amputations : Depending on the nature and circumstances of the bicycle accident, victims may lose limbs or fingers.
  • Scratches : these are serious skin injuries that occur when a cyclist is dragged along the road.

Safety Tips for Cyclists

There are numerous safety measures that cyclists can take to prevent accidents with serious injuries:

  • Obey the traffic signals. Be sure to stop at the red light and traffic signals.
  • Never drive against traffic because drivers are not watching bicyclists driving on the opposite side of the road.
  • Follow the rules of the lane. For example, do not turn left from the right lane. The drivers do not expect you to do that.
  • Do not go to the right. Drivers often do not look for or see a bicycle going to the right.
  • Analyze the path behind you. Look over your shoulder without losing balance or deviating. Some cyclists use the rear view mirrors.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake.
  • Wear a helmet always, even when you are driving at short distances. Several studies have shown that bicycle helmets help prevent serious or catastrophic head injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Never use headphones while riding a bicycle. Avoid all kinds of distractions when you are riding a bicycle.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. In the winter, dress in layers so you can adapt to changes in temperature and can retain body heat.
  • Do not drive when it is dark. But, if you must do so, wear brightly colored clothing and use a bright light on the front and back of your bike to make sure it is visible to drivers.
  • Make eye contact with the drivers. It is better to assume that other drivers do not see it until they make sure that they do. It is also a good idea to use hand signals so that other drivers understand your intentions.
  • Examine road hazards, such as sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand, or debris that could put you at risk of a slip or slip
  • From maintenance to your bicycle. Check the brakes or tires regularly.

Safety Tips for Drivers

These are some of the measures that drivers can take to avoid collisions with cyclists.

  • When a cyclist is passing, be sure to first clear the cyclist before returning to their lane. From the cyclist at least 3 feet when passing.
  • Observe if there are cyclists before parking.
  • Always observe if there are cyclists before opening the doors of a car. Accidents opening doors can cause catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Drivers can be found responsible for accidents by opening doors.
  • Yield the right of way for cyclists when making a turn.
  • Remember that cyclists who go in a straight direction at an intersection have the right to step on vehicles that are going to make a turn.
  • Never turn right after a cyclist has passed.
  • Always yield the right of way to cyclists before turning left.
  • Give way to cyclists before entering or leaving a parking lot or access road. It is the responsibility of the driver to observe if there are pedestrians, cyclists and other people who may be walking in the wax and yield the right of passage to them.
  • Avoid any type of distraction while driving

Damages in Bicycle Accident Cases.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be able to obtain compensation for damages you have suffered. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages, including but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disability, pain and suffering of the past and future. etc. When a cyclist dies in an accident, relatives of the deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as loss of future income, medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, etc.

Verdicts and Agreements for Bicycle Accidents

These are some of the verdicts and agreements that have been obtained for the clients of the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm:

  • Agreement of $ 5,600,000 for an injured cyclist who was paraplegic and suffered brain damage after being hit by a vehicle.
  • $ 600,000 for the family of a man who died in a bicycle accident after he was driving his bicycle through a red light at an intersection. We achieved this agreement even though the deceased cyclist was found to have had marijuana in his system and there were three witnesses against us.
  • $ 505,000 for a person injured in a bicycle accident. Our firm obtained $ 305,000 from a $ 300,000 insurance policy for the victim, as well as $ 200,000 from additional workers’ compensation insurance benefits.  

How to Contact an Experienced Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured by a bicycle accident, experienced personal injury lawyers in New York at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your rights and legal options. Contact us toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-LASLEYES (1-800-527-5393). EVEN WE CAN GO TO WHERE YOU ARE. We do not charge attorneys fees unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 states of the United States, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.  

Other toll-free numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, or 1-800-WORK-4-YOU