Riding a bicycle through the busy streets of New York can be stressful at the best of times. Motorists are usually focused on watching other cars, and often have a ‘blind spot’ when it comes to cyclists. This puts cyclists in a vulnerable position since bikes are smaller and are more likely to come off worse in an accident. For cyclists, the consequences of any potential collision are huge. Motorists all too often turn in front of bicycles and cut them off without even noticing that they have done this.
It is legal for a bicyclist to ride on the streets of New York, even though it can be rather dangerous for them to do so. Cyclists are just as welcome on the road as automobiles are, however, motorists often forget this. If a motorist collides with a cyclist, the motorist is typically the one held responsible.
The New York bicycle accident lawyers at Cellino Law have a lot of experience in such injury cases. Our goal is to ensure that motorists are held responsible for any negligence they may have displayed. If you have been involved in an accident, schedule a free case review with the New York personal injury attorneys at (800) 555-5555 to discuss your case.
Table of Contents
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in New York
There are many things that may lead to a bicycle accident, especially on streets as busy as those in New York.
Failure to Yield on Turns
It is the responsibility of the motorist to make sure that there is no traffic coming before they make a left-hand turn. This includes looking for cyclists. Unfortunately, a lot of motorists forget that cyclists exist and look only for cars. If they fail to spot a cyclist this could result in a serious accident.
Motorists should also check before turning right. Rear View mirrors have blind spots, and it is easy to miss a smaller cyclist to the rear of a vehicle, but motorists should do everything they can to check that they are free to turn before they initiate a maneuver. In some cases, car drivers see a cyclist but assume that they have space and speed required to pass then turn in front of them. Cyclists may struggle to swerve, stop, or slow down as the vehicle passes.
Crossing Over a Bike Lane
Bike lanes were created to allow cyclists freedom and safety. These are supposed to be dedicated areas for cyclists. Some drivers do not pay attention to these lanes and cross into them at will. This may lead to a serious accident.
Failure to Stop at a Sign
Stop signs are intended as an indication that the driver should stop completely. Some motorists attempt to roll through a stop sign. They may get away with this most of the time, but if a cyclist is approaching then there could be a serious collision as the cyclist may not be able to stop or swerve to avoid the vehicle in time. The cyclist had the right of way since the motorist had been told by the sign to stop.
Failing to Look Before Opening Car Doors
One common cause of accidents is motorists failing to look before opening a car door into the road. Cyclists may not have a chance to avoid the car door and could be thrown off their bike, sustaining serious injuries, because they collided with the door.
Driving Very Close to a Bicycle
Motorists who are stressed or in a hurry may sometimes drive close behind a cyclist, not leaving enough space to stop if the cyclist needs to slow down or stop unexpectedly. In the event of an emergency stop, the car driver cannot respond quickly enough, and this can result in a serious collision and harm to the cyclist. Motorists should always leave enough space between them and the road user ahead of them, whether the road user is another automobile or a cyclist.
Failure to Look Before Exiting Driveways
Another common danger spot is driveways. Motorists may forget to watch out for cyclists, and pull out in front of an approaching bike.
Speeding or Overly Aggressive Driving
Speed and road aggression lead to many accidents, both ones involving other cars and ones involving bikes. Cyclists are more likely to come off badly in the event of a road rage incident. Many car drivers get angry if they are caught behind a cyclist for a prolonged period, but road rage incidents can be deadly for cyclists or result in life-threatening accidents.
Motorists should be paying attention to the road, not their phone or GPS. Unfortunately, the proliferation of mobile devices has led to an increase in the number of accidents occurring on the roads.
Drugs and/or alcohol can impair a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. The use of drugs or alcohol can slow reaction times and make it harder for a motorist to operate a vehicle. Cyclists are more likely to be overlooked by a driver who is intoxicated.
Whatever the cause of an accident, the truth remains that bike accidents can result in life-threatening injuries. If you have been involved in an accident while riding a bike call us now to set up a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We would be happy to discuss your options with you and set you on the path to gaining the compensation that you are entitled to after your accident.
Common Bike Accident Related Injuries
People who are involved in bike accidents often experience the following types of injury:
Head Trauma or Brain Injuries
Head trauma or traumatic brain injury is common in bike accidents if the cyclist’s head hits the ground or collides with a vehicle, signpost, or another object. The cyclist may suffer from a concussion, skull fracture, or damage to the brain. These injuries can have long-lasting or even permanent effects.
Spinal injuries may lead to whiplash, partial, or full paralysis.
Broken or Fractured Bones
Broken bones and fractures are common in bike accidents. They often occur in the collarbone, but can also affect the facial bones and the lower extremities such as the hips, ankle, pelvis, and knees.
Sprains, Strains, and Dislocations
Sprains, strains, or dislocations are common if someone is thrown off a bike in an accident. The good news is that compared to other injuries, these are ones from which a person is likely to recover quite quickly and to not experience lasting symptoms.
Injuries to Internal Organs
In cases where the chest or abdomen suffers an impact, a person may experience damage to their internal organs. Damage can take a long time to recover from and sometimes the injured person may not make a full recovery. Prompt treatment for such injuries is important.
Cuts, Lacerations, and Other Soft Tissue Injuries
Bruises, contusions, lacerations, abrasions, and other similar injuries are common after impacts. These injuries might be mild compared to other potential injuries, but they can still be painful and depending on their severity they may still require hospital treatment and/or time off work.
The National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration says that bicyclists are involved in around two percent of accidents that lead to traffic-related deaths. Internal organ damage and brain injuries are some of the most common causes of death. Helmet use can reduce the risk of head injuries, but there can still be brain damage even in cases where a helmet is worn. To prevent traffic accidents, it is crucial that all road users follow traffic laws and try to practice good road awareness as much as possible. Everyone on the roads must be vigilant.
Bicycle Laws in New York
Many accidents involving bicycles could be prevented with cautious driving. There are laws in place in New York to encourage drivers to pay attention to the roads and follow driving regulations. These laws aim to improve road safety and prevent accidents. When people are habitually obeying the laws of the road it makes it easier for other road users to predict how those around them will behave, and this reduces the risk of collisions occurring.
As long as you follow the traffic laws in the state, you do not have to worry about being held liable for traffic accidents. If you are able to prove that you were following the law you may be able to get a settlement if you are involved in an accident. The New York laws governing cyclists include:
In New York State, cyclists and their passengers (if under the age of 14) are required to wear suitable helmets. Anyone who is not wearing a helmet may find that as per Section 1238 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws they are not eligible for compensation.
Locations for Cycling
New York State law requires cyclists to ride according to the flow of traffic. They must stay as close as possible to the right-hand side of the road. Cyclists can ride alongside one another if there are obstacles in the way, and in the vicinity of a left-hand turn. Cyclists are not permitted to lane split. This means they cannot ride between two lanes of traffic.
In New York, cyclists are not permitted to ride on the sidewalk unless there are signs that explicitly allow them to do this. They are also expected to stay within bike lanes if those are available.
Riding When Intoxicated
New York Law does not define a bicycle as a vehicle. This means on paper cyclists are permitted to ride a bike while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In practice, police officers have the ability to use their discretion if they encounter a cyclist who is riding while intoxicated. If a cyclist is handling their bike in an unsafe manner then they may be cited. If an accident occurs while a cyclist is under the influence then it is possible the cyclist could be held liable or lose some of their entitlement to compensation should it be shown they were operating the bike in an unsafe or negligent manner.
Breaking cycling laws does not mean that a person is automatically held responsible for any incident. The laws in New York rely on ‘comparative negligence’. This means someone who is partially at fault may still seek compensation from the other involved party, even if that party was less at fault, as long as it can be shown there is some fault there.
A qualified personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation that you are eligible for, even if you were in breach of New York laws when the accident occurred.
How are Faults and Damages Determined
No one wants accidents to happen, but they do. In New York State, if there is a bike accident one of the first questions that will be considered is who was at fault. Once the at-fault party or parties are determined, liability can be calculated.
In an accident that involves an automobile and a bicycle, the cyclist will typically sustain the most serious injuries, but the motorist is not always the person at fault. A full investigation must be performed to determine who the responsible party truly is.
A judge or jury may determine that the cyclist was at least partly at fault. This may occur if the cyclist was under the influence while in control of the vehicle or if they were not following all traffic laws. In other cases, a different vehicle could be held at fault. This could happen if a cyclist was injured by a motorist who swerved to avoid a second negligent driver. It can be complicated to show who was at fault in an accident involving multiple parties.
How do New York Bicycle Accident Lawyers Prove Liability?
After an accident, it is important that there is a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to its occurrence. Contributing factors can be complex and there may be multiple parties who were at fault. If your accident was caused by more than one person, then we can help you pursue each party to obtain the maximum compensation.
New York State allows accident victims to pursue compensation from all at-fault parties. Anyone who was negligent, careless or reckless can be pursued for compensation. This means you can pursue:
- Other drivers
- Other cyclists
- The manufacturers of the vehicles involved
- The employer of a commercial driver
- A government entity
- Public transportation organizations
The team of accident lawyers at Cellino Law can help accident victims in and around New York City to get compensation from appropriate third parties. They will review your case and help you get the compensation you deserve from the correct people.
What if a Claim is Made Against You?
Insurance providers and motorists may try to blame the cyclist for the accident. This is done in the hopes of avoiding paying out as much, or any, compensation. These claims are often incorrect and the companies do not have evidence to back them up. You do not need to allow the insurance company to put you off from making a claim. Just contact Cellino Law for help in proving that you were not at fault, or in pursuing your claim even if you were partly at fault.
It is still possible to get compensation for an accident even if you were partly at fault for it. The qualified team of personal injury attorneys in New York at Cellino Law can help cyclists to obtain the monetary compensation that they are entitled to. Remember that comparative negligence applies in New York State, and even someone who contributed to an accident can obtain compensation if it can be shown that the other party was also at fault.
Where comparative negligence applies, your compensation would be calculated based on the percentage of fault attributed to the other party. To get the maximum amount of compensation you will need to reduce the portion of fault applied to you as much as possible. At Cellino Law, we have experience with reducing the percentage of blame that our clients carry. The lower the level of blame attributed to them, the higher the compensation they can obtain.
Contact A New York Bicycle Accident Lawyer At Cellino Law Today
Call our New York injury firm to book a no-obligation consultation and start work on disproving any attempts to attribute fault to you. We are here to help you get the compensation that you are entitled to and to ensure that the claims process goes as smoothly as possible, allowing you to focus on the most important thing – healing and getting back to normal life after your bicycle accident.