Riding a bicycle through Buffalo is not for the faint of heart. Most drivers are paying attention to other cars rather than watching for cyclists. Bikes are much smaller than vehicles, which can make spotting them challenging. This is particularly true if they are in a vehicle’s blind spot. Drivers also frequently have a hard time judging how fast a bicycle is moving, which means that they may turn in front of them.
Despite all of these dangers, cyclists have as much right to be on the road as vehicles. If an accident occurs, the driver of the vehicle may be liable, depending on the circumstances. If you or a loved one have been hit by a car contact our Buffalo bicycle accident lawyers to discuss your claim. Call (800) 555-5555 to schedule your free consultation.
Table of Contents
How Are Most Bike Accidents In Buffalo Caused?
Thanks to our previous experience handling cases involving bike accidents our Buffalo injury firm is one of the most qualified in the area. We have helped cyclists in every category, ranging from commuters and bike messengers to athletes and young children. Our objective is to ensure that drivers are held responsible for negligent actions such as:
Not Yielding on a Left-Hand Turn
When turning left, drivers may not look closely enough to see cyclists who are approaching. Sadly, this can lead to serious accidents such as the vehicle striking the cyclist or the bicycle running into the side of the turning car.
Turning Right in Front of a Bicyclist
If a driver fails to check their rearview mirror or their blind spot when turning right, they may inadvertently turn directly in front of a cyclist. Sometimes, drivers even speed past a cyclist and then turn sharply in front of them, cutting off their path. The person on the bike may not have adequate space to hit their brakes before striking the vehicle as it turns.
Crossing into a Bike Lane
The purpose of bike lanes is to help cyclists stay safe on the road. Unfortunately, not all drivers pay attention to these lanes. If a car crosses over into the bike lane, it can result in serious accidents.
Not Stopping Completely at a Stop Sign
In the Buffalo area, drivers frequently fail to fully stop at stop signs. Instead, they just slow down a little before going through the intersection. If a bicyclist is present, this can result in an accident.
Opening the Car Door While Parked
People frequently park alongside the curb in both Suffolk County and Nassau County. Oftentimes, drivers or passengers swing their car doors open without checking behind them to make sure no bicyclists are approaching. If a person on a bike collides with a car door, it can result in major injuries.
Following a Bicycle too Closely
Oftentimes, drivers follow closely behind cyclists because they become impatient or aren’t driving with adequate care. If the person on the bike has to stop in a hurry, it can result in a serious accident since the driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
Pulling out of a driveway, alley, or cross street. When backing out of a driveway or pulling into traffic from an alley or cross street, drivers sometimes only look for other vehicles, failing to check for people on bikes.
Driving too Fast or Aggressively
Drivers who speed or use aggressive driving practices frequently cause accidents. Sometimes, these accidents involve bicyclists. Drivers sometimes get frustrated if a bicycle is moving too slow or if they feel like it is in their way. This can lead to road rage, causing them to drive aggressively. Unfortunately, scenarios like these frequently result in major accidents. Driving too fast for the conditions is also a danger if cyclists are in the vicinity.
When operating a vehicle, a driver’s full attention needs to be on the road. If someone is distracted by their phone, a GPS device, or anything else, they may not see people on bicycles until it is too late.
Driving While Intoxicated
Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be able to react quickly enough to prevent an accident. Depending on how intoxicated they are, they might not even see a bicyclist until it is too late. Accidents like these often result in critical injuries.
Regardless of the underlying cause of the accident, colliding with a vehicle when you are on a bike can result in serious, life-changing injuries. If you were injured in a bike accident, contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your case. After looking at the facts, we will help you determine the best way to move forward so that you can get compensated for your injuries.
What Types Of Injuries Occur Most Often In Bicycle Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 2% of all traffic-related fatalities involve bicyclists. Critical injuries in accidents like these typically involve the internal organs or the brain. Wearing a helmet can lower the risk of injuries to the brain or head.
Even a high-quality helmet can’t protect against all injuries, however. The best way to prevent fatalities like these is for drivers and cyclists to pay better attention to the road and to follow all of the local traffic laws. Common injuries incurred by bicycle accident victims include:
Injuries to the Head or Brain
Concussions, fractured skulls, or serious brain injuries are common in bike accidents since the victim’s head may come in contact with the vehicle, the ground, or another nearby object. Brain injuries can leave victims permanently disabled.
Spinal Cord Injuries
If serious damage occurs to the spinal cord, the cyclist may become partially or fully paralyzed below the area where the injury was suffered.
Fractured or Broken Bones
In accidents involving bicycles, fractured collarbones are quite common, as are broken bones in the lower body. This includes the pelvis, saddle, knee, ankle, foot, or hip. If the cyclist’s face sustains any type of impact, their facial bones may also be fractured.
Dislocations or Strains
If a person’s body is struck by a vehicle, it can do major damage to the musculoskeletal system. Temporary injuries such as dislocations or strains are likely to occur.
If the vehicle collides with the bicyclist’s abdomen or chest, it can damage their internal organs. Common problems include bowel contusions, traumatic hernias, rupturing of the spleen, trauma to the pancreas, or injuries to the lungs. These types of injuries are usually slow to heal and can cause serious problems for the victim.
Minor or Superficial Injuries
Bruises, lacerations, contusions, and abrasions can all affect the soft tissue or skin of the victim. Although injuries like these are usually considered minor, they can cause a lot of pain. The victim may need to be hospitalized or to take time off of work to recover from these types of injuries.
Bicycle Laws In New York
The vast majority of accidents involving bicycles can be prevented. One way to minimize the occurrence of accidents like these is for drivers to follow the rules of the road. Traffic laws are designed to keep the sidewalks and roads in New York as safe as possible.
Following these laws makes it easier for other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to predict what you are going to do next. Collisions are less likely to occur when you are following the law. You are also less likely to be held liable if you do get into an accident. That means that you may be eligible for more compensation when you reach a settlement or go to court. Some of the primary bicycle laws in New York State include:
According to the law, people on bicycles and any passengers they are carrying who are younger than 14 are required to wear helmets. These helmets must comply with the safety regulations put forward at the federal and state level. According to Section 1238 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, failing to wear a helmet does not result in contributory negligence or assumption of fault if a collision occurs. That means that if someone younger than 14 didn’t have a helmet on when a collision took place, it won’t affect their odds of getting compensated for their injuries.
People on bicycles are required to ride along with the flow of traffic. They must stay as close as they can to the right-hand side of the street. They are only allowed to move out of this area if they are turning left or if there are dangerous conditions present such as garbage or debris. Bicyclists are allowed to ride next to each other as long as they aren’t next to vehicles at the same time.
In New York, cyclists are not allowed to engage in lane splitting, which is riding between two lanes. Bicyclists in Buffalo are also prohibited from riding on the sidewalks unless it is specifically allowed by an official sign. If a roadway has a bike lane, cyclists are required to use it.
Riding a Bike While Intoxicated
Since bicycles technically aren’t defined as vehicles in New York State, there are no laws about whether or not it is legal to ride a bike while intoxicated. If a police officer encounters a cyclist who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can use their discretion when deciding whether or not to punish them. When filing a personal injury claim, the cyclist may be found partially liable for the accident if they were intoxicated when it took place.
If you break one of New York’s laws surrounding bicycles, you aren’t automatically liable for the accident. The state of New York uses comparative negligence. That means that you can still get compensated for your injuries even if you are found to be 99% to blame for the accident. The safest way to increase your chances of getting compensated for your injuries if you were violating a traffic law at the time the accident occurred is to talk to a personal injury attorney in Buffalo. Depending on the circumstances, you still may be able to seek financial compensation.
What Should You Do When A Bicycle Accident Occurs In New York?
Being involved in a bicycle accident is extremely traumatic. It may be difficult to maintain your composure after the accident occurs. This is particularly true if you are dealing with lacerations, broken or fractured bones, or even a concussion. Having an idea of what to do when accidents like these occur can make it easier to handle things correctly. If you are ever in a bicycle accident in New York, remember the following five steps:
Contact the Police
When collisions occur that result in over $1,000 worth of property damage, injuries, or death, the police need to be notified. If you can’t tell whether you sustained injuries, you should still dial 911. When the police arrive, they will create an official police report documenting what happened. They will also gather important details like the license plate number and name of the person driving the vehicle and the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
Avoid Admitting Fault
Never admit that you caused the accident or apologize for your actions. In most cases, the other driver will also claim that they were not at fault. Don’t let this upset you. The police will investigate the accident, documenting as much as they can about what occurred.
Review The Accident
When speaking to the officer at the scene, don’t talk about who you think was at fault. Instead, provide them with a factual account of what happened. Carefully describe any injuries that you sustained, even if they are superficial.
Document The Accident
Although it may be difficult, try to record as much as you can about what occurred for your records. This includes snapping photos of the scene. Try to write down everything that took place before you have a chance to forget it. If you sustained injuries, carefully document them through the use of pictures and medical records.
Contact a Lawyer
After you have been treated for any injuries, the next step is to contact us at Cellino Law. We handle bicycle accident cases in Buffalo and can help you determine how best to proceed, whether that means reaching a settlement with the insurance company or filing a personal injury suit. We work on your behalf to ensure that you are compensated fairly for your injuries.
Being in a bicycle accident is an extremely distressing experience. Try to stay as calm as you can. Reach out to the police for help and do your best to document what happened. Be sure to contact one of our accident lawyers, as well. Let us handle the legal side of things so that you can pay attention to your recovery.
Damages And Liability
In an ideal world, bicycle accidents would never occur. Sadly, however, they do happen quite regularly. Anytime an accident involving a bicycle takes place in New York, the first question that needs to be answered is who was to blame. Determining fault in the accident is necessary to figure out who is responsible for covering the cost of any damages.
The damages are usually far higher for bicyclists than motorists in accidents like these. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the motorist was at fault. The accident needs to be carefully investigated to figure out who was responsible for causing it so that they can be held liable for any damages.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the bicyclist may be found partially to blame by a jury or judge. For instance, if the biker was traveling on the incorrect side of the road, if they didn’t grant the driver right-of-way, if they were intoxicated, or if they weren’t obeying traffic laws, they may be partially to blame.
To maximize your compensation, you need to be able to show that the accident was caused by someone else, whether that is the driver of a vehicle, another person riding a bike, a city or state government, or a company that manufactured defective products. From a legal standpoint, showing that someone was at fault and proving that they were negligent are both complex tasks.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
In 2016, 4,973 cyclists were injured in accidents in New York, while another 18 were killed. Of the five boroughs, Brooklyn experienced the most accidents and deaths. Collisions at intersections accounted for the largest percentage of bicycle accidents. These accidents typically occur because drivers don’t properly yield the right-of-way to bicyclists. In some cases, cyclists fail to pay attention to traffic signs, crossing the street when they shouldn’t. The key to avoiding accidents at intersections is for everyone to obey the laws surrounding right-of-way.
Accidents are also extremely likely to occur when cars are turning left. Drivers often cross the road in front of cyclists when turning because they aren’t watching the road closely enough. In some cases, drivers may also underestimate how quickly bicyclists are traveling.
Cyclists can help minimize the occurrence of accidents like these by making sure they are as visible as possible. They should also be prepared to quickly apply their brakes if they see a driver who is getting ready to turn left. To minimize right-hook accidents at intersections, cyclists should also do their best to avoid riding in a vehicle’s blind spot. Following the rules of the road is always the most effective way to avoid collisions.
Additional Statistics About Bike Accidents
There are a lot of things to love about riding a bike. Not only is it good for the environment but it also provides a great physical workout. At the same time, however, bicyclists are exposed to a lot of danger on the road. Accidents involving bikes are quite common and frequently result in serious injuries or fatalities. 48,000 bicyclists sustained injuries in 2011, with an additional 677 riders being killed throughout the US. Every year, nearly 515,000 people visit the emergency room as a result of bicycle-related accidents. New York experienced 6,076 accidents involving bicycles in the year 2011. As a result of these accidents, 57 people were killed and close to 6,000 others were injured.
Deaths resulting from bicycle accidents have been increasing in the recent past. In 2012, more than 800 people were killed in accidents like these throughout the US. That means that more than two people died each day in accidents involving vehicles and bicycles. Research published by the CDC shows that the people most likely to die in bicycle accidents are people over 45 or between the ages of 15 and 24. About 2% of traffic-related fatalities each year can be attributed to accidents involving bicycles.
If you or someone you care about were injured in a bike accident in the Buffalo area, we are interested in evaluating your case. Our skilled bicycle accident attorneys will help you seek compensation for your injuries from whatever party was responsible for the accident.
How Is Liability Determined In Bicycle Accident Cases In Buffalo?
When an accident occurs, a detailed investigation should be conducted to figure out the underlying cause. Although it does occur, it is rare for there to be a single cause for an accident. Instead, multiple factors usually come into play when a vehicle collides with a bicycle. Depending on the circumstances, more than one person may be to blame for the accident. If this applies to your case, you may be able to seek financial compensation from all of the responsible parties.
In New York, you have a right to pursue compensation from anyone who was to blame for your accident or injuries. If another party was behaving negligently or carelessly and you were injured as a result, you may be able to seek damages. Examples of parties that may be involved include:
- Drivers, including people driving trucks, cars, buses, or any other vehicle
- Other cyclists
- Manufacturers that produced defective bicycles, vehicles, parts, or equipment
- In accidents involving commercial vehicles, the employer of the responsible party
- Government organizations
- Public transportation providers
The attorneys here at Cellino Law will evaluate your case closely to figure out how it occurred and who is to blame. We will then pursue financial compensation from all responsible parties. This strategy ensures that you get as much money as possible for your injuries.
How Can A Buffalo Bicycle Accident Lawyer Help My Claim?
Oftentimes, the insurance company or the driver who was at fault will try to assign blame to the bicyclist. Their goal is to place at least a portion of the blame on the rider so that they are required to pay less money for the damages. In many cases, however, these claims are false and there is no evidence to back them up. Never allow an insurance provider or a driver to keep you from getting the money that you are owed.
In situations where you are partially at fault, it is especially important to work with a personal injury lawyer in Buffalo. With the help of your attorney, you can reduce the amount of blame that falls on your shoulders. Since New York is a comparative negligence state, you are still eligible for compensation even if you are partly at fault for the accident. The amount you receive for your damages, however, will be determined by the percentage of blame that you are assigned. Minimizing your role in the accident is the best way to get more money for your injuries.
The attorneys here at Cellino Law will work to dispute against any claims that you were to blame to ensure that you get as much money as possible for the injuries you sustained.