Biking through the streets of Rochester can be a harrowing experience. Drivers are usually focused on the cars around them, which means that they may not be paying attention to bicyclists. Because of their small size, bikes are more difficult to see on the road, increasing the likelihood of drivers overlooking them. The risk to cyclists is especially high when they are in the blind spot of a vehicle. Sometimes, drivers turn in front of bikes since it is difficult for them to determine exactly how fast cyclists are moving.
Even though it can be dangerous, cycling on the roadways is legal in Rochester, meaning that people on bikes are every bit as entitled to be on the road as people in cars. When accidents occur that involve cyclists, drivers may be held responsible if they were at fault.
The Rochester, NY bicycle accident lawyers at Cellino Law have handled countless injury cases. Our primary aim is to make sure that drivers are held accountable when they behave negligently. Schedule a free consultation today, call our Rochester, NY injury firm at (800) 555-5555.
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What Are Common Cause of Bicycle Accidents in Rochester?
Here are some common situations that cause bicycle accidents:
Failing to Yield When Turning
Before making a left-hand turn, drivers have a responsibility to verify that there is no oncoming traffic. This includes making sure that there aren’t any cyclists on the road. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always pay attention to people on bikes, resulting in serious accidents or collisions.
Before turning right, drivers should check their blind spot and look in their rearview mirror to ensure that there aren’t any cyclists to the right of their vehicle. Sadly, not all drivers take these steps, which can cause them to turn directly in front of a person on a bike. In some cases, drivers even try to beat the cyclist by driving quickly pass them and turning in front of them. Depending on how close they are, the cyclist may not have time to stop before they run into the vehicle.
Driving Across a Bike Lane
Bike lanes are designed to improve safety by providing a dedicated lane where people can ride. Sadly, many drivers disregard these lanes, crossing over into them. When this happens, severe accidents can occur.
Failing to Come to a Complete Stop at a Stop Sign
Rochester drivers don’t always stop all the way when they come to stop signs. Rather, they do what is known as a rolling stop, where they slow down and then continue through the intersection. This often results in collisions with bicyclists since they may not have time to see them.
Car Door Accidents
Drivers who aren’t paying attention may swing the door of their vehicle out into the roadway when they open it. Unfortunately, if someone on a bike is coming up behind them, they can easily collide with the door of the vehicle. This can cause serious injuries.
Driving Too Closely Behind a Cyclist
Drivers who get behind cyclists on the road sometimes pull up right behind them without leaving enough space. This is usually because they are in a hurry to get where they are going and they feel like the bicyclist is in their way. If the cyclist is forced to stop quickly, however, the driver may not have enough distance to stop in time before colliding with the bike.
Exiting an Alley, Cross Street, or Driveway
Drivers who are entering a roadway from an alley, driveway, or cross street may focus primarily on cars, overlooking any bicycles on the road.
Driving Too Quickly or Aggressively
Speeding and aggressive driving commonly lead to accidents. Bicyclists are involved in many of these accidents. Incidents like these often stem from road rage. If a bike is traveling too slow, drivers may respond by aggressively trying to pass them or following too close. This can result in serious, life-threatening accidents or injuries. Speeding is another common cause of vehicle accidents involving bicycles.
Anytime they are behind the wheel, drivers need to pay attention to the road. Unfortunately, modern devices like GPS units and smartphones have led to an increase in distracted driving, resulting in more collisions with bicyclists.
People who drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs not only have a harder time focusing on the road but their reaction time is negatively affected. This increases the likelihood of all types of accidents, including those involving bicyclists.
No matter how an accident occurs, vehicle collisions involving bicycles often result in life-altering injuries. If you got into an accident while riding your bike and sustained injuries, contact us today to set up a complimentary case evaluation. Once we have a chance to review the details of your case, we will advise you on the next steps that you should take to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Injuries Commonly Associated With Bicycle Accidents
Injuries commonly associated with bicycle accidents include:
Brain Injuries or Head Trauma
When a bike accident occurs, victims often experience head trauma as a result of their head striking the ground, the vehicle, or any other object that is located close by. Injuries like these can lead to concussions, skull fractures, or brain injuries. Sadly, injuries to the brain often result in permanent disabilities.
Spinal Cord Damage
Partial or full paralysis can occur if a rider’s spinal cord is injured in a bicycle accident.
Broken or Fractured Bones
Bicycle accidents frequently result in broken bones. Some of the most common breaks involve the collarbone or the lower body, including the hip, knee, ankle, foot, saddle, or pelvis. Facial bones can also become fractured if the rider’s face experiences any trauma.
Strains, Sprains, or Dislocations
The musculoskeletal system of an accident victim can be severely damaged. Strains, dislocations, and sprains are common. Fortunately, victims usually recover fully from injuries like these.
Problems With the Internal Organs
In collisions where the chest or abdomen of the bicyclist experiences impact, the internal organs can become damaged. Some of the most commonly injured organs include the spleen, pancreas, lungs, and bowels. Serious injuries like these are difficult to recover from and require a long time to heal. In some cases, they may even result in permanent damage.
Victims commonly experience abrasions, lacerations, contusions, bruises, or other injuries to their skin or soft tissue. Even though these types of injuries may seem mild, they can be extremely painful. Hospitalization is often required and victims frequently have to miss work while they heal.
Data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that bicyclists are involved in about 2% of traffic-related deaths. Accidents that result in death commonly involve the brain or internal organs. The risk of head injuries or brain damage can be reduced by wearing a helmet.
No matter how good a helmet is, however, serious injuries can still occur. The most effective way to reduce the number of deaths from accidents like these is for bicyclists and drivers to pay attention to what they are doing at all times and to always follow traffic laws.
New York Bicycle Laws
Most bicycle-related accidents are preventable. Reducing the number of accidents like these is as easy as encouraging drivers to follow the traffic laws of the state. Laws like these exist for a reason: they are there to improve the safety of the roadways and sidewalks in the state of New York.
When you obey these laws, anyone else on the road including bicyclists and pedestrians can more easily predict your next move. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of collisions. As long as you are following all of the state’s traffic laws, you don’t have to worry about being held liable if an accident occurs.
As a result, you may be able to get a higher settlement or be awarded a greater amount of compensation for your injuries. Some of the main laws governing bicycles in the state of New York include the following:
In New York, the law requires bicyclists and passengers under the age of 14 to wear helmets that meet both state and federal safety guidelines. New York Vehicle and Traffic Law stipulates in Section 1238 that not wearing a helmet doesn’t result in the assumption of fault or contributory negligence in the event of a collision. As a result, if someone under the age of 14 is involved in an accident and isn’t wearing a helmet, it won’t negatively impact their chances of getting compensation.
Locations for Riding
The law states that bicyclists have to ride with the flow of traffic, staying as close as possible to the right-hand side of the road. The only time they are allowed to move away from the right is if they are making a left-hand turn or if the right-hand side of the road has obstacles such as debris or garbage. People on bikes can ride next to one another if there are no vehicles next to them on the road. New York prohibits bicyclists from lane splitting.
This practice involves riding in between two traffic lanes. In Rochester, people on bicycles aren’t allowed to ride on the sidewalk unless there is an official sign stating otherwise. On roads where a bike lane is present, anyone riding a bicycle is required to use it.
New York doesn’t officially define bicycles as vehicles. As a result, there aren’t any laws governing the legality of riding a bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police officers can use their discretion when deciding whether or not to punish someone riding a bike while intoxicated. If an accident occurs when a cyclist is intoxicated, they may be held partly liable, reducing the amount of compensation they are owed.
Breaking a bicycle law in New York doesn’t automatically mean that you are responsible for the accident. Instead, New York relies on comparative negligence. In essence, they try to determine what percentage of the fault should be assigned to each party involved in the accident. Even if you are 99% at fault for what occurred, you can still go after compensation for any injuries that you sustained. Working with a qualified Rochester bicycle accident lawyer is the correct way to ensure that you are compensated, even if you were breaking a traffic law when the accident took place.
What Steps Should You Take After a Bicycle Accident in New York?
Trying to think clearly after a bicycle accident isn’t easy since accidents like these often result in severe physical and mental trauma. If you sustained injuries such as fractured or broken bones, lacerations, or a concussion, it may be even more difficult for you to stay focused. Familiarizing yourself with the steps that you should take after an accident before one occurs can improve the chances that you won’t overlook critical details. If you get into a bike accident in New York, follow the five steps below:
Call the Police
Any collision that results in more than $1,000 worth of injuries, property damage, or death needs to be reported to the police. Even if you aren’t sure if anyone was injured, it is still important to call 911. The responding officer will create a police report that officially documents the events that took place. This report will include the driver’s license plate number and contact information, as well as the contact details for any witnesses at the scene.
Don’t Take Responsibility for the Accident
The last thing that you should do is admit that you were at fault or say that you are sorry. Remember – the driver of the vehicle will most likely also state that they weren’t responsible. Even if they try to pin the blame on you, don’t get upset. The police will investigate to determine exactly what took place.
Provide the Police With Relevant Facts
When talking about the accident with the responding officer, don’t mention anything about who you believe was to blame. Instead, focus on the facts, stating exactly what took place. If you were injured in any way, make sure to describe your injuries, even if they seem minor.
Create Your Own Record of the Accident
To avoid forgetting important details about the accident, record as much as you can about the events while you are still at the scene. Take pictures of the bike, the vehicle, and the scene itself. Create a written record of the events, as well. If you were injured, photograph your injuries.
Get in Touch With an Attorney
If you were injured, contact an attorney at Cellino Law. We are experienced at dealing with accidents involving bicycles in the Rochester area and can advise you on what steps to take. Depending on your situation, that may mean negotiating a settlement with the insurance provider or filing a personal injury lawsuit. Our Rochester car accident lawyers work hard for you to help you get as much compensation as possible for your injuries.
Bicycle accidents are traumatic and can have life-changing consequences. After the accident, do your best to remain calm. Contact the police and try to document the events that took place. Reach out to a bicycle accident lawyer as soon as you can to discuss any legal issues related to your case. By hiring a qualified attorney to handle the legal aspects of the accident, you can focus on healing.
How Are Damages Calculated in a Bike Accident Claim in New York?
If the world was perfect, accidents involving bicycles would never take place. Unfortunately, though, these types of accidents do occur with surprising frequency. In New York, when bicycle accidents occur, one of the first questions to address is who is at fault. Figuring out which party was to blame for the accident is an important part of determining who is liable for the resulting expenses.
In accidents involving a bicycle in a vehicle, the cyclist almost always sustains much larger damages. Despite that, it doesn’t always mean that the driver was to blame. To determine who was at fault, read from a careful investigation needs to be conducted. That way, the responsible party can be held accountable.
A judge or jury may find that the cyclist was at least partially responsible for the accident. Examples of situations where the biker may be partly to blame include if they were riding their bike under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if they were riding on the wrong side of the road, or if they didn’t obey right-of-way laws. If you want to get the most compensation possible for your accident, you need to prove that someone else caused it.
The responsible party could include someone driving a vehicle, another cyclist, a government organization, or a company that made defective products. Legally speaking, it is complicated to prove that someone was not only to blame for the accident but that their actions were negligent.
Bike Accident Statistics
In 2016 in New York, 18 cyclists died as a result of accidents, while another 4,973 sustained injuries. Brooklyn had the highest rate of accidents and deaths out of all five boroughs. The most common type of accident involved collisions between bikes and vehicles at intersections. Accidents like these usually are caused by drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to someone on a bike. Sometimes, however, cyclists cause accidents by crossing streets illegally, disobeying traffic signs, or failing to ride safely. Collisions at intersections can only be avoided if everyone on the road follows the law when yielding the right-of-way.
Accidents also frequently take place when cars are performing left-hand turns. Drivers commonly cut in front of bicyclists when they are turning. Scenarios like these usually are the result of drivers failing to observe what is happening around them. Sometimes, however, drivers may think that bicyclists are moving slower than they are. People riding bikes can reduce the number of accidents like these that occur by increasing their visibility as much as possible. If they notice someone who is about to turn left, they should also be ready to brake quickly.
Cyclists should also try not to ride in the blind spot of a vehicle to reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring during a right-hand turn. The key to reducing the number of accidents is to always follow local traffic laws.
Riding a bike is a great way to stay in shape while also protecting the environment. Unfortunately, bicycling in traffic can be dangerous. Bicycle-related accidents commonly occur. Many of these accidents result in major injuries or death. In 2011, 48,000 cyclists were injured in accidents in the United States, while an additional 677 were killed. Annually, injuries from bicycling accidents account for close to 515,000 emergency room visits. In 2011, 6,076 accidents that involved bicycles occurred. These accidents resulted in nearly 6,000 injuries and 57 deaths.
Lately, bicycle accident fatalities are on the rise. Over 800 people lost their lives in accidents like these in the United States in 2012. Based on that statistic, more than two people die every day in accidents involving bikes and vehicles. According to the CDC, bicycle accident deaths are most likely to occur in people between the ages of 15 and 24 or over the age of 45. Every year, approximately 2% of the deaths related to traffic are associated with accidents involving bicycles.
If a bicycle accident in the Rochester area left you or someone you care about injured, contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys at Cellino Law have experience with accident cases involving bicycles. They can help you pursue compensation from the responsible party for your injuries.
Who Can Be Found Liable for a Bicycle Accident in New York?
After an accident, the first step is to thoroughly investigate what happened to determine how the accident was caused. In most cases, many factors contribute to an accident rather than a single cause. Blame may be shared by multiple parties, depending on what took place. If more than one person contributed to your accident, we can help you pursue compensation from every party that was to blame.
New York grants victims the right to seek compensation from anyone who was at fault for an accident. Any careless or negligent behavior on the part of the other party could entitle you to claim damages. Some of the parties that could be involved include:
- Other drivers on the road. This includes people driving commercial vehicles, buses, or any other type of vehicle
- Other people riding bikes
- Companies that manufactured defective cars, bikes, equipment, or parts
- If the accident was caused by someone driving a commercial vehicle, the driver’s employer
- Government entities
- Public transportation services
When you contact Cellino Law, our attorneys will carefully review your case to determine who was at fault. From there, we will help you seek compensation from anyone who was to blame. This helps maximize the amount of money that you receive for your damages and injuries.
What If the Other Party Says That You Were at Fault for the Accident?
Drivers and insurance providers often try to blame the person on the bicycle for accidents like these. They are hoping that a percentage of the blame will be assigned to the cyclist so that they don’t have to pay as much money. Often, however, claims like these are untrue and they don’t have any evidence to prove otherwise. Don’t let an insurance company or another driver prevent you from getting all of the compensation you deserve.
Even if you are partly to blame for the accident, a qualified Rochester, NY personal injury attorney at Cellino Law can help you get as much money as possible in your case. In New York, comparative negligence applies. In essence, that means that you can still get compensated for your injuries even if you are partially to blame for the accident. The amount of money you are compensated depends on the percentage of fault assigned to you. To increase the amount of money that you get, you need to reduce this percentage is much as possible.
Cellino Law’s attorneys will work hard to ensure that you get the biggest payout possible for your injuries by disputing any attempts to blame you for the accident.