NEW YORK BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER | Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you should call a New York City bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible following the crash.
Bicycle Laws in New York Explained by
Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter a NYC Bike Accident Lawyer
New York City, NY , Feb. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In this PR New York Bicycle Accident Lawyer Jonathan C. Reiter explains the law and the steps to take after a New York Bicycle Injury
Unfortunately, motorists don’t always watch out for cyclists in New York City. In other cases, drivers blatantly ignore a bicyclist’s rights and imperil their safety.
Bicycling is a popular way to get around in the city. It’s affordable and often much faster than driving or hopping in a cab. Cycling is also good for the environment, as well as a great way to fit some exercise into your day.
However, cyclists are vulnerable when they have to navigate busy city streets and share the road with the heavy traffic in the city. In 2019, for example, there were over 3,800 motor vehicle collisions in New York City involving a bicyclist where the cyclist was seriously injured or killed. While this was a three percent decrease from 2018, cycling deaths and injuries remain high.
There are certain precautions you can take to maintain your safety. It’s also important to know what to do immediately after being injured in a bicycle accident in New York.
How Popular Is Bicycling?
Cycling is growing in popularity, and the trend spans generations. While cycling is sometimes seen as a young person’s mode of transportation, bicycles predate cars and have been popular since the 1890s.
In fact, bicycle sales have outpaced motor vehicle sales in just about every year since 2003. Part of this trend could be due to people being more environmentally conscious. In addition, fluctuating gas prices and the high cost of parking a car in the city could be persuading more people to make the switch to two wheels instead of four.
As the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement, there has also been a surge in bicycle sales among older adults. Today’s seniors are far more active than elders in previous generations, and cycling is a gentler form of exercise than jogging or other high-impact activities.
Bicycle Laws in New York
One of the ways to keep yourself safe on a bicycle is to know the laws that govern cycling. While you can’t control what motorists do, you can take steps to ensure you stay as safe as possible.
- Bicyclists in New York are required to adhere to the same traffic regulations as drivers in motor vehicles. Police officers can ticket a bicyclist just as they can a driver.
- Children under the age of 14 must wear a helmet. In addition, certain community rules may impose stricter requirements.
- Cyclists are required to signal that they’re making a turn when they are riding on a road, bike path, bike lane, or path that is marked for both bicycle and vehicle traffic.
- Bicyclists have the right to share the road with motor vehicles with the exception of highways. However, cyclists should use bike lanes when they can. In the absence of a bike lane, cyclists should stay toward the right side and edge of the road.
- The law requires cyclists to ride with traffic rather than riding against it.
- Cyclists riding in groups should stay in single file formation, although they can ride with two cyclists side by side in the absence of traffic. Cyclists are prohibited from riding with more than two people side by side.
- Pedestrians have the right of way and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians.
- Cyclists should equip their bike with a bell or horn, as well as a headlight and taillight.
Top Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen for a number of reasons, but some types of collisions are more common than others. Knowing which kinds of accidents are more likely to happen can help you take steps to avoid being involved in a crash.
- Intersection accidents – Intersections are a common location for bicycle accidents to occur. When drivers are turning or merging with traffic, they can get distracted and fail to see an approaching cyclist. On streets that have bike lanes, motorists making turns at an intersection may fail to see that a cyclist is approaching the intersection in the bike lane intending to go straight. In this situation, the driver could negligently turn into the path of the cyclist causing a collision.
- Getting “Doored” while riding next to parked cars- Even riding down a line of parked cars can be dangerous, as this can lead to a dooring accident where a motorist opens their door unexpectedly and strikes the cyclist. Motorists are obliged to look carefully before opening a door, especially if the door is facing the travel portion of the roadway. “Dooring” a cyclist is a violation of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law and is regarded as negligence by the motorist and/or their passenger.
- Drivers failing to respect bike lanes-Drivers who are stopped behind a vehicle waiting to turn across oncoming traffic may be tempted to go around the cars in front by going into a bike lane. This is both illegal and highly dangerous to a cyclist who may be approaching in the bike lane and is suddenly confronted with a car pulling out and striking the cyclist. Drivers also may illegally park in a bike lane, obstructing a cyclist who is obliged to go around them and into the main portion of the travelled roadway, leading to a collision with an approaching vehicle.
- Parking lot accidents – Parking lots involve motorists pulling in and out of spaces, and they might not always be aware of a cyclist riding behind or around them, causing a collision.
Who Is Responsible for a Bicycle Accident in New York?
When a bicycle accident occurs, the individual who caused the accident is liable for paying damages to the person who was hurt in the crash.
If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident, you are the plaintiff. The person who caused the accident and your injuries is called the defendant, and they are the liable or responsible party in the case.
The amount of compensation, which is also called damages, you can collect varies from case to case. For example, you may be entitled to recover money for your medical bills and time off work, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering and emotional trauma you experienced.
When someone causes a bicycle accident because they weren’t doing what they were supposed to do, such as drive safely, they are called negligent. Acting negligently means failing to satisfy a duty of care. On the open road, everyone using the road has a general duty of care not to endanger others.
Comparative Fault in New York
If you were injured in a bicycle accident in New York, you should be aware of a component of the law called comparative fault. This law provides that the injured person, known as the plaintiff, could bear some responsibility for the accident.
If the court determines the plaintiff was also negligent in some way, the court can reduce the plaintiff’s damages. The court would lower the amount of the compensation by whatever percentage of fault the plaintiff contributed to the crash. For example, if you were involved in a bicycle accident and the court determines the driver was 80 percent at fault and you were 20 percent at fault, the court would reduce your damages by 20 percent.
Steps to Take After a New York City Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bicycle accident in New York City, it’s important to protect your rights. You can do this by taking several steps following a crash.
- Get medical help – Even if you feel like your injuries aren’t that serious, you should still seek medical treatment, as some injuries don’t immediately show symptoms. When your adrenaline is pumping after an accident, it can sometimes take time for the pain to kick in. Your health should be your top priority.
It’s also important to document any injuries with a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident. If you delay getting treatment, the insurance company may try to argue your injuries weren’t caused by the accident.
- Contact the police – You should also document the accident with the police. This report is important for establishing the date and time of the accident, as well as the parties involved.
- Get witness information – If there were any eyewitnesses to your accident, you should gather their name and contact information. Look around to see if any bystanders, other motorists or cyclists, or business owners saw the crash.
People’s memories can fade quickly, so it’s a good idea to get their statements as soon as possible after the accident. This is also why it’s important to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can following a bicycle accident. An experienced New York City bicycle injury lawyer can work quickly to contact witnesses and gather their statements.
In many cases, it’s also possible to obtain surveillance video of an accident. A growing number of businesses and even private residents have security cameras or even doorbell cameras. In some cases, these cameras capture a crash, which can be valuable evidence in a personal injury case.
However, some of these videos are automatically deleted or overwritten after a certain period of time, so you want to act fast to preserve them if you believe someone might have a video of your accident.
- Get the motorist’s information – You will also want to take down the name and information of the motorist, just the same way you would if you were involved in a crash while driving a vehicle. You should obtain the identifying information about the car as well, including the license plate number and make and model of the car.
- Take photos and video – These days, most people have a smartphone when they go out. You can use your phone to take photos and video of the accident site, the car involved, and your injuries. You should document as much as possible, even if you think it won’t be relevant in your case. You can also take photos any tire marks on the road, as well as property damage and anything else that captures the scene at the time of the crash.
- Contact a NYC bicycle accident attorney – You should get in touch with a New York City bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible following a collision.
Discuss Your Case with a NYC Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle accidents can be fatal, and/or cause catastrophic injuries, including broken bones, internal damage, and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can leave accident victims with years of medical bills, therapy, physical disability and emotional trauma that can linger for a long time. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you should call: >> Jonathan C. Reiter a New York City bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible following the crash. >> 212-736-0979
No one should have to shoulder the burden of harm caused by another person’s negligence without receiving fair compensation for a wrongful death of a loved one or catastrophic injuries, pain and suffering that they sustain. Protect your right to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries by speaking to a New York City bicycle accident lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC >> Personal Injury Attorney – New York City, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, NY 212-736-0979
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.
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