According to NYC DOT, roughly 900,000 New Yorkers use bicycles regularly (with regularly meaning at least several times a month). The past decade has shown more than a 100 percent growth in daily cycling.
Bicyclists, no matter where they are, face unique dangers on the road. They are not afforded the protection that most vehicles offer; and even motorcyclists can move more quickly to escape danger than people on bicycles can. Some people sustain considerable losses during bike accidents; someone’s entire life can change in the blink of an eye because of a bicycle crash.
Bicycle Accidents in New York City
According to Aubri Juhasz of NPR’s All Things Considered, cycling deaths in New York City were already on the rise in 2014. The year before had just seen an all-time low in cyclist deaths. The takeaway? Safety on the road is never predictable.
The New York City Department of Transportation
NYC DOT has a website designed to share information about bicycling in New York City. Its mission is to improve cycling safety within the city.
- NYC DOT is promoting network growth for bicyclists in NYC
- Its goal is to provide a system of bicycle routes that connect all five boroughs
- It also seeks to create fine-grained networks of bike lanes in communities that already rely on biking as a mode of transportation
NYPD Says Bike Injuries Are up Almost 50 percent During the COVID-19 Pandemic
NYPD data demonstrate that bicycle injuries in New York are up 42.9 percent during the pandemic. More and more people throughout New York are working at home, so virtually every type of collision is now less frequent than it was a year ago—but cyclist injuries continue to rise. Drivers and pedestrians are both injured less frequently. Cyclists are the only ones whose safety on the road seems to suffer during the pandemic.
What Damages Can I Recover After A Bicycle Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, regardless of whether it took place in New York or New Jersey, you may recover damages.
A lawyer could help you pursue compensation for:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses associated with the accident
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Cost of a caregiver and/or rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement or disability
Some people believe that unless an injury put them out of work or was so severe that it forever changed their life, there’s no point in a legal case. This isn’t true. Many people who are involved in “minor” crashes with “minor” injuries still experience very difficult hardships. Someone could recover significant damages for a crash that they think is worthless.
Why Do People Ride Bikes?
There are lots of reasons that people choose to ride bicycles. Some opt for a bike for recreational purposes or a matter of preference—lots of people have fun on bikes. Some people use bicycles as alternatives to cars or public transport. They’re a fun, healthy, and environmentally friendly way to get out around town. Most people have every reason to hop on a bike and go exploring.
Are cities in New York and New Jersey doing their part to keep cyclists safe?
It depends on whom you ask. Lots of cities and states around the nation have made big moves to make biking easier for residents. New York and New Jersey, for example, have spent the past several years building new bike lanes to ensure people can explore city-wide by bicycle. Some places are even making their roadways more bike-friendly overall—but, despite all of these efforts, bicyclists still get into accidents.
Bike Accidents in New Jersey
If you’re in New Jersey and you’re riding a bike, there are some laws that you’re required to follow for your own safety. Bikes are legally considered their own vehicles. The good news is that, because of this, you’re afforded the same rights as other motorists when you’re on a bicycle. The more serious news is that you also have the same responsibilities as them.
You have equal rights to the road, but you also need to obey traffic laws.
- Title 39 of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations laws states that every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right roadside as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction
- If you are under 17, you must wear a safety helmet whether you are a bicycle rider or passenger; the helmet must be adequately fitted and fastened
Types of Bicycle Accidents
If you’re researching bicycle accident statistics, it will also be helpful to understand how and why some bicycle accidents happen. There are many types of bike accidents; our clients frequently come to us after experiencing…
A dooring occurs when someone who’s driving or otherwise occupying a vehicle opens their door into an oncoming cyclist’s path. It’s very dangerous for cyclists—some statistics indicate that up to 20 percent of bike accidents are doorings.
Doorings are dangerous because they startle bicyclists; they may also knock bicyclists into oncoming foot or vehicle traffic.
Accidents While Vehicles Turn; Intersection Accidents
Two kinds of bicycle accidents usually occur when someone in a car tries to make a turn:
- Left-hook accidents occur when
- Right-hook accidents occur when drivers and bicyclists travel in the same direction. If a driver moves to make a right turn without looking first, he or she can run into the bicyclist. Right hook accidents are also common in instances where drivers try to overtake cyclists intentionally to turn.
Accidents Caused by Drivers Under the Influence
Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol are responsible for lots of injurious and fatal accidents every year. Bicyclists are not the only ones who suffer because of these drivers, but they are at risk of being injured while on the road. Many drivers who are under the influence also begin to express other dangerous behaviors like aggressive driving. If one of those drivers injures you, you may have a legal case against him or her, as well as the establishment that overserved them.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Every bicycle accident is different. Some people suffer very serious—even life-threatening—injuries during bike crashes. Other people may survive with “only” a minor fracture or some road rash. Even though none of these injuries should ever be underestimated, there are different degrees of crash and injury severity.
Bicyclists can sustain injuries from direct impact with vehicles, or they may be injured when they fall or strike other objects.
Some common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Contusions and strains
- Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions
- Neck and back injuries
- Abrasions and lacerations or road rash
What if My Loved One Was Killed in a Bicycle Accident?
Sometimes, bicycle accidents cause more than just injuries. Innocent people can and do die in bike crashes every day; and if your loved one has passed away because of a bicycle accident, you may seek justice. Many accident lawyers also practice wrongful death law. You can consult with one of these lawyers to bring a wrongful death case on behalf of your loved one.
You may recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of benefits
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Punitive damages
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
What Should I Do if I Am Hurt in a Bicycle Accident?
If you’re hurt in a bicycle accident, you should put your safety and health first. If you can, you should try to help other people in the accident to ensure their safety as well.
Your next steps will depend on the nature of your crash. Usually, it’s a good idea to phone local authorities (even if it’s a non-emergency line) so that a police officer can come to the scene and take down an accident report. You can fill out an accident report after your crash, too, but an officer-completed report is valuable in court.
You need to visit your doctor as soon as possible after a bicycle accident. Even if you were treated in the hospital, your own personal care provider should get updated on what happened and examine you to see how you’re healing. He or she may also detect delayed symptoms that were missed previously. If you didn’t receive medical attention right after your accident, then visit your doctor to make sure you’re okay.
Who Is Liable for My Bicycle Accident?
Nobody can tell you, for certain, who could be held liable for your bike accident. You’ll need to speak to an experienced legal professional to get their opinion on your case.
With that said, liability in bike accident cases depends on who caused the accident. Usually, bicyclists don’t cause accidents; liability very often falls to other motorists who don’t understand how to safely share the road with people on bicycles. Drivers may violate traffic laws or take other measures that put you at risk; and if they hurt you, they may be held legally liable for what happened to you.
Sometimes bicycle accident liability can also fall to a government agency (like local or state government). This is not as common, but it does sometimes happen when a person is injured in a bicycle accident due to dangerous road conditions. Very narrow lanes, improper road signage, potholes, road debris, and more are all the government’s responsibility to fix.
If your accident was caused by a defective bike, then liability for the crash could fall to the bicycle manufacturer. Try to find a lawyer who focuses on motorcycle accidents and product liability if this is you.
Choosing a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you need a bicycle accident lawyer to help you with the legal process, you’re not alone. There are some steps you can take to help increase the chances that the lawyer you select is skilled, reliable, and has your best interests at heart.
The Benefits of Working With a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The legal field is murky—for understandable reasons, many people aren’t sure if they want to work with a lawyer to pursue justice after they’ve been hurt.
We’re here to clear things up: there are notable benefits to hiring a bike accident attorney after your crash:
- If you are a bicyclist (or the family member of a bicyclist) who was injured in a bike accident, you might recover compensation
- Compensation may include reimbursement for lost wages, healthcare, rehabilitation costs, and more
- A lawyer will help you pursue these damages, and perhaps other compensation you don’t know about
- A lawyer will help you collect, organize, and document evidence in a way that proves your innocence
- Many attorneys bring in industry experts from other sectors (like bike manufacturers or traffic experts) to help strengthen their clients’ cases
- Reputable bike accident lawyers will work on a contingency fee basis, which means that their clients don’t pay for services unless a case wins or settles.
Choose a Local Attorney
It’s very tempting to partner up with huge law firms that boast about winning huge amounts of money for clients across the country. The truth is, however, you’ll probably be much better served by someone who’s local to you. Contact a lawyer in your area understand the laws that pertain to your case. They have more time to dedicate to you; you’ll get direct attention when you need it the most.