Bicycles are being used more and more for a common means of transportation. Bicycles, like motorcycles, offer very little in terms of protection from hazards confronting them. This often leads to severe and catastrophic injuries to bicyclists. The majority of bicycle accidents in New York involve contact with a motor vehicle that fails to yield the right of way at intersections, unexpected turns into the path of a bicyclist or making left turns into the path of oncoming bicyclists or when an automobile that tries to overtake or pass a bicyclist and misjudges the distance needed to pass. Bicycle accidents often occur when motor vehicles, including trucks and buses, fail to share the road for any bicyclist off the road or collides with the bicyclist.
Bicycle accident also occur due to road conditions; pot holes, roadway design, roadway maintenance, poor road and path conditions, road debris and maintenance problems. Another common situation is when a motorist opens a car door without looking in the bicyclists' path.
Bicyclists must observe the same rules of the road and the same rights of motor vehicle operators pursuant to New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1231. A bicyclist is considered a pedestrian under the No-Fault Law in New York State and is entitled to no-fault coverage if the bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle. The No-Fault Law provides for payment of medical bills and lost wages up to $50,000 for a basic auto policy.
Bicyclists are also subject to various helmet laws under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1238. A child under one year of age is prohibited from being a passenger of a bicycle. Passengers and operators under 14 years of age are required to wear protective headgear. An article in the New England Journal of medicine states that wearers of bicycle helmets had an 85% reduction in their risk of head injury and 88% reduction in their risk of brain injury.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that bicyclists comprised of 2% of all fatal crashes in 2009, 70% of all bicycle fatalities occurred in urban areas. Men are more likely to die in bicycle accidents than women. Out of 82% of fatal accidents, 80% of those injured involved men. The NHTSA also reported that bicyclists' most dangerous time to ride is between 4:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. New York had the fourth most fatal accidents in the United States with 29 fatalities in 2009, following Florida 107, California 99 and Texas 48.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, it is import to retain an attorney with knowledge and experience to maximize compensation for your injuries. The law firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC represent bicyclists in all five boroughs of New York City and Westchester, Orange, Rockland and Putnam Counties. Contact us at (914) 288-080 or toll free at (800) 727-7084.