Many New Yorkers do not drive due to congested traffic and expensive parking; instead, they walk and bike to their destinations. Alternative transportation is beneficial for residents and the state of New York. However, bicyclists and pedestrians remain at risk. Reported injuries from bicycle accidents have increased in recent years. According to the New York Police Department’s bicycle crash report in 2015, 1,652 and 55 bicyclists suffered injuries from accidents that involved motor vehicles in Brooklyn and Staten Island. In 2018, 1,725 bicyclists were injured inaccidents that involved motor vehicles.
New York Traffic Laws on Bicyclists
Bicyclists are afforded the same rights as other motorists and must abide by many of the same New York vehicle and traffic laws. For example, they must come to a complete stop at stoplights and stop signs, alert other motorists while turning, and yield to those with the right-of-way. In return, drivers must exercise caution to avoid collision with bicyclists; warning bicyclists by using their horn may be necessary.
Passing and Right-of-Way Rules
Bicycle accidents often occur when a driver or a cyclist failed to use the right-of-way rule at an intersection. Bicyclists may falsely assume that they always have the right-of-way because they are considered a pedestrian under the law; however, this is not always the case. The normal rules of the road still apply to bicyclists.
Bicycles are considered vehicles. If a bicyclist and a motor vehicle approach an intersection with no traffic signal, the one that arrives first has the right-of-way. If a driver wants to pass a bicycle moving in the same direction, they must pass to the left from safe distance.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents typically occur when someone was not paying attention or was not following the rules of the road. Some common types of bicycle accidents include:
- distracted driving accidents
- dooring accidents
- drunk driving accidents
- intersection crashes
- rear-end collisions
- speeding accidents
Common Bicyclist Injuries
Sadly, drivers do not always take extra precautions when sharing the road with bicycles. When bicyclists get into accidents with motor vehicles, they often suffer serious or even fatal injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries bicyclists sustain in accidents include:
- broken bones
- internal bleeding
- musculoskeletal injuries
- road rash
- spinal injuries
- traumatic brain injury (TBI)
No-Fault Benefits for Injured Bicyclists
Those who are injured in bicycle accidents may be eligible for compensation. New York’s no-fault insurance system allows injured parties to file a claim with their own insurance; it does not matter who is at fault for the accident. Personal injury protection (PIP), medical treatment, and other out-of-pocket costs from the accident are covered. However, nonmonetary damages such as pain and suffering are not available.
Serious Injury Exception
Seriously injured bicyclists may be able to collect nonmonetary damages by pursuing a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the accident. The following are serious injuries:
- Bone fracture
- Permanent limitation of an organ, member, function, or system
- Serious disfigurement
- Substantial disability for 90 days
Uninsured Motorist Protection
Bicyclists who are hit by drivers who have no insurance may be able to file uninsured motorist protection from their insurance company. If coverage is denied, the accident was a hit and run, or the injured party is unable to collect under their policy, a file may be claimed with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
Brooklyn Car Accident Lawyers at Eaton and Torrenzano Represent Bicycle Accident Victims
If you were injured or you lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Our knowledgeable Brooklyn car accident lawyers at Eaton and Torrenzano will fight for you to obtain the compensative you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 718-332-7766 for a free consultation regarding your case. Located in Brooklyn, New York, we also serve clients in Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Kings County, Richmond County, and Hillsborough, New Jersey.