Bicycle Accidents on the Rise in New York

As bicycling becomes the preferred mode of transportation for more and more people, a corresponding rise in the number of bicycle accidents has been noted in New York. In addition to being a popular recreational activity, many companies use bicyclists to make deliveries. Bike share programs have also gained traction in recent years, allowing people to rent a bike from one station and return it to another. All of these factors have contributed to the increase in the number of dangerous collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles.

During the last quarter of 2011, there were a total of 754 accidents involving bikes and cars, resulting in three deaths and 755 injuries, according to the NYPD.

In the fourth quarter of 2011 over 3,600 pedestrians were injured or killed in collisions with cars and there were almost 10,300 fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents. Although the number of bike accidents was still far below motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents, lawmakers are concerned about the expected rise in bicycle accidents as more people take to the roads on two wheels.

In addition, some experts assume the number of bicycle accidents is actually far higher than what is reported. One lawmaker is encouraging anyone who witnesses a bicycle-automobile accident to report it to the authorities, to ensure appropriate legislation is passed to protect both motorists and bicyclists.

In fact, experts estimate that possibly as few as 10 percent of all bicycle accidents across the country are reported to law enforcement officers. In 2010, there were 618 bicyclist fatalities across the U.S. and another 52,000 injuries.

Liability after a New York bicycle accident

Both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists are responsible for following traffic laws while on the road. When a collision between the two occurs, one or both parties can be found liable for the damage. This is also true in collisions involving a bicyclist crashing into a pedestrian.

Drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care while on the road, although the standard is slightly higher for motorists driving by children on bicycles. Children are not expected to be as cautious as adults when riding bicycles. Consequently, motorists must be particularly vigilant in areas where children are likely to be riding bikes, such as parks and schools.

In some cases, contributory negligence may result in the bicyclist being liable for the accident. For instance, if the bicyclist failed to adhere to traffic signals resulting in an accident, he or she will likely be held at least partially responsible. And where bicyclists fail to follow applicable traffic laws and injure a pedestrian, like car drivers, they too may be held accountable. Frequently, bicyclists are covered by insurance for the injuries they cause.

When a bicyclist is injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, the consequences can be far-reaching. If you have been injured in such an accident, consulting with a skilled New York personal injury attorney will ensure just compensation is received.