Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

More than 900,000 New Yorkers regularly ride a bike. The number of bike trips taken in the city in a day is around triple the number taken 15 years ago. Use of electric bikes has risen around the country and across the state. Electric bikes are battery powered “micro-mobility vehicles.” In conjunction with a rise in operation, there has been a push towards making sure there are safe dedicated space for operators. Unfortunately, the increased use of micro-mobility vehicles has led to injuries arising from their use going up 70% in the last four years according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If you were injured or a loved one died in an electric bike accident, you should discuss whether you have a basis for a claim with experienced White Plains personal injury lawyer Mark A. Siesel.

You should wear a helmet when riding an electric bike, e-scooter, or hoverboard. Head injuries and visits to the emergency room after an accident involving these micro-mobility vehicles are common. From 2017 – 2020, there were 190,000 E.R. visits in connection with riding them. While cars remain a primary danger to bicyclists and pedestrians, those riding the electric bikes and other micro-mobility vehicles face a real risk of injuries and deaths; an actress was killed in the city after being hit by an e-scooter.

The CPSC has found e-scooters have problems with fires and breaks. Some of the injuries and deaths are sustained by children riding these vehicles.

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A New York appellate court recently issued a decision in a case stemming from an accident between a bicyclist and a truck driver. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging personal injury damages after being struck and run over by the truck driver. She alleged that she was approaching an intersection and stopped at the red light next to the defendant’s truck. The plaintiff explained that the truck did not have a turn signal on, and when the light turned green, she went straight, and the truck made a right turn into her.

At trial, the defendant contended that when he approached the light, he turned his right turn signal on for about one minute and that he checked his mirrors before making the turn. He denied seeing the plaintiff or running her over. The defendant further argued, and the court agreed, that he was not required to continuously activate his turn signal because he was effectively “parked” at the red light. The court instructed the jury that the truck driver was not required to activate his turn signal at least 100 feet before making a turn. As such, the jury found that the defendant was not negligent. The plaintiff appealed the ruling arguing that the court erred in its jury instruction.

Under Vehicle and Traffic Law §1163, a motorist must activate their intention to turn continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.” The appellate court explained that the statute does not make an exception for vehicles stopped at red lights. Thus, contrary to the lower court’s ruling, the defendant’s truck was not “parked,” and he was bound by § 1163 of the traffic code. The court stated that the statute provides a specific standard of care and a violation amounts to negligence per se. As such, the court reversed the lower court’s judgment and found in favor of the plaintiff.

On September 18th, Jill Tarlov, 59, a married mother of two and former employee of WINS News, was crossing West Drive near West 63rd Street when she was struck by a bicyclist, 31 year old Jason Marshall.  Apparently, Marshall was travelling in excess of the 25 mph speed limit in Central Park, and swerved to avoid a group of pedestrians when he collided with Ms. Tarlov.  Marshall allegedly screamed “Get out of the way!” a couple of times before the tragic collision.  It is unclear who had the traffic light, but according to the New York Times, Marshall admitted during questioning that he was in the car lane, not the bike lane, when he struck Ms. Tarlov.  She struck her head on the roadway and suffered severe head injuries.

Ms. Tarlov was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and shortly thereafter, declared brain dead.  This past Monday, September 22, Ms. Tarlov died of her injuries.  The issue here is whether Central Park is safe for pedestrians in light of the large volume of pedestrians, runners, horse drawn carriages, cars, in-line skaters, and leisurely bikers who share the roadway with racing cyclists, who frequently violate the rules of the road with regard to speeding and disregarding traffic control devices. According to the Times, the police have issued 468 moving violations (speeding tickets, unsafe lane change, failing to yield to pedestrians, disregarding a stop sign or red light) to bicyclists so far in 2014.  Last year, by this date, there were only 151 summonses handed out by police for these infractions.

The fatal crash this month is only 45 days after another similar tragedy on August 3rd of this year.  On that date, 75 year old Irving Schacter, who was training for the 2014 New York City Marathon and was an avid cyclist himself, was struck by a 17 year old cyclist while he was jogging on the east park loop near East 72nd Street.  Mr. Schacter was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital with head trauma and died two days later.

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Bicycle riding is more popular than ever in the United States, and according to studies, is exceeded only by walking for exercise and swimming in popularity. Unfortunately, bicycling can be a very dangerous activity if common sense measures are not followed, for several reasons, but most significantly, due to many bicyclists sharing the roadways with motor vehicles. This fact is shown by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies, which indicate that there were 718 bicyclists killed in fatal accidents in 2008, and 630 in 2009.

The most dangerous time to ride a bicycle is between the hours of 4:00 PM and 7:59 PM. 70% of fatal bicycle accidents occur in urban areas, and a majority of accidents happen in non-intersections. Males are much more likely to be involved in fatal accidents as well as suffer serious injuries in bicycle crashes, with 82% of the total fatalities and 80% of injuries, according to NHTSA.

The following are the most important safety measures which bicyclists should follow to avoid serious injuries and death:

A. Wear a bicycle helmet. NHTSA reports that bicycle helmets are 85-88% effective in preventing fatal injuries and non-life threatening injuries;
B. Obey all traffic controls such as stop signs, traffic lights, and yield signs;

C. Bicyclists must comply with all rules of the road, including Section 1231 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, which states in relevant part: “Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles…Every person riding a bicycle …upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle by this title.”

D. Bicyclists should wear reflective and bright clothing at nights and use reflective devices on their bicycles to ensure that drivers see them;
E. Comply with Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1236 (a) and (e) by equipping their bicycles with a front white light that emits light 500 feet forward and a rear red or amber light which emits light 300 feet to the rear between the hours of 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise;
F. Bicyclists should never travel in the opposite direction of traffic on the roadway;
G. Bicyclists must always be aware of debris in the roadway, pedestrians, animals and weather conditions.

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