Bicycling in New York City can be intimidating. With taxis, commercial vehicles, cars and pedestrians clogging up the streets, biking in the city comes with unique risks.
Some of the most common hazards you will encounter while riding your bicycle:
Car doors opening:
You are probably already familiar with the term “dooring.” This is, unfortunately, a rather common occurrence in the New York City. Drivers and their passengers often do not remember to look to see if there are bicycles coming when they open their doors. Getting doored can result in very serious or even catastrophic injuries.
There are actually laws regarding dooring in the New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law. According to Section 1214, no person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of the vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
What this law means is that drivers can be held liable for injuries to bicyclists as a result of them suddenly and without warning opening their vehicle door. Drivers must always check and see if the door zone is clear before opening their car door.
Potholes riddle the streets of New York City. With all the heavy commercial trucks and harsh weather, the roads take a beating. Bicycle riders must always stay alert for potholes and other potential road hazards, such as street gratings and manholes. While these types of road defects may not be serious enough to damage a vehicle, they can definitely present a very serious threat to bicyclists.
The most important things you can do after being involved in a bicycle accident caused by a defect in the roadway is to document the road hazard that caused it. The best way to do this is by taking pictures, from a few different angles, of the manhole, street grating or pothole, so that you have some evidence to use in your injury claim. Photos should be close up so as to see the defect in detail, as well as further away so as to place the defect in its position relative to an address or location. This is also important because in some cases, the City or other entity might repair the defect before your case is even started.
You may be able to file an injury lawsuit against The City of New York or other municipal authority, or a utility company such as Consolidated Edison.
The New York law provides that anyone who owns, operates or maintains a section of the road, sidewalk or crosswalk is responsible for abiding by 11 RCNY 2-14, § 2-07 and other sections concerning the proper maintenance and repair of public roadways and may bear responsivity for your injury.
Trucks and buses
When bicycle riders ride around in New York City, they will end up encountering various commercial trucks and buses. They must not assume that the drivers of these vehicles see them as trucks and buses have huge blind spots and may also not always be as mindful as they should be.
Vehicles ignoring traffic control devices
Trucks, buses and cars at times proceed through stop signs and red lights or “jump” the yellow lights. Bicycle riders must not assume that the drivers of motor vehicles will see them to avoid striking them.
New York City can be a hectic place to ride a bicycle. It is up to the bicyclist to be aware at all times and avoid all the road defects and motor vehicles.
At Jaroslawicz & Jaros we have successfully represented many Plaintiffs that were injured while riding their bicycle:
A young man whose bicycle tire suddenly got stuck in the concrete slot where the weather stripping was missing which caused him to go flying over the handlebars.
A young man was riding in the bicycle lane when a woman who had parked her car suddenly opened her door causing him to go flying over the handlebars.
A man who was riding in the bicycle lane when a van suddenly pulled out of a parking space and sideswiped him causing him to fall.
A delivery driver on his electric bike in the bike lane was struck in the rear by an SUV causing him to go flying over the handlebars.
A man riding his bicycle lost control when he hit a twig causing him to go flying over the handlebars and hitting the ground with his head. Although he was wearing a helmet, he still suffered brain damage and a successful suit was filed against the helmet manufacturer.
These are just a few examples of cases we at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have successfully handled. The lesson to be learned is that if you get into an accident on your bike, you could suffer a very significant injury which injuries have included fractured hips, wrist, shoulder, knees and many other body parts.
If you or a loved one were injured in a Bicycle Accident that has resulted in a serious physical injury and are in need of legal assistance, call the experienced lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros to find out if you are entitled to compensation.