Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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Bike lanes in InwoodIn Upper Manhattan bicyclists are now protected from dangerous accidents by a new bike lane on Dyckman Street. The bike lane was installed last December. It connects the Hudson River and East River Greenways (see map).  It took nine years for the Inwood residents to get the NYC Department of Transportation to install a parking-protected bike lane where the traffic is heavy, as painted bike lanes where the traffic is lighter and sidewalk extensions to reduce crossing distance for pedestrians and slow down traffic. However, few months after its installation, the bike lane is now threatened by local politicians. Adriano Espaillat and Gale Brewer  don’t seem to care about bicycle accident prevention. They are asking the DOT to remove the bike lane and to install it two blocks North on 204th Street.

Dyckman Street is a very lively commercial street and the bike lane is not only protecting the delivery staff working at the many restaurants located on the street but also cyclists who are touring Manhattan and may want to make a pit stop between the two Greenways. Forcing bicyclists to go a few blocks away may result in confusion and additional bike accidents. 

In a recent meeting, small business owners also complained to City Council member Ydanis Rodríguez about the bike lane. They said the bike lane prevented clients from parking in front of their businesses and made it difficult for suppliers to deliver merchandise. They also said the bike lane was creating traffic congestion.

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bicycle accident locationA bicyclist died in a hit and run accident near Laguardia Airport in New York City. After reviewing surveillance videos, the Police now believe that the victim was hit by a shuttle bus.

36 year old Steven Morales was pedaling on Runway Drive near Laguardia Airport around 7:00 pm when he was mowed down by a vehicle that never stopped. The emergency crew gave him CPR and rushed him to a nearby hospital but he couldn’t be saved.

Runway drive which is an access road to Laguardia Airport was shut down for a few hours for investigation purposes. The police also searched surveillance camera and were able to find the shuttle and the driver who allegedly hit the cyclist. The driver denied hitting anyone. He wasn’t arrested. According to the police the bicyclist may have been hit by the rear wheel of the shuttle bus.

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Auto accident deaths NYC 2017In 2017, 102 pedestrians, 20 cyclists, 24 passengers and 63 drivers died in auto accidents in New York City compared to respectively 134, 18, 17 and 54 in 2016.

According to the traffic collision data released monthly by the NYPD, a total of 209 people died in traffic accidents in 2017 compared to a total of 223 in 2016 and 286 in 2013 before Vision Zero was launched. This is the lowest number of motor vehicle accident fatalities ever recorded since the city started to create statistics in 1910.

The decline in traffic fatalities is mostly due to the decline in pedestrian deaths that went down by 39% from 168 in 2013 before Vision Zero to 102 in 2017. During that same time fatal bicycle accidents almost doubled going from 11 to 20. Passenger deaths stayed almost stable from 23 to 24 and motorists fatalities declined by 25%.

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New York Personal Injury Lawyer Howard Hershenhorn
Our partner, NYC Personal Injury Attorney Howard Hershenhorn and his team including Christopher Donadio and Anthony Gair have filed notices of claim against the City of New York, the Hudson River Park Trust and the State of New York for more than $600 million on behalf of 20 individuals who were either fatally struck or injured during the terror attack that occurred on October 31, 2017. The attack occurred on the Hudson River Greenway, a popular Manhattan bike path along the Hudson River.  Our personal injury law firm represents the families of 7 of the 8 bicyclists who were killed by the terrorist, as well as 13 individuals who were injured. Our clients include families and individuals from Argentina, Belgium and New York.

Our New York personal injury lawyers believe that authorities failed to “to implement measures and precautions to prevent vehicles from intentionally entering the bicycle path despite the fact that it was foreseeable”. It was foreseeable, based on various prior incidents, including the death of Eric Ng who was killed by a driver on the same bike path in 2006.  In addition, following Mr. Ng’s death, multiple studies have shown that necessary precautions were needed to prevent motor vehicles from driving on the Hudson River Greenway bike path. Also, for the past ten years, safety advocates have been asking for the installations of steel bollards and other safety measures to prevent cars and other motor vehicles from driving on the bike lane. The City of New York, Hudson River Park Trust and State of New York were presented with detailed plans to prevent collisions between cars and cyclists on the bike path. Unfortunately, no action was taken.

In 2010, the Department of Homeland Security, in light of concerns that terrorist groups using vehicles to ram innocent people, issued a warning to the City of New York and State of New York about the need to secure public pedestrian and public bicycle areas from motor vehicles. Again, despite this warning, no action was taken.

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A 13 year old boy died in a bicycle accident in New York City last Friday. Kevin Flores, was fatally struck by an unlicensed truck driver at the intersection of Jefferson Ave and Lewis Ave last Friday a little bit before 6 pm. Emergency responders found Kevin lying on the road with critical head trauma. He was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved. The driver of the oil truck, 28 year old Philip Monfoletto of Deer Park, Long Island, NY, drove for one block before someone told him he had hit the cyclist. The police found out that not only Monfoletto was driving with a suspended license, it was the seventh time that Monfoletto’s license had been suspended. Monfoletto was also arrested several times including once for driving with a suspended license and also for marijuana possession as well as stabbing someone in the arm.

Monfoletto was driving an oil truck belonging to M&M Oil, an owner-operated company with a single vehicle and registered at Monfoletto’s home address. It is extremely concerning that Monfoletto was able to continue to operate an oil truck despite his history.  (Read more in NYC Streetblog)

In a press conference on Sunday, Brooklyn Borough Presidents Eric Adams and City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Robert Cornegy Jr. called for tougher criminal penalties for unlicensed drivers and the companies that hire them. In New York drivers who are busted with a suspended license receive a fine of $450 if it is the first time, $750 if it is the second time and $1,500 if it is the third time.  Currently, it is only a felony for drivers if they have 10 suspensions on their licenses  According to Adams these laws are just a complete mockery. They are antiquated and do not fit the actual times. The Brooklyn Borough president is urging Mayor de Blasio to explore regulatory actions to improve the situation. (Read more in the NY Daily News).

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15 people died and 5,450 were injured in 19,983 auto accidents in New York City in October. October is usually a bad month for car accidents in the city. As shown in the graphs below the total number of accidents was above the trend line in October.  The monthly number of traffic injuries was also the second highest number ever recorded in the city. The highest number of crash injuries was 5,557 last May. While the total number of crashes and related injuries have been steadily growing over the years, the number of people dying in crashes declined since 2013 when Vision Zero was launched. The number of people dying in car accidents went from 35 in October 2013 to 25 in October 2014, 26 in October 2015, 14 in October 2016 and 15 this last October. In 4 years fatal crashes declined by more than 50%. Additionally for the last two years the number of traffic deaths was below the trend line for the month of October while in the past it was always above it during this specific month.

car accidents injuries and deaths NYC October 2017
Despite all the Vision Zero efforts, crash injuries are on a rising trend.  Since last May their monthly number stayed above 5,000. Motorist injuries are the main cause of this rising trend. While in October 2013 motorist injuries accounted for less than a third of the total number of injuries, four years later they account for almost half of them. On the other hand, passenger injuries have been declining over the last four years. Distracted driving is suspected to be a factor. When drivers are alone in their cars they maybe more tempted to use their electronic equipment than when they travel with passengers.

crash injuries New York City October 2017
The number of monthly deadly crashes in New York City stayed below 25 for more than a year. It is the first time that the number of monthly fatal accidents stayed below 25 for that long. The highest number was 24 in June followed by 22 in September. The last time this number was above 25 was in June, 2016 when 29 people died in car accidents in the city. The city speed reduction from 30 mph to 25 mph may have been a factor in the recent decrease in fatal crashes.

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A cyclist died from his injury after he was struck by a car in New York City. The accident occurred on November 17 around 2:40 pm. 84 year old Yau-Teg Fung, of Queens was riding his bike on Albertson Street near Fleet Street when he collided with a car driven by an 80 year old woman. He suffered a massive head injury after being thrown off his bike. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He died from his injuries after 10 days of hospitalization. The police told the NY Daily News that the driver had stopped at a stop sign and she was in the intersection when the cyclist hit her rear door. No criminal charges were filed.

 

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A 14 year old cyclist died after being struck by a car in NYC Saturday a little before 6:pm. Edwin Ajacalon from Guatemala was working as a delivery boy for a local restaurant. He was crossing Fifth Ave in Greenwood when he was hit by a BMW. According to the NY Daily News, the BMW had the green light.

A surveillance video shows the car slamming into the bicyclist at full speed. A witness said he saw the cyclist going up in the air and falling onto the windshield. The witness also said the car then continued on its way dragging the boy down the block. An off duty cop saw the scene and was able to block the BMW with his own car forcing the driver to stop. Both the cyclist and the BMW driver were transported to the hospital.Edwin Ajacalon died from his injuries. He arrived in Brooklyn a year ago. His parents are too poor to come to the US to reclaim his body. Edwin was sharing a bedroom with five other delivery boys and was sending money to his parents in Guatemala. The driver of the BMW was cooperating with the police.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN4lGT-Ghis

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Stanton and Ridge where the truck hit the cyclistA cyclist suffered serious personal injury after she was struck by a dump truck in New York on Wednesday night. The bicyclist, a 50 year old registered nurse was riding her bike on Ridge Street in the Lower East Side when she was run over by the truck. The dump truck, a dump Master 10-wheeler was making a right turn from Stanton Street onto Ridge Street when  it hit the cyclist. According to the NY Daily News, the victim was run over by the truck’s front wheels. A medical student who was visiting from Dallas heard the noise of the crash and the nurse screaming. He ran to the rescue. Both her legs were stuck under the wheel but she was still conscious. The medical student identified as Sam Ahn stayed with the victim and comforted  her until the emergency crew arrived. She was rushed to the hospital in serious condition. She may loose a leg according to the police. The truck driver, 45 year old Juan Cosme, stayed at the scene of the accident. The police found out that he was driving with a suspended license. They took him into custody and charged him with driving with a suspended license.

Picture: location of the bicycle accident, courtesy of Google Map

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police car obstructing bike path creates additional risks of bicycle accidentsSecurity measures on the Greenway are creating unnecessary risks of bicycle accidents. In response to last week’s terror attack, the NY state DOT and the NYPD have installed extremely intrusive security barriers on the Hudson River Greenway. 57 crossings have been fortified between 59th Street and Battery Park. On more than half of them, long concrete Jersey barriers have been installed diagonally.  Additionally several police cars were seen parked on the Grenway.  These safety installations are forcing cyclists as well as pedestrians from both direction to use the same narrow path. They create a high risk of head-on collision accidents.

On Friday mayor de Blasio said the barriers need to change so “people can still ride their bike” after many users complained about the bottleneck created by the huge concrete barriers.  The Greenway can get very crowded with cyclists, joggers and pedestrians and the security installed by the State DOT and the NYPD funnel people uncomfortably close together.

On Friday, the State DOT instructed workers to walk down the bike lane and to straighten out the vertically placed Jersey barriers. The DOT also said in a press conference that the barriers were temporary and that they were working on a permanent solution. No timeline was provided. Street safety advocates believe the permanent installation of steel bollards would be an optimal solution for the Hudson River Greenway.