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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Jose-Alzorriz was riding his bike when he was fatally hit by a car in NYC52 year old Jose Alzorritz died in a horrific bicycle accident in New York City on Sunday afternoon. Alzorritz was on his bike at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L when a reckless driver speeding down Coney Island Ave blew the red light and collided with a minivan that was crossing the intersection from Avenue L. The impact was so intense that the minivan slid through the intersection and violently struck the cyclist. When the EMS arrived to the scene of the accident, they found Alzorritz unconscious on the ground with major head trauma. He was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved. A pedestrian suffered a leg injury and the driver of the van multiple body trauma. They were both hospitalized but their lives are not in danger.  The police didn’t reveal the identity of the reckless driver who caused the accident. They only revealed that he was 18 year old. He was taken into custody and charges are pending. A dashboard video of the accident clearly shows that the driver was reckless and sped through the red light (see below).

Dangerous Avenue

Coney Island Avenue is a dangerous avenue. Last month a pedestrian was killed at the intersection of Church Avenue. Maria Del Carmen Porras-Hernandez was in the crosswalk when she was fatally hit by a car. 19 cyclists, 43 pedestrians and 114 motorists were injured in traffic accidents between July 2018 and July 2019 on Coney Island Avenue. Speeding is frequent and so is double parking. Transportation Alternative published a statement in which the traffic safety advocate is asking Coney Island City Council to unite behind Speaker Corey Johnson’s Streets Master Plan bill, which would accelerate the schedule of redesigning deadly corridors like Coney Island Avenue.

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cyclist-nyc-e15620847726003 people died in bicycle accidents in NYC during the last 7 days.

Last Monday Robyn Hightman, a bike courier, was fatally struck by a truck on 6th Ave near 25th Street. Both the truck and the cyclist were heading in the same direction when they collided. The truck driver first didn’t stop but then returned to the scene of the accident after a witness in another car told him he hit someone. the driver told the police he didn’t know he hit the cyclist. Police said the driver was let go after he was hit with five summonses. The driver, 54 year old Antonio Garcia said it was the first time he had an accident since he started to work for his employer 14 years ago. However a look at the Howsmydrivingnyc.com indicates that the truck was hit with 83 violations since 2015 mostly for parking but also for speeding. A vigil was organized for Robyn during which hundreds of cyclists gathered and expressed not only their sadness but also their anger at authorities that are doing very little to hold drivers accountable. Robyn was the 12th cyclist in New York City to be killed in traffic this year.

Last Thursday night  around 9:00 pm, 57 year old Ernest Askew was fatally struck by an 18 year old driver on Sutter Avenue near Chester in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The car driver wasn’t arrested. Brownsville which is a low income community of color doesn’t have any protected bike lanes and there are not many efforts being made in regards to street safety. Cyclists share wide roadways with cars and speeding is common. At a vigil for Ernest Askew yesterday evening activists asked the city to address the lack of equity in low-income communities of color when it comes to protected bike lanes and street safety.

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32 people have been injured in bicycle accidents on Second Ave between 59th street and 68th street in Manhattan, with many accidents occurring at the intersection of 59th street and Second Avenue which is the entrance of the 59th Street Bridge.

Until recently, bicyclists who were riding South on Second Avenue used a protected bike lane until 68th Street and then had to ride through a dangerous gap in front of the 59th Street bridge entrance to then go back on the protected bike lane. The DOT was supposed to fill the bike lane gap last summer but the installation was delayed to this spring. The work is now almost completed.

This is good news for the estimated 3000 cyclists who use the Second Avenue bike lane and the estimated 6000 people crossing the Queensboro bridge by bike every day.  The changes include the addition of a bike lane that would be protected by cars during off-peak hours and that would turn into a curbside buffered bike lane during rush hours. A pedestrian and a bicycle crossing were added at the entrance of the Queensboro bridge to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross on the East Side of  Second Ave.  An island and a tip extension were also built to shorten the pedestrian and bicycle crossing.

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Prospect park bike lanes5 bicyclists, 15 pedestrians and 201 motor vehicle occupants were injured and 1 pedestrian died  in traffic accidents on Flatbush Ave between Grand Army Plaza and Ocean Avenue from 2013 to 2017. This section of Flatbush Avenue was identified by Vision Zero as a priority corridor and the DOT proposal to install a protected bike lane was recently unanimously supported by the members of the Community Board 6. Work is scheduled to start this summer.  This segment of Flatbush Avenue connecting to Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, The Brooklyn Public Library,  Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Zoo is being used by an average of 500 bicyclists a day during the week-end and 350 during the week. It is also one of the busiest bus routes and more than 1100 vehicles per hour cross it at peak hours.

The DOT proposal should not only lead to a decrease in bicycle accidents but also improve bike  access to Prospect Park and on-street bike network

According to the DOT, the Prospect Park edge condition is ideal for two-way protected bike lanes that would provide 2-way routes around the park compared to one now and also provide alternative routes at night time when the park is closed.  Another protected bike lane project is in development for the segment of Ocean Ave that is at the edge of Prospect Park and the DOT is studying options to install bike lanes on Parkside Avenue and Prospect Park SW (see illustration).

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location of the bicycle accidentA 22 year cyclist who was hit by a car in Brooklyn, NYC during the week-end died on Tuesday according to the NY Daily News. Kenichi Nakgawa was riding his bike South on Brooklyn Ave on Saturday around 5:25 pm when the 66-year old driver of a Toyota Sienna struck him. The young cyclist was rushed to the hospital with severe head trauma. He couldn’t survive his injuries and died 3 days after the accident. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged.

One day after Kenichi Nakgawa died, a 16 year old Brooklyn cyclist also lost his life after being run over by a van.  Yisroel Schwartz was riding North on 17th Avenue near 53rd Street in Borough Park when he was forced to swerve into the traffic to avoid a passenger who was opening the door of a parked car on the side of the road.  He lost control of the bike and fell on the ground. He was then run over by a  a white 2013 Econoline E350 van driving in the same direction. Yisroel was rushed to the hospital where he died from his injuries. Both drivers stayed at the scene of the accident. They weren’t charged.  Read more in Street Blog NYC

Yisroel Schwartz and Kenichi Nakgawa are the 9th and 10th cyclists killed this year in NYC traffic.

 

 

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Donna Sturm was killed by a cyclistDonna Sturm, a pedestrian who suffered traumatic brain injury after being struck by a bicyclist in midtown Manhattan almost two weeks ago died from her injuries over the week-end. Donna was left in a coma since the accident that occurred on April 24 around 1:00 pm. The 67 year old woman was coming back from lunch and was crossing 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues when  a bicyclist identified as 40-year old Damian Dewart recklessly ran the red light and struck her. (see our previous blog for more details on the accident)

Our managing partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Ben Rubinowitz who is representing the family of  Donna Sturm  issued the following statement on behalf of the family:

Donna Sturm was a vibrant, energetic and wonderful woman who died as a result of carelessness and negligence.

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West 57th street between 5th and 6rth AveA pedestrian suffered a traumatic brain injury  after being struck by a cyclist in Manhattan last week. 67 year old Dona Sturm just had lunch and she was crossing west 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues around 1pm when the accident occurred. As Dona was in the crosswalk, a cyclist blew the red light and collided with her. The impact was so intense that both of them fell on the ground. The cyclist was ok but the woman was lying on the ground with a bleeding skull fracture. She was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. She is now in stable condition according to her husband.

The cyclist, 40 year old Damian Dewart stayed at the scene of the accident. He told the police that his brakes were not working proprely. The police gave him a ticket for a red light violation. In the days following the accident, the police were seen cracking down on cyclists in the area. 57th street is a very busy street in Midtown Manhattan and people working in the area have been complaining about cyclists zipping dangerously between pedestrians.

In a statement the employer of Dona Sturm wrote : “All of us who live or work in New York City do so at our peril because of bike riders speeding through intersections and often going against traffic on one-way streets. Bicycles should have a license plate to create accountability for the riders. We pray that Donna will fully recover from this tragedy.”

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location pof the collision between thr truck and the cyclistA 74 year old cyclist who was struck by a truck in New York  suffered severe personal injury and might loose his leg. The accident occurred last Saturday around 7:00 pm in the Hudson Yards area. The cyclist was riding a city bike southbound on 11th Avenue when he was struck by a UPS semi-truck. The cyclist was transported to the hospital with severe trauma including a partial severed leg. A recent article in the Gothamist indicates that the cyclist may loose his leg.

According to preliminary investigations, both the cyclist and the truck were driving in the same direction when the accident occurred.  The truck driver stayed at the scene of the accident and so far he hasn’t been charged.  As often happens in this type of accident the police claimed that the cyclist collided with the truck and tried to clear the truck driver. However the police accident report doesn’t mention the nature of the collision and investigators are still looking for video footage to understand the exact cause of the accident.

No bike lane

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bike lane proposalAfter Mathew von Ohlen was killed by a hit and run driver while biking on Grand Street, his family and the Brooklyn Community Board 1 called for a protected bike lane.  A total of four people have been fatally struck by cars on Grand Street since 2010.

A new design including two protected bike lanes and a bus lane was proposed by the DOT  as an L Train shutdown mitigation measure. In reality, the DOT hastily installed a bike lane that wasn’t fully implemented and that stayed in limbo after it was decided that the L train would not be fully shut-down. The actual bike lane is only protected by plastic delineators. Cars and delivery trucks are constantly passing the delineators and parking on the bike lane forcing cyclists to make dangerous maneuvers to ride around them. Residents and businesses have both been asking their community board to improve the actual situation which according to them is chaotic.

Bike lane plans kept and extended

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6 cyclists, 27 pedestrians, 5 passengers and 9 motorists died in NYC traffic accidents during the first 3 months of 2019 compared to 1 cyclist, 26 pedestrians, 2 passengers and 13 motorists for the same period of 2018.  A total of 47 people died in motor vehicle accidents in New York during this first trimester, 5 more than during last year’s first trimester. The number of traffic deaths significantly decreased between the first trimester of 2013 and the first trimester of 2014, reached its lowest in 2015 at 40 and then oscillated between 40 and 50 for the last 4 years with no further improvement.Fatal Auto Accident New York City First Trimester 2019

12,997 people were injured in auto accidents in New York City during the first 3 months of 2019 compared to respectively 12,920, 12,608, 11,936, 10,069, 10,805 and 11,676 during the first trimester of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is a record number of motor vehicle accident injuries for the first trimester. Except for pedestrian injuries which were at their second lowest level since Vision Zero started all other road users recorded a significant increase of injuries during the first trimester of 2019 compared to the same period of 2018 with motorist injuries at a record high.

Total Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries NYC First Trimester 2019
The most alarming data this first trimester was the death of 6 cyclists. This number has never been so high in the past. After an uptick to 4 during the first trimester of 2016 the number of deaths related to bicycle accidents in NYC went down to 2 and 1 during the same period of 2017 and 2018. Last year during the entire year, 9 cyclists died in traffic accidents which was a record low. However the first trimester deaths are an indication that the city can’t relax its efforts to improve protection for the growing number of people commuting by bikes in the city.