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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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E-bike now legal in NYCSafety and the risk of an increase in bicycle accident injuries have  long been the main worry in legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters in New York.

While pedal assists bicycles that travels at an average 20 mph speed were not much of an issue for legislators, throttle-controlled e-bikes that do not require pedaling and travel at an average 25 mph were more controversial. Despite being illegal until recently, throttle-controlled e-bikes were  widely used by restaurant delivery workers in the city. Food delivery workers were frequently harassed by the police who have been ticketing them and confiscating their bikes.

However in mid-march as food delivery workers became crucial in feeding New Yorkers during the pandemic, the city decided to suspend enforcement on e-bikes as long as restaurants would be able to operate as a take-out and delivery only. Following this decision, two weeks later, NY State finally legalized e-bikes ad e-scooters.

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NYC traffic deaths and injuries declined for all categories of road users except for cyclists between February 2020 and March 2020. As businesses gradually shut down around mid March and the city was officially locked down on March 22nd,  traffic in the city drastically declined and so did the number of traffic accidents.  The only two categories of road  users that recorded an increase in accidents between February and March were motorcyclists and bicyclists. The fear of catching the corona virus in public transportation or taxis has lead to an increased amount of people using bicycles and motorcycles in the city in March. Another factor was the increased amount of speeding recorded in the city as streets were getting emptier and emptier.

Drop in accidents not only due to Covid-19 but also to new NYPD report policy

The number of traffic accidents reported by the NYPD dropped to 10,877 in March compared to 13,586 in February and 14,183 in January. The drop seen in traffic accidents over the last few months is not only related to the coronavius crisis but also to the new NYPD “No Report” crash policy.

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new bike path in NYC during covid-19After a rise of almost 50%  of injuries caused by bicycle accidents in New York City between March 2nd and March 9, the New York DOT created two temporary bike lanes in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. The new bike lanes have been installed in the East of Manhattan and the South of Brooklyn where many of the accidents reported at the beginning of this month occurred.

The creation of the temporary bike lines takes place at a time during which the Covid-19 crisis has lead to a significant decrease in car traffic and a boom in bike traffic

Between March 1st and March 11, CitiBike rides increased by 67% compared to the same period the previous year with  a total of 517,768 trips compared to 310,132.  The bike traffic increased significantly on the four bridges connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn and Queens. The New York Times  reports that on March 9, 21,300 bike crossings were reported in one day compared to 14,032 a year before, a 52% increase. The increase in bike traffic resulted in an increase of bicycle accidents injuries all over the city (see previous blog) with many of them occurring near bridge crossings.
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nyc-car-crash-tweetA few days ago a cyclist tweeted a disturbing picture of a car crash on the Williamsburg bridge.  We don’t know if anybody was hurt in the accident but it definitely looked like the driver lost control of the vehicle because he was driving too fast.
Jacob Robert is among many New Yorkers who have been complaining on social media that they witnessed cars speeding on empty roads, considering them like freeways.

Speed cameras recorded the same number of  tickets than in January despite the decline in traffic

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https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/files/2020/03/Bike-Map-Press-Board-Brooklyn-for-Jan.-29.-2020.jpgbicycle accident injuries Brooklyn NYC March 2020Out of the 8o cyclists injured in New York City last week, 38 were injured while riding their bicycle in Brooklyn. That is almost half of the injuries recorded.

Last October in Brooklyn, while inaugurating 1000 miles of protected bike lanes in NYC, Mayor de Blasio said “Vision Zero means making sure people on bikes in every neighborhood feel safe—whether they’re in Boerum Hill, Bath Beach or Bushwick,”.

Sadly the reality is much different.  A quick look at the maps on the left is enough to show that protected bike lanes are dramatically missing in the south part of Brooklyn where 22 of the 80 bicycle accidents occurred. How could Bath Beach cyclists feel safe on their bike while running errands in their neighborhood when the only existing bike lane is the one by the water next to the Belt Parkway?

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bicyle accident injuries during Corona Virus80 people were injured in bicycle accidents in New York City between March 9th and March 15th compared to 56 during the same week last year.  This 42.9% increase occurred as more and more New Yorkers make the decision to ride a bike instead of taking the subway during the COVID-19 crisis.

Distracting driving is the number one cause of bicycle accident injuries in New York City

Unfortunately despite significant safety improvements implemented by the Vision Zero program, riding a bike in the city is still dangerous especially for newbies. Among the 80 bicycle accident injuries reported by the NYPD, 38 occurred in Brooklyn, 19 in Manhattan,  11 in the Bronx, 11 in Queens and 1 in Staten Island. Distracted driving and failure to yield were the most common causes of injuries with 33 accidents caused by distracted drivers and 15 caused by  failures to yield.

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accident sceneA pedestrian was killed  by a car and a cyclist was seriously injured after being struck by a van in New York City last week. Both accidents were caused by reckless drivers.

A man walking his dog in Bay Ridge died after he was struck by a speeding 19 year old driver. 66 year old Frank Decolvenaere was crossing in the crosswalk at the intersection of Fourth Ave and 101 Street around 7:00 pm on Thursday when he was struck by a speeding Mercedez Benz 350. Since 2019, the car had 4 school speeding violations, 4 parking tickets and an expired inspection sticker. Frank was found lying in the crosswalk covered in blood. His dog ran 10 blocks home to alert his wife.  (Read more in Street Blog)

Earlier during the week, on Tuesday, a 25 year old driver backing her car out of a driveway hit a 57 year old pedestrian. The accident occurred at a private driveway locate at 30-23 69th Street in Elmhurst, Queens. The man was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The woman stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged (Read more in QNS)

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24 cyclists, 116 pedestrians, 17 motor vehicle passengers and 57 drivers were killed in 209,291 auto accidents in New York City in 2019. The total number of accidents recorded last year was significantly lower than the 3 previous years during which it was above 227,000 however traffic fatalities were higher last year than the two previous years.


auto accidents NYC 2019

After reaching a record low at 199 in 2018, crash fatalities in New York increased to 214 last year. Since 2013 traffic fatalities gradually went down every year. This is the first year since Vision Zero was implemented in 2014 that fatalities went back up from one year to the other. While fatalities are globally on a declining trend despite the recent increase last year, the number of people injured in car accidents in New York is on a rising trend. NYC Auto accident injuries  reached a record high last year and were above 6,000 for the first time. They slightly decreased in 2019 but kept around the 6,000 level. The increase in injuries sustained in car crashes is mostly due to a rising number of drivers being injured. One reason might be that because the speed limit was lower in the city, less people are dying in car accidents but more are injured. Distracted driving might be another reason why more drivers are getting injured in auto accidents in New York.

Traffic fatalities and injuries in New York City in 2019
Bicyclists are the only category of  New York road users who continue to experience a rising trend of accidents, injuries and deaths. After cyclists fatalities reached a record low at 9 in 2018, they reached a record high at 24 in 2019.  Last year as bicycle fatalities were surging quickly, Mayor de Blasio announced a new bike safety plan entitled the Green Wave. The plan is:

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Following the increase in fatal bicycle accidents in New York City last year the DOT recently announced that New Yorkers would get 30 more miles of protected bike lanes all over the city this year.

DOT-Protected-bike-lane-BrooklynThe de Blasio administration has so far announced that 10 of the 30 miles would be allocated to Brooklyn and 10 others to Manhattan. In Brooklyn where most fatalities occurred last year, cyclists will soon have protected bike lanes while riding along 4th Avenue north to the Barclay Center, while riding out of the new Kosciuszko Bridge on Meeker Avenue and on Navy Street close to the Brooklyn Navy Yard as well as on Remsen Ave in Canarsie.

On the map released by the DOT at a previous conference (see picture), the pink lines show the protected bike lanes that will be added this year in Brooklyn and the yellow lines show potential protected bike lanes that might be added in 2021. The green lines are the existing bike lanes.  Read more here 

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trucks-kills-cyclist-tweetA cyclist was killed in a truck accident in NYC last week.

41 year old Pedro Lopez is the first cyclist to die in a traffic accident in New York City in 2020. He was killed by a reckless truck driver who was making an illegal U-turn at high speed on Vandervoort Avenue in Brooklyn. The accident occured on Thursday around 2:40 pm. The cyclist was rear ended by the truck. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Despite a video showing the recklessness of the truck driver, the police didn’t charge him