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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Second-Avenue-and-BordenA cyclist was fatally struck by a car in NYC on Thursday. The victim, identified as 53 year old Robert Spencer, is the sixth person to die in a bicycle accident in New York City since the beginning of the year. Spencer was riding his bicycle on Borden Avenue on Thursday morning a little bit before 8:00 am when he was struck by a car traveling on Second Street in Queens. The driver, a 51 year old man stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged.The victim was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved.

The area where the accident occurred used to be industrial but recent developments are quickly transforming the neighborhood into a more residential area. While there is a protected bike lane on Second Street, Borden offers no protection for cyclists.  According to residents, speeding double parking and failing to yield to pedestrians is common on Borden. The shareholders of the Murano, a residential building located a block away from the accident have already written a letter to the city and to their Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to ask for a two-way protected bike-lane on Borden as well as other traffic calming measures. Their effort was supported by Van Bramer who wrote directly to the DOT on March 4th to support the residents’request for a bike lane and other traffic calming measures. The residents of the Murano also tried to lobby their local community board for protected bike lanes along Borden Avenue, but the community board refused to consider their request. (read more in Street blog)

Bike lane delays are not about the money but about the community

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memorial for NYC victim of bike accidentA 25 year old bicyclist was fatally struck by a hit and run truck driver in NYC.  Aurilla  Lawrence was fatally hit by a gas tanker truck near the intersection of Broadway and Rodney Street in Williamsburg last Thursday night around 11:30 pm. The driver fled the scene of the accident and so far is still at large. Lawrence was a beloved member of the bike messengers community who  nicknamed her  “Aurilla Gorilla”.

Last Sunday around 200 bike messengers and street safety advocates organized a memorial ride on the streets of New York to commemorate the victim. Bicyclists met at Lenox Avenue in Harlem and rode their bikes South on Fifth Avenue toward Union Square. The Union Square Park is an area where Lawrence used to hang with fellow bike messengers in between deliveries. As a tribute to her, the bike-a-thon made a stop at the park and  participants raised their bikes to her memory.

Then the 200 cyclists continued their way toward Brooklyn. They crossed the Williamsburg bridge to ultimately arrive at the location of the accident where a ghost bike and a makeshift memorial were installed.  The participants gathered around the memorial and paid tribute to their beloved co-worker.

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19 people died in 167,686 NYC motor vehicle accidents in January 2019 . More than half of the fatalities were pedestrians. 3 of the fatalities were cyclists, 3 were passengers and 3 others died behind the wheel. This number compared to 20 fatalities in December and respectively 11, 18, 17, 13, 21 and 28 in January 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  This is the highest amount of traffic deaths for a month of January in 5 years. (click on graphs for full size view)

Car accident deaths NYC January 2019
For the third consecutive years NYC auto accident injuries in January stayed above 4,000. 4,347 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in New York City in January compared to 5,361 in December 2017 and respectively 4,351, 4,383, 3,624, 3,449, 3,899 and 3,993 in January 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Auto Accident Injuries NYC January 2019
Pedestrian fatalities increased by more than 40% in January 2019 compared to January 2018. However the number of pedestrian fatalities was still half what it was before Vision Zero started. 10 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in New York City in January 2019 compared to 7 in January 2018 and 20 in January 2013. A month before in December 2018, 16 pedestrian died in traffic fatalities. The period covering October November December and January is the most dangerous for pedestrians  because the sun goes down a little bit after 4 pm and pedestrians become less visible by motorists during the rush hours.  The city is running preventive campaigns to raise awareness about this problem.  It looks like the campaign was more effective last year than this year as monthly pedestrian injuries never went above 10 during the entire period of October November December and January. This year, except for October monthly pedestrian fatalities were back above 10 during the fall and winter months.

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A 72 year old cyclist was killed by a hit and run driver in Manhattan . The accident occurred in Time Square on early Monday morning. Joseph Chiam was riding his bicycle northbound on 8th Ave a little bit before 6:00 am. He was in the bike lane  when he was hit by a car at the 45th street intersection. The driver of the car didn’t stop. The victim was found by the police unconscious next to his mangled bike. He was rushed to the hospital but he didn’t survive. The police investigated the accident and were able to identify the car as a 2013 Green Western Star truck. Later on the police also found the driver. They didn’t release his name.
Two days before another cyclist died from the injuries she suffered a few days earlier in a bike accident in Brooklyn, NYC. On January 26, 63 year Suzan  Moses was riding her bike on Kings Highway near Van Sicklen St. in Brooklyn she collided with a car. She suffered head trauma but was still conscious when she was transported to the hospital. She died from her injuries last Saturday.  Kings Highway is a very narrow street that is dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists. According to Streetblog, 15 cyclists and 43 pedestrians have been injured on the 12 blocks of Kings Highway between Ocean Parkway and West Sixth Street since 2016.
Streetblog also reports that January was also a particularly bloody months for cyclists. According to recent data, 191 cyclists were injured in New York City in January compared to 158 in January 2018. This represents a 20% increase. Traffic fatalities were also on the rise in January with 19 people killed compared to 10 for the same month of the previous year.
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NYC Motor vehicle accidents injuries reached a record high in 2018. 1,083 pedestrians, 4,281 cyclists, 18,687 passengers and 26,843 motorists suffered personal injury in a crash in New York City in 2018. 60,646 people were injured in NYC traffic accidents in 2018 compared to 58,990 in 2017 and 54,818 in 2013. Over the last five years the number of traffic injuries increased by more than 10%. The main reason for this increase are motorists injured in auto accidents often related to distracted driving. Distracted driving is the number one cause of crashes in New York.

Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries NYC 2018
The total number of traffic fatalities in New York City in 2018 was below 200 for the first time since Vision Zero was implemented. 112 pedestrians, 70 motorists, 9 cyclists and 8 passengers were killed in traffic accidents in the city in 2018. Annual traffic fatalities declined by more than 30% since 2013.

traffic fatalities New York 2018
The total number of crashes in the city has been culminating above 227,000 for the last 3 years with a record 227,924 accidents in 2018. Driver inattention is the primary cause of accidents followed by driver following too closely. Backing unsafely and changing lanes unsafely are two other common causes of accidents in the city. Since 2013 auto accidents increased by 12%.

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e-bikeOn Wednesday, at a hearing on four e-bike and e-scooter bills  Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg indicated that they were not in favor of immediately legalizing the usage e-bikes and and e-scooters. According to them, they are too dangerous and can lead to additional pedestrian and regular bicycle accidents.

Polly Trottenberg said that the DOT had two e-scooter fatalities on record. She also added that New York State should be first to legalize this mode of transportation. However Governor Cuomo recently indicated that localities should be in charge of deciding whether or not they want to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters.

Despite being illegal the usage of e-scooters and e-bikes has been increasingly popular in the city especially among delivery workers.  On Wednesday, many of them were present at a press conference held outside of City Hall before the City Council hearing on the bills.  Delivery workers who are using them for work are fed with paying for tickets that can go up to $500 or have their vehicle confiscated. They want the city to legalize this new mode of transportation as soon as possible. Last year the NYPD confiscated 1,215 e-bikes and distributed 1,154 tickets for using e-bikes. Additionally 1,362 moving violations were issued to e-bike riders during the same period.  For a delivery worker the amount of a ticket can be equivalent to a week of work.

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Broken glass on NYC bike lanesAnti bike lanes activists intentionally put NYC cyclists at risk of  dangerous accidents by spreading broken glass on the  12th and 13th streets bike lanes in the West Village in Manhattan.  This is the second time that a bike lane has been intentionally vandalized for political reasons. In November, thumbtacks were thrown all over the 43rd Avenue bike lanes in Sunnyside, Queens by bike lanes opponents.

Yesterday afternoon, “bring back our parking!” graffiti and other anti-bike lane signs appeared on the 12th and 13th street bike lanes. Broken glass was also spread over the two bike lanes putting cyclists at risk of dangerous accidents.

According to Street Blog, the graffiti reflect the opinion of the anti-bike lane 14th Street Coalition. This group is asking the city to remove the two bike lanes on 12th and 13th street as well as the bus lane on 14th street.  The two bike lanes and the dedicated bus lane were implemented by the city in anticipation of the L subway lane closure. Now that the city announced that the L will not shut down, some anti cyclists neighborhood groups want their their street back to the way it was before.

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While the number of traffic fatalities is on the rise nationally, in New York, most probably because of the many Vision Zero Initiatives launched over the last five years, traffic fatalities were at their lowest during the third trimester of 2018 compared to the third trimester of the five previous years. The decline in traffic fatalities during the summer of 2018 is due to the decrease in pedestrians and cyclists fatalities while the number of motorist fatalities was at its highest since the beginning of Vision Zero.

From July 1st to September 30 2018, 59 people lost their life in NYC auto accidents compare to respectively 65, 61, 60, 76 and 82 during the same period of 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. It is interesting to notice that there are now as many motorists deaths as pedestrian deaths. Pedestrians used to be the category of road users the most at risk of dying in trafic accidents. However according to the most recent statistics drivers now have as much risk as pedestrians of getting killed in a traffic accident in New York City. Total traffic fatalities in New York City third trimester 2018

A record number of 16,300 people were injured in car accidents in New York City during the third trimester of 2018 compared to respectively 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472 and 14,900 during the third trimester of 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Not only in New York but all over the US, distracted driving has led to a significant increase in motorist injuries. Over the last 3 years and despite Vision Zero intense efforts to make New York City Streets safer, the number of motorists injured in car accidents in New York has been increasing tremendously.

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New York Bicycle Accident Lawyer Anthony Gair
Our NYC bicycle accident lawyers are suing the city and the Hudson River Park Trust on behalf of the families of the victims of the terror attack that took place a year ago on the West Side Highway bike path.  Our firm is representing the families of 20 victims who were among the people who were killed or injured  by a pro-ISIS terrorist who rented a truck from the Home Depot and sped down  the Greenway, a popular bike path along the Hudson River, mowing down anyone in its path.

The city’s Department of Transportation and Parks Dept as well as the Hudson River Park Trust “were on notice since at least 2007 of the numerous vehicles that were entering the Greenway,” said our partner Anthony Gair to the NY Daily News. “Nothing was done.”

Previous Transportation Alternative study ignored by the city

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Citi BikeThe bus driver who fatally struck a cyclist on West 26th Street, New York, was found guilty of  violating New York City’s Right of Way Law, failure to exercise due care and traffic violation, after a trial that lasted two days.

On a Monday morning in June 2017, Dan Hanegby was pedaling to work on West 26th Street. The street has no bike lane and cyclists share the road with motor vehicles. David Lewis who was driving a Coach USA bus arrived behind the biker, clearly saw him and barreled past him in a narrow area of the street instead of slowing down and waiting for a safer opportunity to pass the bike. The bicyclist was knocked down by the bus and died.

During the trial the attorney for the bus driver tried to blame the victim and claimed that Hanegby lost control of his bike. However a surveillance video from a nearby building clearly shows that the bicyclist drove on a straight line and that because vehicles were parked on both sides of the street, it was just too narrow for the bus driver to pass the bike. The video also shows that the bus driver doesn’t slow down at any moment. Not before and not after the accident, completely failing to exercise caution.