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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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New bike lane will prevent collisions on Brooklyn BridgeAfter several bicycle accidents and multiple close calls between pedestrians and cyclists on the overcrowded Brooklyn Bridge, the DOT finally opened a new protected bike lane mid September. As a result, regular commuters who were avoiding the bridge because of the over crowding are making a massive come back. During the month of October,  there was an average of 4,206 rides daily compared to 2,239 during October 2020.  The daily rate of rides remained high and stable on the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge suggesting that  more people made the decision to commute by bike now that the Brooklyn bridge has a separate protected bike lane. The Brooklyn bridge provides a direct access between Dumbo in Brooklyn and the financial district where many New Yorkers go to work daily.

Narrow bi-directional protected bike lane can feel crowded and dangerous when traffic is busy

While separating the bike lane from the pedestrians was already a major step in improving bike riding safety on the Brooklyn Bridge, the 8 foot wide two-way bike lane remains extremely tight.  Recommendations from The National Association of Transportation suggest a minimum 12 feet wide for bidirectional bike lanes. With the surge not only in regular bicycles but also in various types of e-bikes, e-scooters and cargo-bikes, it can sometimes be dangerous for people to cross on the 8 feet wide bike lane. Cargo bikes that have been promoted by the city to reduce truck traffic are wider than 4 feet and can create collision risks. Additionally, people on moppeds that are  not supposed to be on bike lanes break the rules and use a considerable amount of space while passing cyclists and create additional risks of accidents on a tight bike lane.  It will also be interesting to see if, now the borders are re-opened, if tourists on bikes decide to use the bridge… the tight lanes do not really allow for a picture stop.

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During the third quarter of 2021, a total of 71 people died in crashes in New York City including 24 pedestrians, 5 cyclists, 9 passengers and 33 motorists. Since the Covid19 crisis started, auto accident fatalities in New York City have peaked and  street safety activists are pointing fingers at the de Blasio administration for failing to keep the streets safe.

A total of 14,335 people were injured in traffic accidents in New York City during Q3 2021 compared to respectively 13,437, 16,083, 16,300, 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472, 14,900 during Q3 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013. Before 2015, the passengers category  was the one with the most injuries with usually between 5,000 and 6,000 passenger injuries during Q3. In 2015 after the introduction of the Vision Zero program, passenger injuries significantly declined to 4,121 while motorist injuries jumped from 4,502 to 6,043. The increase in motorist injuries is linked to an increase in accidents related to distracted driving and more and more people using their cellphone while driving. After the first year of Vision Zero, passenger injuries during Q3 went back above 5,000 and then, back below 5,000 after the Covid19 crisis hit in 2020. Motorist injuries, mostly linked to distracted driving continued to rise reaching a record high in 2019 with 7,437 motorists injured during Q3.

New York Auto Accident injuries by category during Q3
6,349  motorists were injured in car accidents in New York City during the third quarter of 2021 compared to 5,931 for the same period of 2020 and 7,437 for the same period of 2019. Motor vehicle accident injuries reached a peak during Q3 2019 in New York City and then dropped to levels never seen since 2014 when the Covid19 crisis hit.  They were up during this year’s Q3 but not as high as what they used to be during Q3 2019.

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location of the hit and run accidentA deaf man who was standing next to his bicycle in the median of Atlantic Avenue at the intersection of Essex Street in East New York, Brooklyn, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Friday night around 10:10 pm.

Hit by a speeding car

56 year old Jose Ramos had just finished a late shift at a store and was heading home with his wife Martha. Jose was walking next to his wife with his bike on his side. As they were crossing Atlantic Avenue at Essex street, they stopped on the median to wait for the light to turn green for the pedestrians. All of sudden a sedan racing down Atlantic Avenue slammed into Jose, causing him major body trauma. His wife Martha who is also deaf, ran home two blocks away, to get someone to call an ambulance. When she came back a few minutes later, the sedan was gone.

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8 pedestrians, 3 cyclists, 4 motor vehicle passengers, and 13 motor vehicle drivers died in auto accidents in New York City during the month of July. Usually, monthly pedestrian deaths account for the largest share of the road fatalities in New York City but since the pandemic started, monthly motorist deaths often account for the biggest part of the motor vehicle accident fatalities in the city. As a result of this increase in motorist fatalities, since the end of the lockdown, the number of auto deaths was above 20 for 9 months out of 14. As a comparison, in 2019, it was above 20 only twice during the entire year and in 2018, only once during the entire year. Speed and recklessness have been a factor in many of these deaths as well as an increased amount of New Yorkers travelling by car instead of public transportation because of Covid19 fears.

Car accident deaths by road users in New York July 21
NYC traffic accident deaths in the month of July reached their highest since July 2014 with 28 fatalities. Since June last year, road fatalities have been out of control in New York City. For the 4th consecutive month, auto accident fatalities remained above 20 and significantly above the trendline. These high numbers of fatalities had not been seen since 2013 before Vision Zero started.

Auto accident deaths NYC July 2021

Traffic accident injuries lower than before the pandemic

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Bronx residents are the first New Yorkers to enjoy the benefits of the pilot e-scooter program but at the same time Bronx roads are among the most dangerous for cyclists and scooter riders.  E-scooters and e-bikes have been legal in New York City since the beginning of last year but so far there was no e-scooter share program in the city. E-scooters have been a very controversial subject in New York City. While they can be an excellent and sustainable mode of transportation for neighborhoods that are not well served by public transportation, they can be dangerous for users and for pedestrians alike.

After long discussions and negotiations, the city finally agreed to launch a pilot program in the Bronx, and since Tuesday  3000 e-scooters are available to East Bronx residents. The pilot will go on for a year and then, the city will decide to expand it or not.

While the scooter program is a great idea, the city needs to address the lack of protected infrastructures in the Bronx

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A total of 118 people including 39 motorists, 16 motor vehicle passengers, 5 cyclists and 58 pedestrians lost their life in crashes in New York City during the first six months of 2021. This is the highest number of traffic accident fatalities during the first semester since 2013 when 121 people died in crashes. During the 7 following years, after Vision Zero was launched in 2014, auto fatalities declined and oscillated around 100 during the first six months of the year with their lowest at 84 deaths during the first semester of 2018.

traffic accident fatalities NYC 1st semester 2021
New York City auto accident injuries were lower than usual during the first semester of 2021. Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, less people have been on the road in the city which might explain the decline in injuries. A total of 22,898 people were injured. Among them were 10,975 motorists, 6,492 passengers, 2,303 cyclists and 3,128 pedestrians.

traffic accident injuries new york 1st sem 2021
Pedestrian fatalities were at their highest since 2014 last semester with 58 deaths compared to respectively, 37, 51, 49, 49, 56, 34, 60 and 72 during the first six months of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.It is very disappointing that after 7 years of  multiple Vision Zero initiatives, the number of pedestrian fatalities is back at its 2014 level. Are more pedestrians dying because the streets are still less busy than usual and more people are speeding or driving in a reckless manner?

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1 bicyclist, 15 pedestrians, 11 motorists and 3 passengers lost their life in crashes in New York City last May. That is a total of 30 fatalities. Since Vision Zero started in 2014, this is the first time that such a high number of traffic accident fatalities were recorded during a month of May.  Last year because of the Covid-19 lockdown, only 5 fatal crashes occurred in May and during the previous years respectively, 18, 13, 11, 18, 28, 25 and 15 people died in NYC traffic accidents in May 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Since the beginning of  the Covid-19 crisis, the de Blasio administration seems to have given up on all the efforts deployed during Vision Zero and the recent traffic accident fatality numbers are similar to the numbers reported during the pre-Vision Zero era.

car-crash-deaths-New-york-May-2021
4,927 people were injured in crashes in New York last May compared to 2,437 during the Covid-19 lockdown in May 2020 and 5,554 in May 2019. The number of car accident injuries last May is a little bit lower than what it was during May 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

traffic accident injuries nyc May 2020
While looking at fatalities by category of road users, pedestrians and motorists accounted for the majority of the fatalities last May. Bicyclist fatalities have been lower than usual and passenger fatalities remained somewhat stable.  It is the first time since 2013, before Vision Zero started, that road fatalities in New York City are above 25 for two months in a row.  Over the last 12 months, monthly traffic accident deaths in New York have been 5 times over 25. Even in 2013, before Vision Zero started, monthly auto accident deaths only went 4 times over 25 during the entire year.

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A 71 year old cyclist was fatally struck by a postal truck at the intersection of 86th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan, NYC.

Last Tuesday around 5:40 pm, Jeffrey Williamson, an avid cyclist, was commuting back from his work downtown to his house in the Upper West Side when a postal truck making a right turn from Central Park West onto the 86th Street traverse hit him. The cyclist, a marketing professional who was close to retirement, was in the bike lane when the truck struck him.

He was rushed to the hospital where he died a few hours later from body trauma. He leaves behind his wife, 68 year old Chris Brimer and two children.

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New bike lane will prevent collisions on Brooklyn Bridge The crowded overpass of the Brooklyn Bridge has led to multiple collisions and close calls between cyclists and pedestrians over the years. For a long time, the DOT has been studying options to remediate this problem.

A previous plan in 2016 was to widen the walkways on the top of the cars to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists but the DOT dropped the idea as they were not sure the cables would be able to support the extra weight.

Narrow two-way protected bike-lane

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accident sceneA cyclist was fatally struck by a car  in the Bronx, NYC, last Friday night. The accident occurred around 11:22 pm  on Southern Boulevard, near the ramp of the Bronx River Parkway, in the Bronx Park. According to the police, the driver who was speeding was attempting to pass the cyclist but there was not enough space to do so and he struck the back wheel of the cyclist. The victim whose name was not released by the police, flew onto the windshield of the car, a 2019 Mercedes Benz Sedan, and then landed on the street. He died at the scene of the accident from severe body and head trauma.  The driver of the Mercedes abandoned his car on the side of the Boulevard and ran away on foot. The police are still looking for him. (read more in the Gothamist)

Less than 24 hours later, also in the Bronx, a man riding a e-scooter died after being struck by an Amazon Prime delivery van. The accident occurred in front of 1230 E. Tremont Avenue,  a little bit before 7:30 pm. Both the van and the e-scooter were travelling in the same direction when the van struck the scooter. The victim who was not identified, died at the scene of the accident. The driver of the van stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged by the police. (Read more in the NY Post). 

In Brooklyn, a couple who was heading to work on a moped, were struck by a dump truck on Rogers Avenue near Bergen Street in Crown Heights. 36 year old Jose Garcia Cruz was taking his girlfriend, 25 year old Kristina Walker, to work when the accident occurred. The circumstances of the accidents are not exactly clear. CBS News indicates that the truck rear ended the moped while the police told the NY Daily News that the driver lost control of the moped when he tried to pass the dump truck. In NYC, the police have a habit of protecting the motorists and blaming the victims. (read more in the NY Daily News)