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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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segment-of-bike-lane-on-flatbush what-is-missingThe DOT recently inaugurated a new segment of protected bike lane  crossing Prospect Park in Brooklyn. While the new protected bike lane covers Flatbush Avenue from Grand Army Plaza to Empire Boulevard (see picture from the DOT ). The DOT indicates that the protected bike lane connects  to Downtown Brooklyn”. Unfortunately this is not the case (see map from the DOT with protected bike lanes in green). From Grand Army Plaza to Downtown Brooklyn cyclists still have to make their way through dangerous unprotected bike lanes which put them at a higher risk of getting injured or dying in a bicycle accident.  This is a concern, especially with the actual pandemic situation that has led many Brooklyn residents opting to start using a bike instated of using the subway.

At the recent inauguration of the bike lane, street safety advocates confronted New York Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg about the problem. Trottenberg who is herself commuting by bike between Grand Army Plaza and Downtown Brooklyn puzzled activists when she replied that she felt comfortable with the actual situation. “It’s a pretty good ride between here and Jay Street — you’ve got Vanderbilt to Bergen, so it’s pretty good she said.  She also added “Not everybody has the same opinion” and that’s true:  a day after the inauguration, a very upset dad who uses the bike lane to bring his son to school tweeted the following answer :

https://twitter.com/JarekFA/status/1324129158553915393?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1324129158553915393%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.brooklynpaper.com%2Fflatbush-fourth-avenue-protected-bike-lanes%2F

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e-scooter-4496668_640While e-scooters can be a very convenient way to commute in big cities, e-scooter accidents can result in very bad injuries including head trauma. In New York, it is now legal to ride a E-scooters but by-the minute rental which are already popular in many cities around the world are still not available in the Big Apple. However things are about to change and the city has been recently receiving offers from rental companies to  start providing services to New Yorkers next March.

NO RENTAL IN MANHATTAN

Manhattan will still be off-limits for e-scooter rental companies. The city will favor areas that are not well served by other transportation options. While the idea to favor areas with less transportation options might sounds like a good idea, it would be interesting to know how the city is planning to protect e-scooter users in these areas.  As a reminder, Citi Bike started to implement their program in the Bronx recently while the DOT has been too slow at installing protected bike lanes in the borough.  The result is an increase of 40% of bicycle accident injuries in the Bronx since the beginning of the year.

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location of the deadly crash between a cyclist and a tractor trailer truckA 34 year old man died in a bicycle accident in the Bronx, NYC, yesterday. The cyclist collided with a tractor-trailer truck on Bruckner Boulevard around 1:45 pm.  It is still not clear how the accident occurred. An initial police report indicates that the cyclist was riding westbound on Bruckner Boulevard and that the Tractor Trailer Truck driver was heading South on Brown Place. No information was provided about who had the light. The report just concludes that the cyclist ran into the back of the truck. The area is often congested as road users use this part of the Bruckner Boulevard to access the Willis Avenue Bridge.

Why would a cyclist run into the back of a truck?

This seems  to be a very strange conclusion and hopefully further investigation will reveal what exactly led to the death of this cyclist. Unfortunately the NYPD has a long history of blaming cyclists for crashes and giving slack to faulty drivers. Last year, Mario Venezuela, a Queens teenager, was fatally hit by a negligent truck driver. The police blamed the teenager for his own death however surveillance footage of the crash shows that the truck driver was reckless and cause the death of the teenager. A video of the crash shows the truck driver veering to his left before cutting hard into a right turn without using his turn signal and crashing into Venezuela.

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location of the e-bike colision with SUVA driver fatally struck an e-bike rider in New York and then fled the scene of the accident. 42 year old Ernesto Guzman of East Harlem was delivering a pizza on his e-bike yesterday around 4:30 pm when a black Chevrolet Tahoe SUV with TLC plates crashed into him. The driver then left, leaving the man dying on the street. The accident occurred in East Harlem at the intersection of E. 97th Street and Second Avenue. The Police found the vehicle abandoned by the driver on E. 96th Street. They are still looking for the runaway driver. The victim had delivery bags with him and a witness at a nearby Deli told the NY Daily News that they flew 3 feet away during the collision.  The witness also mentioned that the victim was badly injured with a lot of blood coming out of his head.

When EMS and the police arrived, they transported the victim to a hospital emergency room which was just yards away from the scene of the accident but it was too late. Ernesto Guzman was so badly injured that he passed away.

The police are still investigating the accident. According to preliminary investigation, the e-bike rider was driving south on Second Ave when he was hit by the SUV driving  West on 97th Street.

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Brookklyn bridge bike lane and pedestrian lane are too narrowA recent collision between a wedding photographer and a cyclist on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge (see video below) is probably a perfect example as to why the Brooklyn Bridge is the only bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan that saw a decrease in bicycle traffic since the beginning of the pandemic.  Thankfully both the photographer and the cyclist were ok but it could have been much worse.

Cyclists who are commuting on a regular basis between the two boroughs don’t want to have to fight their way among pedestrians enjoying the space and risk getting injured in a bicycle accident. Therefore they are opting for roads that are less touristy such as the Manhattan bridge or the Williamsburg bridge for those who are commuting between downtown Manhattan and Dumbo or Williamsburg.

The Brooklyn Bridge is the only bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn that recorded a decrease in bike traffic in September

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While injuries declined, a surge in New York traffic fatalities for all categories of road users – pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and passengers – was recorded during the third trimester of 2020 compared to the same period of previous years.  77 people died in motor vehicle accidents this summer compared to respectively, 56, 59, 65, 61, 60, 76 and 82 in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. This recent data brings the number of traffic fatalities in the city to its highest since the beginning of Vision Zero and very close to pre-Vision Zero levels. The rising number of traffic deaths occurred in a city that had far less people living in it than usual as many New Yorkers took off for the summer and most foreign tourists were unable to enter the US because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Speeding is  a factor in many of these fatalities. Street safety advocates are also pointing the finger at Mayor de Blasio who decline to listen and apply the recommendations of his COVID-19 transportation recovery panel.

Traffic fatalities NYC third quarter 2020
The number of motorist deaths was at its highest since the beginning of Vision Zero in 2014. 31 motorists died in New York City during the third quarter of 2020 compared to respectively, 21, 26, 22, 13, 16, 21 and 36 during the third quarter of 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Motorist fatalities which were still on a declining trend during the third quarter of 2019 are now on a perfectly flat trend.

Motorist Deaths NYC Third Quarter 2020
Despite more than doubling – from 4 to 9 – between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2020, the number of passenger deaths recorded during the third quarter of 2020 remains on a slightly declining trend when looking at the entire Vision Zero period.

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NYC Bicycle accidents injuries and fatalities 20197 cyclists died in accidents in New York City last September. This is the highest number of monthly bicycle accident fatalities under Mayor de Blasio’s terms.

At the beginning of his term Mayor de Blasio launched the Vision Zero program to reduce the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in New York City. While the program lead to a decrease in pedestrian fatalities, cyclists fatalities reached a record high in 2019 with 24 cyclist fatalities.  So far 16 cyclists died in traffic accidents in the city in 2020.

While the mayor has been calling on New Yorkers to walk or use bicycles to go to work during the pandemic, he has not done enough to improve their safety according to street safety activists

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location of the fatal collision between the truck and the cyclistA cyclist was fatally struck by a bus in New York City on Monday. 35 year old Sarah Pitts, was riding her bike on Whythe Avenue in Brooklyn when she was fatally struck by a charter bus belonging to Excellent Bus Service. The accident occurred just after midnight near Williamsburg Street. Sarah was a senior prosecutor for the Office of Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzales, who was hired in 2018 and assigned to the Appeals Bureau. According to friends, the young woman was heading home after a meeting with “Riders for Rights”, a group of cyclists working on protecting protesters’ first-amendment rights.

In a condolences statement, Brooklyn D.A. Gonzales described Sarah as a brilliant and compassionate lawyer as well as a kind and generous worker who volunteered to come in the office for urgent matters during the COVID-19 crisis.

With its entrance to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, the area around the intersection of Wythe Avenue and Williamsburg Street is particularly dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians. It is also quite common to see cars or school buses obstructing the bike lane.

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protected bike lane saves livesWhile bicycle accidents injuries in New York City went down by 3.6% during the last 3 months compared to the same period last year, bicycle accident injuries in the Bronx increased by 35 %. Bicyclist activist organization, Transportation Alternatives has been asking the city to install more bike lanes in the Bronx but instead the DOT is planning to use more police enforcement.

At the beginning of the summer the NYPD organized a four-weeks enforcement blitz to tame down speeding and failure to yield at Bronx high crash corridors such as Bruckner Boulevard and is planning to organize another one soon.

However while the blitz was  effective in preventing pedestrian accidents, it didn’t curb the soaring number of bicycle accidents in the Bronx this summer. On June 11th, a 24 year old cyclist died from his injuries  after being hit by a car on on Willis Avenue and E. 138th Street. The same day, a 38 year old cyclist was fatally struck by a truck on Park Avenue near 138th Street. Then, on June 20, a 43 year old man riding a e-bike in Pelham Bay Park died after being struck by a vehicle. Last week a cyclist who was hit by a car near East 175th street on August 5th and fought for his life for almost a month, died from his injuries. As mentioned above the number of bicycle accidents injuries is also soaring in the Bronx and a police blitz will have little effect on changing this dangerous trend. In an article in StreetBlog, Edwin Figueroa, a senior organizer at Transportation Alternatives, is asking for permanent measures allowing cyclists to be safe when commuting in the Bronx. “What cyclists from all over the city, but especially in the Bronx, need from this administration is more protected bike-lane infrastructure. The Bronx needs redesigned streets that are self-enforcing, not streets that are reliant on NYPD enforcement to ensure safeness,” he said.

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simon-cowell-twitterA few days ago, Simon Cowell broke his back in a self inflicted e-bike accident. He broke his back in several places and had to undergo a 6-hour long surgery.  “If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time,” he tweeted on Sunday night.  Electrical bicycles are becoming more and more popular but how safe are they?  In New York, e-bike and scooters were legalized last March as the coronavirus pandemic hit the city and people were reluctant to use public transportation.

Less expensive than a car and allowing to travel longer distance than a bike, electrical bicycles have become an attractive alternative to public transportation especially during the pandemic. While e-biking is quite a new thing for New Yorkers, it has been a popular mode of transportation in Switzerland for more than 15 years. In 2013, Doctors at the University Department of Emergency Medicine in Bern, the capital of Switzerland published a detailed study on e-bike injuries based on patients admitted at the ER between April 2012 and September 2013. They found that most patients were male with a mean age of 47.5 year old and that most injuries were caused by self inflicted accident. Head and neck injuries were the most common. Among the patients studied, 9 were treated as outpatients, 9 had to be hospitalized, 5 had to be kept in Intensive care unit and 6 had to undergo surgery.

While data about e-bike injury in New York are still limited, a recent study authored by several New York surgeons found that in case of an accident, e-bike users were more likely to suffer internal injuries and more likely to be hospitalized than regular bicycle users. E-bikes were found to be less dangerous than scooters whose users have a higher risk of concussion in case of an accident. The study also found that e-bike injuries were more than three times more likely to involve a pedestrian than regular bicycle injuries or scooter injuries. Another finding was that the risk of injury was particularly high for older people.