Everyone has a shared responsibility to follow the rules of the road, yet some motorists fail to provide enough space to cyclists. This irresponsible behavior can lead to a serious accident, subsequent injuries, costly medical bills and a bicycle that’s now totaled.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers have successfully represented many bicycle accident victims on Long Island who have been hurt by the actions of careless drivers. After a collision on two wheels, trust Trantolo & Trantolo to help secure the compensation you deserve.
What Duties of Care Are Owed to Cyclists?
Cycling has become increasingly popular in New York State as an alternative to walking, driving cars or using public transportation. Other vehicles are obligated to share the road with them, but what duties of care do they owe bicyclists?
Bicycles are considered vehicles, so car and truck drivers have the same responsibility to keep cyclists safe as they do other drivers. They must yield the right of way when turning, use proper signals and obey the speed limit. New York law also requires drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing to help prevent accidents.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 43 cyclists have been killed in Suffolk County and 21 in Nassau since 2005. Common causes include drivers:
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to see a cyclist approaching an intersection
- Failing to use turn signals
- Failing to provide adequate space when passing
- Colliding with or “dooring” a cyclist
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Acting aggressive, reckless or who are distracted
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Common Types of Bicycle Injury Cases
While many people enjoy riding bicycles, the activity comes with certain risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1,000 bicyclists are killed and over 130,000 are injured in crashes every year in the United States.
Cyclists can be ejected from their bikes, hitting the ground or another stationary object in the process. Some of the most common bicycle injury claims include:
- Hit-and-Run Accidents: Unfortunately, not all drivers are considerate when it comes to sharing the road with cyclists. Certain motorists may deliberately try to hurt someone on a bicycle and flee the scene of an accident.
- The Right Hook: This happens when a car passes a cyclist, then makes a right turn in front of them, causing a collision. Right hook accidents are often due to drivers not paying attention or not looking out for cyclists before making a turn.
- The Left Cross: This occurs when a car coming from the opposite direction turns left in front of a cyclist, causing an accident. Left cross incidents may result from a driver not seeing the cyclist or misjudging their speed.
- Dooring: When a car driver or passenger opens their door into the path of an oncoming cyclist, the resulting collision is known as “dooring”. While the person simply may not have been paying attention when getting out of the parked car, some purposely open their doors to hurt a cyclist – despite the law against dooring in New York.
- Road Rage: Unfortunately, some drivers become enraged when they see a cyclist in their path. They may try to run the cyclist off the road or even get out of their car and physically attack the cyclist.
- Malfunctioning Equipment: When brakes fail, a cyclist may not be able to stop in time to avoid crashing into a car. On the other hand, if a car’s tires blow out, the driver may not be able to control the vehicle and end up hitting a cyclist.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle injuries are often more severe due to the lack of protection the vehicle provides. After an accident, call 911 and seek medical attention right away. Documentation of any related treatment will be beneficial when pursuing a claim.
If you are physically able, collect as much information from the scene as possible to help prove you were not at fault. Take photos of the road conditions, traffic lights and signs, any skid marks from the collision and resulting bike damage.
Exchange information with the other motorist but do not discuss the details of the accident before calling an attorney. If it was a hit-and-run, try to remember details about the car and ask any witnesses if they saw the driver.
If you’ve been injured by another motorist while riding your bike, it’s important to know your legal options. When you contact Trantolo & Trantolo, your dedicated legal team will help gather evidence to prove the driver was at fault and help you navigate your medical treatment.
Bicycle Helmet Laws on Long Island
In New York State, all bicyclists under 14 years old are required to wear a bicycle helmet as an operator or passenger. There is no law that requires adults to wear a bicycle helmet, unless they are working cyclists.
Yet helmet use can reduce the risk of brain injury by 88 percent. Wearing a properly fitted, secured bicycle helmet while riding can help protect you from serious injuries in the event of a crash.
Laws That Apply to Bicyclists on Long Island
Bicyclists on Long Island must obey all traffic laws, including stop signs, red lights and yield signs. They should also ride with traffic, not against, and use the appropriate hand signals when turning.
It’s also required for bicycles to be fitted with a front white light and rear red reflector or light when riding at night. Riders must yield to pedestrians and are not allowed to ride on sidewalks.
Unfortunately, even when you do everything right, hazards beyond your control can cause bicycle accidents. Particularly, other motorists who may not feel they need to share the road with you.
Hurt In a Bicycle Accident on Long Island? Call Trantolo & Trantolo
Our team has over 80 years of experience and knowledge to help you navigate the complex legal landscape and hold the negligent driver responsible for your injuries. Call us any time to set up a free, no-obligation consultation at 1-844-999-9999 or fill out our online contact form.