People choose to ride a bicycle for economic, environmental and fitness reasons, as well as for the sheer enjoyment of cycling. Sadly, many bicyclists suffer serious injuries in traffic accidents each year. The New York and New Jersey bicycle accident injury attorneys at Ginarte Gonzalez Winograd L.L.P., understand how dangerous bicycling can be. Injuries sustained as the result of a bicycle accident can be devastating, even fatal in some cases. If your life has been changed by a bicycle accident, no one can turn back the clock and prevent the outcome of the accident; however, you can hold the negligent party responsible.
If you have been injured in a New York or New Jersey bicycle accident, or you have lost a loved one as the result of a fatal bicycle accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries or your loss. The personal injury lawyers of Ginarte Gonzalez Winograd L.L.P., have protected the rights of countless accident victims in New York and New Jersey and are ready to use their 150+ years of combined experience to get you the justice you deserve.
About New York and New Jersey Bicycle Accidents
Not surprisingly, a significant number of people choose to ride a bicycle in New York. With traffic congestion a daily struggle in the Big Apple, it is often quicker to get from point A to point B on a bicycle than it is in a car. Unfortunately, the mix of motorized and non-motorized traffic often produces serious injuries or fatalities. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 6,276 bicycle/motor vehicle accidents in 2010. Of those accidents, 36 were fatal and another 6,206 caused non-fatal personal injuries. Not surprisingly, all 36 fatalities were bicyclists, not motorists. Of the personal injury accidents, 665 were classified as serious, 1,831 moderate and 3,133 were considered minor.
Although less than 2 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists, 618 people across the country lost their lives in pedal-cyclist (a non-motorized vehicle with at least two wheels) accidents in 2010, and another 52,000 were injured. In New Jersey, there were 12 pedal-cyclist fatalities in 2010, which represented 2.2 percent of all fatal accidents.
Bicycle Accident Risk Factors
According to information published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), certain factors may put you at a higher risk of being involved in a bicycle accident. They include:
- 72 percent of all fatal bicycle accidents occurred in an urban setting in 2010.
- The highest percentage of fatal bicycle accidents occurred between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., followed by the time periods between 8 p.m. and midnight and noon to 4 p.m.
- Two-thirds of all cycle accidents occurred at a non-intersection location.
- The average age of the victim of a fatal bicycle accident in 2010 was 42. The average age of someone injured was 31. The average age of both has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years.
- The highest numbers of deaths in bicycle accidents are reported during the months of June, July, September and October.
- Male victims outnumber females by almost 7 to 1. In 2010, 534 men were killed in bicycle accidents and another 39,000 were injured, while 84 women were killed and another 13,000 injured.
- Alcohol was involved (either the driver of the motor vehicle or the cyclist) in 34 percent of all fatal bicycle accidents.
New York and New Jersey Bicycle Laws and Legal Remedies
Both New York and New Jersey have laws that apply to cyclists as well as to vehicles that may come into contact with bicycles. Some examples include:
- New York § 1231 — Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates. Every person riding a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this title, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this title which by their nature can have no application.
- New York § 1146 — Drivers to exercise due care. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist, pedestrian, or domestic animal upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.
- New Jersey § 39:4-14.1 — Rights and duties of persons on bicycles. Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway is granted all the rights and subject to all of the duties of the motor vehicle driver.
A motorist who fails to use due care when he or she comes into contact with a bicyclist may face fines and/or incarceration. Traffic and criminal laws, however, do not address the injuries suffered by the victim of a bicycle accident. A traffic court or criminal court judge does not have the authority to order compensation for a victim’s injuries or for a family’s loss in the case of a fatal accident. A victim who has been injured, or a survivor of a fatal accident, must seek compensation through the civil court system in a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit in New York or New Jersey.