Long Island Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Cycling is a great option on Long Island and in New York City. It’s faster than walking, greener (and sometimes faster!) than driving or using public transit, and adding a bicycle into your commute is a boon to your health and a great way to add in exercise to your already-packed schedule. With electric bikes and e-scooters currently illegal in the City, bikes are more popular than ever; you can even pick up a rideshare Citi Bike just about everywhere.
Unfortunately, biking does carry significant risks, and the growing number of cyclists has come with an increasing number of bicycle accidents. Not only are there more bikes on the road, but there are also more drivers due to the explosion of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft and the increasing reliance on e-commerce and the presence of big-box delivery trucks further clogging up the streets. The steady increase in distracted driving car accidents has also hit bicyclists and pedestrians the hardest of any population, as they are harder to see and avoid for a distracted driver who is looking at the phone instead of the road.
Just one recent month saw 277 bicycle accidents in NYC and 232 injuries to cyclists. Bicycle accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries or wrongful death to cyclists who are almost entirely exposed to damage from a two-ton automobile. Even low-speed collisions can be severe or fatal to the unprotected bicycle rider. Long Island bicycle accident lawyer John Giuffré and his team at Giuffré Law Offices help injured cyclists and their families recover much-needed compensation and medical care after a serious bicycle accident.
Common causes of New York bicycle accidents
Most accidents happen at intersections when a driver is trying to beat the light or does not check for bicyclists before making a left or right turn. Bicyclists also face the constant threat of serious injury from getting “doored.” This type of accident occurs when the occupant of a parked vehicle opens a door into traffic. An oncoming cyclist will be forced to swerve into traffic or slam into the door and flip over it. Neither scenario represents a good outcome for the biker.
Bike lanes are hit or miss in New York City. As a rider, you never know whether a street will have a bike lane or not (most don’t). Where bike lanes exist, they often end abruptly and turn into street parking, leaving the cyclist with having to make a split-second decision and merge into traffic to avoid hitting a parked car. Even where bike lanes exist, drivers still park in them, creating serious dangers for cyclists.
PIP, UM, MVAIC and tort claims
After a bicycle accident, you can collect damages from the driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This no-fault coverage should pay all of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to the accident, as well as 80% of your lost earnings up to $2,000 a month for three years. If the driver was uninsured, you could access your PIP coverage or that of a household member. Alternatively, you could apply for uninsured motorist benefits if you have that coverage or submit a claim for MVAIC benefits from the state. MVAIC benefits also cover you in the event of a hit-and-run accident or if you were denied no-fault benefits. MVAIC claims can be difficult and confusing, however, with quick timelines and multiple forms and affidavits to complete.
If you were seriously injured in the bicycle accident, you could pursue a tort claim against the at-fault driver and recover the full amount of your medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering damages. You’ll need a lawyer who can prove the other driver was negligent and responsible in the crash, and who can prove the extent of your injury. The driver’s liability insurer will likely try to say you were wholly or partially at fault in causing the accident, or your injuries aren’t serious. By shifting the blame onto you, the insurer can reduce the amount they have to pay you or get out of their liability entirely. We fight back hard against unfair allegations that you were to blame in your bicycle crash.
To file a negligence lawsuit, your injuries would need to meet one of the following criteria under New York’s no-fault insurance law:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents you from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute your usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment
Safe biking and New York cycling laws
- Helmets are required for riders 13 and under, but they are recommended for riders of all ages. You can get an official bike helmet free from the city.
- Being aware of your surroundings includes hearing traffic as well as seeing it. Riding with one earbud is allowed, but riding with no earbuds is recommended.
- Bicyclists ride on the street and are required to know and follow the rules of the road. Bicycles must ride with traffic, not against it. Cyclists should obey signal lights and ride with care.
- Bicycles are legal on the street, not on the sidewalks.
- Cyclists must use bike lanes where they are available unless it would be unsafe or when turning.
- Cyclists can lawfully ride in the middle of a lane and occupy the lane on a narrow road where riding next to a vehicle would be dangerous.
- Bicycles should have a white headlight, a red taillight, a horn or bell, and reflectors.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way, and bicyclists, like cars, should yield to pedestrians.
- Ride straight, don’t weave.
- Ride predictably. Look and signal ahead of time. It’s not enough that you see the driver; make sure they see you, especially before turning or riding in front of a car that is turning.
- Scan for vehicle occupants ahead who are about to open their doors.
- Stop slightly ahead of an adjacent driver at an intersection so they can see you.
For Immediate Help After a Bicycle Accident in New York or Long Island, Call Personal Injury Lawyer John Giuffré
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in Nassau County, Long Island or New York City, call Giuffré Law Offices at 516-802-9912 for a free consultation. Our Long Island bicycle accident lawyers can come to you at your home or in the hospital, and we don’t charge any fee until after we recover compensation for you.