According to the New York City Department of Transportation, there were 4,574 crashes involving bicycles and motor vehicles in New York City in 2016. More than a third of those crashes took place in Brooklyn. When there is an accident between a bicycle and a car, there is usually negligence involved. Since New York is a no-fault state for car accidents, under most circumstances, it doesn’t matter who was responsible for the accident. The driver’s car insurance will reimburse the cyclist for medical bills and some lost wages up to the limit of the driver’s policy.
However, sometimes insurance coverage isn’t enough. For severe injuries, the law makes exceptions where someone can file a suit for damages as well as pain and suffering. If a cyclist files a lawsuit due to severe injuries, it must be determined who is at fault for the accident and how much responsibility that person shares. Some common situations arise in bicycle vs. car accidents.
Dooring is a traffic collision where a cyclist runs into a car door, or a car door is opened into a cyclist. Because dooring is so common, New York has a law specifically addressing the situation. New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1214 states that drivers have a responsibility to check the area for hazardous situations, such as an oncoming cyclist, before opening the car door. Drivers should also not leave their car doors open for longer than necessary. If a driver fails to follow the law and carelessly opens the door, a cyclist may be able to file a claim. Conduct by the cyclist, not paying attention, for instance, will most likely be taken into account when determining the degree of responsibility.
Under the Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1146, drivers of a vehicle must exercise due care to avoid colliding with a bicycle. However, bicyclists are also expected to follow the rules of the road. When it comes to intersections, if a cyclist fails to yield the right of way at an intersection, he or she is just as much at fault as a driver failing to yield the right of way to a cyclist.
The Department of Transportation constructs miles of bike lanes to safely facilitate bike riding throughout the city. The law says that bikes must ride in available bike lanes unless they are turning or avoiding an unsafe condition. Cyclists are supposed to be safe in a bike lane, but drivers sometimes fail to watch for cyclists in their blind spots and drift or turn into a bike lane causing injury.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, you should have an attorney review your case to determine if you’re eligible for compensation. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MED-LAW1 to schedule a free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla Español.