Bicycle ridership in New York City continues to increase. At the same time serious bicycle injures and crash fatalities are on the rise. What conditions make it dangerous for cyclists in the city?
In 2016, there were 18 bicyclists killed in New York City. In 2017, there were 23. More riders mean more opportunities for motorist mistakes. Despite these grim statistics, the City continues to push development of initiatives, like the Citi Bike program, and the Vision Zero campaign instituted by Mayor DeBlasio to protect bicyclists and raise awareness of their presence on the street.
In a review of cycling safety, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) found approximately 392 cyclists were killed or severely injured (KSI) per year between 2011 and 2015. During the same time, annual cycling trips taken by New Yorkers rose from 82 million per year, to 134 million trips.
Throughout the City, here are some of the prime causes of bicycle crashes:
- Left-turns: In an intersection, the dynamics of left turns mean that bicyclists and pedestrians are three times more likely to suffer a KSI than during a right turn. Within intersections, turns of any kind are dangerous.
- Dooring: Despite the fact that it is illegal to open a door into traffic when the area is not clear, New York City motorists and delivery personnel continue to open their doors into oncoming bicycle traffic. Whether opening a door into a bike lane, or opening a door into traffic, the unexpected motion causes cyclists to slam into the door, or swerve around the sudden obstacle. The reflexive move to avoid the door can send cyclists into traffic or other cyclists, causing serious or fatal injury.
- Failure to yield: Despite the cross-wise danger of intersections, cyclists in New York City are at more danger while moving straight ahead in traffic. The first fatality of the Citi Bike program was Dan Hanegby, in June 2017. While many cyclists have been injured on Citi Bikes since the City initiated the program in 2013, Mr. Hanegby was the first to be killed. Riding to work, Mr. Hanegby was passed by a bus on 26th Street that honked at him. Moments later, Mr. Hanegby lost his balance after he had to swerve around a parked van and fell under the rear wheels of the bus. The bus driver was cited for causing injury by failing to yield the right of way and failure to exercise due care.
- Bicyclist error: Cyclists suffer severe injury and death because motorists do not see them, or refuse to accept that bicyclists are entitled to share the road. Similarly, cyclists frequently use the nimble nature of their bike to shave time off their trip by weaving in and out of cars, onto sidewalks, not obeying traffic signals—including red lights—and speeding. Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as motorists, including proper turns, speed limits, mounting lights on their bike for night rides, and other regulations.
Bike safety is a two-way street. Follow the rules, keep an earbud out, and assume the other party does not see you.
Get experienced legal service if involved in a bicycle crash in New York City
Bicycle crashes in the city hurt and kill too many people each year. At Robinson & Yablon, P.C. we protect your rights and aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf if you are injured in a bicycle, pedestrian, or motor vehicle collision. When you are injured through the negligence of others, call (646) 832-2853 or contact us today.