Throughout New York, people use bicycles as a common means of transportation, recreation, and exercise. However, bicycles do not offer much in terms of protection from the hazards bicyclists confront on New York roadways. When bicycle accidents do occur, the injuries can be severe and catastrophic. Unfortunately, a significant number of persons who are injured in bicycle accidents are children. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in New York, you will face unique legal challenges. The laws of New York require specific knowledge and experience with regards to the rights of bicyclists.
Most bicycle accident cases in New York involve contact with a motor vehicle that:
- Failed to yield the right-of-way at an interception;
- Unexpectedly turned into the path of a cyclist;
- Made a left turn into the path of an oncoming cyclist; or
- Overtook a bicyclist (usually by misjudging the space required to pass safely).
Too often, motorists will cause a bicycle accident by failing to share the road, forcing cyclists off the road or into a collision.
Other factors also result in Hudson bicycle accidents. These factors are often unique to the operation of a bicycle. Environmental factors including defective roadway design or maintenance, impaired visibility, and poor road and path conditions (such as potholes, road debris, maintenance problems) can result in bicycle accidents.
Under New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1231, bicyclists must observe the same rules of the road and have the same rights as operators of other vehicles. However, under the No-Fault Law in New York, a bicyclist is considered a pedestrian, and is therefore entitled to No-Fault coverage in most circumstances.
Bicyclists helmet laws can be found in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1238. Children under the age of one year are prohibited from being a passenger on a bicycle. Both passengers and operators under the age of fourteen are required to wear helmets. Other bicyclists are not required to wear a helmet.
It is important to understand what a helmet is designed to protect. Some studies have demonstrated that a bicycle helmet is less likely to prevent serious head or brain injury if the impact happened at a speed that exceeded 15-20 miles per hour. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article that stated that wearers of bicycle helmets were 85% less likely to risk head injury and they are 88% less to likely to be at risk for brain injury compared to bicyclists who did not wear a helmet.
Minor head injuries generally result from a linear acceleration of the skull impacting another object. Wearing a helmet helps prevent head injuries by reducing and spreading out the force of the impact. However, more serious injuries often result from angular or rotational acceleration, which may cause a diffuse axonal injury or subdural hematoma. These types of brain injuries are most common in road crash victims that result in death or chronic intellectual disability. The design of bicycle helmets is not meant to mitigate rotational injuries, and research has shown that they are not effective in doing so.
The Hudson bicycle accident attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a FREE case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.