Bicycle Accidents

Editorial Suggests Auto Accidents Should be Just as Big of a Concern as Gun Violence

A blog post on Streets Blog indicates that New York City officials are focusing too much on gun violence, when auto accidents cause many more deaths and injuries each year. The columnist, Brad Aaron, suggests that officials should rethink their approach in keeping New Yorkers alive, focusing on preventable accidents instead.

The post was spurred by an announcement of 16 people being indicted in illegal gun trafficking. A statement from the city remarked that there had been 127 shootings in Manhattan this year thus far. Nineteen of which resulted in fatalities.

But, counters Aaron, last year 26 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in the city and more than 2,500 were injured. With a higher fatality rate, he says, the city should be focusing here to make NYC a safer place for everyone.

Through August of this year, someone died in New York City traffic about every 30 hours, on average, and an injury occurred every 14 seconds. There is no concerted effort between city prosecutors and NYPD to get those numbers down, or to ensure that victims get justice. To the contrary, few crashes are even investigated. Continue reading


Calls For NYC Cyclists to Adhere to Laws, Practice Greater Safety

Just a few weeks ago, we blogged about New York City bicyclists and how they may actually make the roads of the city safer. But in a heated and ongoing argument, others believe that the bikers are smug, don’t care about the safety of others, and disregard the rules set up to protect them and everyone else. In an article in the Brooklyn Ink this week, we see that other side of the coin. Cycling advocates will tell you that as the number of bikes increase, the number of accidents decrease. But no direct correlation between that cause and effect can be found. Instead, some caution, cyclists must be held responsible for the accidents and injuries they cause. Case in point: two cyclists on two separate occasions in San Francisco, hit and killed pedestrians crossing the street. In both cases, the bicyclist faced criminal charges. Continue reading


Bicycles Make NYC Roads Safer?

There have been numerous headlines coming from various news sources in the NYC area lately, all discussing the frequency of bike accidents, how they are handled by the cops, and bicycle safety in general. The latest addition to the growing pile of work is an article in the Gothamist which asserts New York City streets are safer for pedestrians and everyone thanks to cyclists. The article is an answer to the Gawker piece entitled “First, Kill All the Cyclists,” where the writer is overly critical of bikes in the city, saying they are a “menace,” among other things. In the Gothamist piece, however, we learn that bikes may just be an asset to the city. New Yorkers on bikes have risen dramatically in recent years, doubling in number from 2007 to 2010. During that time, bike-on-pedestrian crashes actually dropped 9 percent. Also during that period, the number of cyclist-caused crashes fell. The writer goes on to add, that bike lanes make everyone safer: Bike lanes, which are on just over 4% of New York City’s streets, also make roads safer for everyone: according to the DOT [pdf], pedestrian crashes on streets with bike lanes are 40% less deadly. Bike lanes have “a calming effect, lowering speeds and increasing driver attention.” While the Gawker piece would have you think that pedestrians are dodging bikes at every turn, the Gothamist article asserts that pedestrians should be far more concerned with cars, saying they are 365 more dangerous than cyclists, adding that 60 percent of fatal pedestrian and cyclist accidents are caused by illegal driving behavior. By being super-critical of cyclists, the Gothamist warns, Gawker is only perpetuating the ambivalence towards bicycle accidents, an already-existing problem in the city and especially among the NYPD. Instead, New Yorkers should hold their cyclists as a symbol of the city rather than a black mark, something to be proud of rather than something to criticize. After all, if you are riding a bicycle and are hit by a drunk driver or merely a distracted driver, you are far more likely to suffering life-changing, or even life-ending, injuries than if you are in another vehicle. It is in a cyclist’s best interest to be the best possible driver and to be hyper-aware of all of their surroundings. If you are involved in a bike or pedestrian accident, you want your side of the story to be taken seriously. You deserve to have an advocate on your side. Our attorneys can help. Contact the New York accident attorneys of Omrani & Taub today for a consultation on your case. We can be reached at 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAWSUIT).


New Report Indicates Law Violations Responsible for Most Pedestrian and Bike Accidents

Transportation Alternatives, an NYC transportation advocacy group, released a study this week that found three out of every five deadly pedestrian and bicycle crashes in New York City are caused by “illegal driving behavior.” They, like many others, are hoping the city will soon change how they investigate such accidents so that drivers can be held responsible for the tragedy they leave behind.

According to the Transportation Alternatives website, “Deadly Driving Unlimited: How the NYPD Lets Dangerous Drivers Run Wild” looks at how the lack of investigations and repercussions for drivers involved in these fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents only makes the problem worse.

The report analyzed data from the Department of Transportation. It found that 60 percent of fatal cyclist and pedestrian accidents with known causes were caused by illegal driving behavior betwee 1995 and 2009. These illegal driving behaviors could be anything from speeding, to running a red light, or drinking and driving.

Between 2001 and 2010, 1,7,45 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in accidents involving drivers in the city. Continue reading


City Council Introduces Plan to Audit NYPD Crash Investigations

Members of New York City’s City Council released the details of what they are calling the Crash Investigation Reform Act at a press conference this week. The purpose of the act is to improve the way in which the NYPD handles bicycle crash investigations among other things.

As reported by the Windsor Terrace Patch, currently, the NYPD only investigates bicycle accidents if the rider is killed or will likely die. Accidents resulting in scrapes, concussions, broken bones and worse, are not investigated unless the injuries are potentially fatal.

“Crashes that result in serious injuries demand serious investigations,” said Councilman Brad Lander. “But right now, they just aren’t getting them from the NYPD. As we learned at the City Council’s February hearing, thousands of crashes with serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists happen with no real investigations, and no changes. The Crash Investigation Reform Act would set up a comprehensive review of NYPD policies regarding traffic crash investigations, and get us on the road to safer streets.”

In 2011, 21 cyclists were killed in crashes in the city. Only two drivers were arrested. Continue reading


City Comptroller Cautions Against Accidents in Bicycle Share Program

In about a month, New York City’s bike share program will be underway, putting thousands of additional bicycles on the road in an effort to encourage fitness, reduce traffic congestion, and make the city a bit of revenue. But the City Comptroller, John C. Liu is cautious about the program, worried that safety measures are being overlooked.

In a press release dated June 25, Liu says, “In the rush to place ten thousand bicycles on our streets, City Hall may have pedaled past safety measures, a move that risks significantly exacerbating the number of injuries and fatalities of both bikers and pedestrians, especially those most vulnerable like young children and seniors. Aside from the human toll, there is a real possibility that the Bike Share program will increase the number of legal claims against the City.”

To prevent these things from happening, he says, important safety measures should be taken. Among those is a mandatory helmet rule.

Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, head of the Brain Trauma Foundation, says “Helmets save lives, even when you are going slowly on your bike. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85%. Almost all bicyclists who died in accidents were not wearing helmets.”

Other safety concerns include: “frequently blocked bike lanes, poor street conditions, inexperienced bicyclists, lax enforcement of traffic regulations, and the inevitability that some users will ride on sidewalks.”

Professor John Pucher of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University says that these things could lead to “at least a doubling and possibly even a tripling in injuries and fatalities among cyclists and pedestrians during the first year of the Bike Share Program in New York.”

Others say his estimations are alarmist.

The recommendations made by Liu include:

  • Make helmets mandatory
  • Maintain signage, bike lanes, and safer intersections
  • Increase the number of bicycle safety courses
  • Incorporate bicycle awareness into drivers’ education
  • Teach children bicycle safety
  • Increase the number of cops on bicycles
  • Target dangerous locations
  • Expand “Safe Streets for Seniors” program
  • And more…

There is no doubt that riding a bicycle in the city can be dangerous. When you are on a bike, you are especially vulnerable because you don’t have the protection of a vehicle, safety belt, or air bags—you are completely exposed. In addition, you are harder to see and cars often don’t respect the rights of cyclists.

Bicycle accidents happen and are frequently severe. When you are on your bike and hit by a car, the injuries can be life changing.

Contact the attorneys of Omrani & Taub today if you or a loved one has been hurt in a bicycle accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, your pain and suffering, and more. Call us at 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAW-SUIT).



Who Is To Blame for NYC Accidents?

Who can we blame for the majority of accidents in the city? That question was asked of New Yorkers in a recent poll from NY1 and Marist. What they found is that opinions vary and many cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians are quick to point the finger at someone else.

The vast majority, when presented with the question, “Who causes New York City Accidents—bicyclists, pedestrians, or motorists?” said that drivers were the ones to blame. Sixty-eight percent, in fact, said that those driving cars are at fault for most accidents. Seventy percent of men attributed accidents to motorists, while the number was slightly lower (65%) for women.

Coming in a distant second was the people who thought bicyclists contributed to most accidents, with 19%/ Finally 13% of respondents attributed accidents to pedestrians.

But what does this mean? Well, for one, that NYC is crowded and everyone plays a role in avoiding accidents and two, not everyone agrees on who is to blame.

Some of those surveyed admit to their own shortcomings, things that they might do that could increase the likelihood of an accident. One pedestrian, interviewed by NY1, said that he is often oblivious to the traffic around him because he, like many others these days, is usually wearing earphones and can’t hear what’s going on around him. Continue reading


80-Year Old Man Hits School Bus, Bicycle and Range Rover

Bensonhurst was the scene of multiple auto accidents last week as an 80-year old man not only hit a school bus, but went on to hit a bicyclist and a Range Rover truck before coming to a stop. Tommy Saladino was taken to the hospital but is expected to be arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Saladino allegedly hit a school bus and kept driving. It wasn’t until he hit a bicycle and Range Rover that his black Mercedes was stopped on 73rd Street near 18th Avenue.

A sixty-three year old bicyclist was thrown onto the windshield of a parked car after being hit by Saladino. He lost his helmet and shoes and rolled from on top of the vehicle to the sidewalk. According to the NY Daily News, he was in cardiac arrest when he was transported to Maimonides Hospital.

Saladino is the owner of Continental Shoes, also on 18th Avenue. He had hit a school bus and was driving away when the bicycle accident happened. While he would have normally only been charged with hit and run, he will now face the consequences of the other two collisions as well. Continue reading


City Council Scolds NYPD’s Response to Bicycle Accidents

A few high profile cases over the past year, especially that of cyclist Mathieu Lefevre, have brought significant attention to the NYPD’s treatment of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. So much so that the City Council held a meeting on the department’s lackadaisical attitude towards such accidents and how they are investigated.

According to the Village Voice, much of the frustration is due to the police department’s reluctance to charge drivers criminally after being involved in such accidents. Though they may receive a ticket for failing to signal or running a red light, it’s rare that they face charges of reckless endangerment or assault with a vehicle, even after the accident victim has suffered extensive injuries or even died.

The department assured the council that everything is being handled according to protocol, citing a 33% decrease in traffic fatalities overall in the past ten years. Continue reading


NYPD Slow to Respond in Bicycle Death

Canadian bicyclist and artist Mathieu Lefevre was killed by a crane truck about three months ago, and his family is highly critical of the NYPD, who took all three months to hand over the police records of the accident.

Only after filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act did the Lefevre family receive the file which included 115 pages and four videos, including the initial bicycle accident report.

Lefevre was riding his bicycle in Brooklyn when he was killed. The large crane truck was on his left at a corner, and the driver admittedly failed to signal a right turn. When Lefevre went to pass the truck on its right, he was hit, causing the fatal bicycle accident. Continue reading