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).