Bicycling is a popular activity in Kingston and other areas across New York. Unfortunately, riders face considerable risks when sharing busy roads with other vehicles.
Even when wearing the protection of a helmet and other gear, a bicycle injury can be extremely serious and cause devastating lifelong consequences.
If you have been hurt in a bike accident caused by someone’s negligence, you deserve justice for your injuries. Contact the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC today online or at (845) 303-8777 for a free, no-obligation case review. Our law firm serves clients in Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and other areas of New York.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Bicycle accidents are frequently caused by the same circumstances that lead to other traffic wrecks, with one notable difference: Bike riders are extremely less protected from being hurt in a crash than those in motor vehicles.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in New York include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Drifting into other lanes
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to yield
- Failing to check the oncoming lane during a left-hand turn
- Failing to check blind spots during a right-hand turn
Bike wrecks can also happen when no crash occurs, when a vehicle is stationary, or when there isn’t a vehicle involved at all.
Bicycle Accidents on Defective and Dangerous Roads
In addition to negligent drivers, bicyclists are often at risk of being injured by dangerous road conditions. Some of the most common issues that affect the safety of New York roadways include:
- Faded paint on road surfaces
- Damaged or missing road signs
- Damaged guardrails
- Poor drainage, resulting in accumulation of debris, dirt, silt, and gravel
- Freezing and hydroplaning caused by insufficient road grading
- Lack of bike lanes or other faulty road designs that force bicycles and automobiles too close together
- Cracks in the pavement
In cases of wrecks caused by defective roadways – whether the crash involved another vehicle or not – potentially liable parties could include the construction company that built the road, subcontractors who may have contributed to the defects, and/or the municipal agency responsible for the road.
Bicycle Accidents Caused by Near Misses
Even when a bicycle and vehicle do not collide, bicycle accidents and subsequent injuries can occur. Bikers are frequently forced to take sudden evasive action due to the carelessness of inattentive drivers. While a bike rider’s urgent braking or steering may prevent impact with a vehicle, the threat of resulting injury is high.
An unexpected evasive maneuver may run a bicyclist off the road or place him or her in the path of other vehicles. The cyclist may hit a tree, curb, or other object.
Just because you weren’t struck by another vehicle, it doesn’t automatically absolve careless drivers of negligence. If a driver’s actions caused your injuries, that driver may be held liable for your resulting damages.
At O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, our seasoned bicycle accident lawyers are committed to investigating the details of our clients’ crashes and taking action on their behalf if someone’s negligence caused a near-miss crash.
Bicycle Accidents Caused by Open Doors
Parked vehicles can pose a risk to bicyclists, depending on the design of the road. When a driver or passenger opens their door to exit a vehicle without checking their blindspots, cyclists can be put in harm’s way. If a bicycle is passing when a door is opened, a collision with the door could result in serious injury.
Not only does the initial impact with a door have the potential to cause injury, but the collision could also cause the cyclist to flip head-first over the door, fall onto the road, or be propelled into an intersection. This also puts the cyclist at risk for suffering a secondary injury from other vehicles on the road.
Where Do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur?
The majority of bicycle crashes occur in urban areas, with most of those happening at intersections. Fortunately, bicycle accident statistics are better for cyclists who ride in designated bike lanes, where only four percent of bike wrecks occur.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle riders are highly susceptible to serious injury and death when they are involved in automobile collisions. The severe injuries sustained in these wrecks can leave riders struggling with pain, psychological challenges, and lifelong impairments. Some of the most common injuries that occur in bicycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic amputation injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal injuries
Catastrophic injuries sustained in bicycle accidents are very serious and demand immediate medical attention. You may require multiple surgeries and undergo a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation process to restore function. In some cases, accident victims endure lifelong disabilities. In the other tragic instances, bike crashes result in death.
Understanding New York Bicycle Laws
Cyclists in New York have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Specifically, riders must:
- Stop at all red lights and stop signs: Most serious cycling injuries occur at intersections. Cyclists must be cautious when passing through an intersection and obey stop signs and traffic light rules: Wait for a green light and/or the pedestrian or bike signal.
- Ride in the street, not along the sidewalk: Unless a rider is 12 years old or younger and the bike’s wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter, cyclists must ride in the street, not on a sidewalk.
- Use designated bike lanes or paths when available: Unless a cyclist is making a turn or it is unsafe to do so, he or she must ride in designated bike lanes when they are present. However, cyclists have the right to ride anywhere in the city, regardless of whether bike lanes are present. In cases where a bike lane is not available and the road is too narrow for cars and bikes to travel side-by-side, cyclists have the right to ride in the center of a travel lane.
- Ride in the direction of traffic: Cyclists must ride with traffic and not against it.
- Use white headlights and red tail lights: Cyclists have a responsibility to make themselves as visible as possible to other drivers. This includes headlights, tail lights, reflectors.
- Yield to pedestrians: Pedestrians have the right of way in New York.
Is It Illegal to Ride a Bicycle Without a Helmet in New York?
Cyclists under the age of 14 must wear safety-certified bike helmets while riding a bike or riding as a passenger on a bike in New York. Additionally, children between the ages of one and four are required to wear certified bike helmets and ride in specially designed child safety seats.
What to Do After A Bicycle Accident in New York
If you suffered significant injuries in your bicycle accident, you may be unable to do anything but wait for emergency medical attention. However, if you do not require immediate treatment, consider the following post-accident steps if possible:
- Obtain information from the involved driver(s): Get the name, contact information, insurance information, license plate number, and driver’s license number from the driver who caused the wreck. If more than one driver or party was involved, request their information as well.
- Talk to witnesses: If anyone at the scene saw what happened, gather their names and contact information.
- Photograph the accident scene: Taking pictures that capture the immediate aftermath of the crash is important when presenting evidence in your case. Photograph your bicycle and other involved vehicles. Show the conditions at the scene by taking pictures of the road and surrounding area.
- Call the police: A police report can be crucial to supporting your case. When an officer arrives at the scene, provide an honest account of what happened. Keep in mind that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will review your statement to the police and scrutinize every word you say. Be careful to not give more information than is necessary and do not embellish the events.
- Seek medical attention: Seeking prompt medical attention is important for several reasons – most importantly for your health. Just because you were not taken away in an ambulance does not mean you haven’t sustained serious, even life-threatening injuries. For example, some brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are not immediately apparent. Furthermore, a medical report can help to strengthen your case, while a delay in seeking medical treatment may be used against you by the insurance company if you take action at a later date.
- Contact the bicycle accident lawyers at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC: If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle wreck, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced bicycle accident attorney at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC as quickly as possible. Our seasoned lawyers can investigate the facts in your case and handle communications with the insurance company. We will focus on building a compelling case on your behalf so you can focus on healing.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents and near-miss accidents are not uncommon in bicycle accident cases. If the at-fault driver flees the scene of the accident, speak with witnesses and try to collect whatever evidence you can at the scene, such as paint transfers on your bike. Take note of the precise time and location where the crash occurred.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries After a Bicycle Accident?
Under New York State Law, anyone who contributed to a biking accident may be held responsible for the physical, emotional, and financial losses of the victim. This means that, depending on the circumstances, you may have a valid personal injury claim against any party or parties whose negligence played a role in your injury. This could include:
- Vehicle drivers
- Other cyclists
- Transit companies
- Employers of negligent parties
- Government agencies
- Companies that manufactured or sold defective bicycles, safety equipment, or vehicle parts
After a serious injury, you deserve to know the cause of your injury and who should be held accountable for your losses. The bicycle accident lawyers at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC work tirelessly on behalf of our clients. We thoroughly investigate the facts surrounding your crash and work hard to determine who may be responsible for your damages. We then aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you deserve from everyone whose negligence contributed to your wreck.
How Much Is My Bicycle Accident Claim Worth?
Every bicycle accident is different and every bicycle accident victim is unique. Therefore, the injuries and losses of one bike crash victim will differ from another, as will the value of their damages.
Whether your bike was struck by a vehicle or you crashed due to a road defect or near-miss accident, the results of a bicycle accident can be life-altering and financially devastating. Urgent medical treatment and ongoing rehabilitation are expensive. You may be unable to work for weeks, months, or years. Even if you are able to work, you may not be able to work in the same role or capacity that you once did.
The bicycle accident attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC understand the hardships faced by accident victims. We are passionate about helping you pursue the justice and compensation you need to move forward. Depending on the details of your case, we may aggressively pursue damages for your:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing care, home modifications, and assistive devices
If you lost a loved one in a bicycle crash, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost companionship, funeral costs and more in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Why Choose O’Connor & Partners for Your Bicycle Accident Case in Kingston?
At O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, our experienced bicycle accident attorneys are committed to pursuing maximum compensation for our clients. We have the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to stand up to big insurance companies and we never back down from a fight.
Although we work diligently to achieve favorable out-of-court settlements for those we represent, we do not look for the fastest or easiest path to resolution. We meticulously investigate and prepare every case, and are always ready to take a claim to trial when a fair settlement cannot be reached.
We know that as a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, this isn’t just a case; it’s your life. We are dedicated to aggressively helping you recover the justice and compensation you deserve with honesty and integrity.
But don’t just take our word for it. We encourage you to visit our reviews page to see what our past clients have to say about us.
Schedule Your Free Bicycle Accident Case Review Today
The aftermath of a bicycle wreck can be overwhelming. If you’ve been seriously hurt in a bicycle crash due to someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, don’t face your injuries alone. You might be entitled to far more money than you realize. At O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, it’s our job to help you get it.
Our law firm is determined to win. We explore every effective legal strategy, fight to maximize your recovery, and do our best to help you get your life back on track.
Contact our office today at (845) 303-8777 for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. We serve Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and other areas of New York.
The clock may already be ticking on your case, so do not delay. We handle cases on a contingency basis, which means you do not owe us any attorney’s fees unless we achieve a favorable outcome in your case.