Summer in NYC means more people walking and dusting off their bikes. That, in turn, means more pedestrians hurt by unsafe cyclists, which can result in severe or catastrophic injuries.
So what happens when these accidents occur? You probably know the common practice of swapping insurance after a car crash, but are cyclists treated the same way? All these questions can be confusing, especially when you’re injured and not sure what to do next. Therefore, it’s important for every New Yorker to understand what happens when a cyclist hits a pedestrian.
Who’s At Fault
Assigning fault after a bike crash can be even more complex than for a car crash. For insurance companies to know who is at fault in a cyclist and pedestrian incident, they look at both parties’ duty of care.
Duty of care states that you must be responsible when doing activities or acts that could potentially harm another person. Cyclist and pedestrians both should exercise proper safety precautions to prevent these crashes whenever possible. When an accident occurs, it’s often because someone has violated their duty of care.
For an injured pedestrian to prove the cyclist was negligent, their legal team will have to show that the bike rider violated their duty of care. Here are a few common examples of cyclists acting irresponsibly on the roads:
Ignoring all traffic signals.
Rolling through a traffic signal or stop sign.
Riding a bike while intoxicated
Operating a bike while distracted by their phone
They fail to wear appropriate safety equipment, such as high visibility gear.
Some cyclists don’t follow traffic laws, putting themselves and those around them at risk of a severe crash. Remember that cyclists must adhere to the same safety rules as motorists. Here are some tips every cyclist should remember when riding through NYC.
Make sure to stop at all traffic lights AND stop signs.
Wear appropriate gear, such as helmets and high visibility clothing
Drive on the right, always moving with the direction of traffic
Always yield to pedestrians on the streets; they have the right of way!
The cyclist is not the only party involved in these incidents. Pedestrians also have a duty of care. Everyone traveling the busy streets of NYC is expected to act safely and avoid endangering others. Here are several common examples of pedestrian negligence:
They ignore established traffic signs and rules.
They are under the influence of a substance, like alcohol.
Just as cyclists have rules and standards, pedestrians must also follow established protocols. To stay safe on the streets of NYC, pedestrians must:
Follow all established traffic signals and markings, such as crosswalks.
Stay on established sidewalks unless there are none available.
Look in every direction before crossing the street; cyclists are more challenging to see.
With a better understanding of duty of care and how parties may violate it, we can explore how insurance plays a role in cyclist and pedestrian collisions. Insurance companies assign fault by determining who in the crash violated their duty of care. Typically, some type of proof is needed to help document what occurred. After the accident, there are several things both parties should do to move forward:
Make Sure Everyone Is Okay
After the incident, verify whether anyone sustained severe injuries. To be safe, you can call the NYPD and EMS. When the police arrive on the scene, inquire about a police report to document the crash. This will be a vital piece of evidence to demonstrate where and when the crash occurred.
Make sure you get the cyclist’s contact information. This will ensure that you can get the help you need from your insurance company. The police report should also have this information, but you can never be too safe! If the police do not arrive, you can also file a report at the precinct nearest to the crash site.
Find Witnesses and Document
After the crash, ask if nearby witnesses would be willing to make a statement for the police report and give you their contact information. Chances are, someone on the busy NYC sidewalk saw the collision happen. While asking around for witnesses, make sure to document and injures and property damages by taking pictures, if you are able to do so.
After documentation and discussions with law enforcement, request a copy of the report from the police and contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can handle the case on your behalf so you can focus on rest and recovery.
It Can Be Severe
In New York City, cyclists injuring pedestrians is more common than many would like to believe. Since 2011, more than 2,250 pedestrians have suffered serious or fatal injuries from bike crashes.
While death can sometimes occur, especially due to unsafe speeding in Central Park, more common injuries from these crashes include:
Fractures in all parts of the body
External or internal bleeding
Everyone must keep each other safe on the streets. It is the responsibility of both cyclists and pedestrians to behave safely and remain aware of their surroundings. And when these crashes happen, it’s crucial that the injured discuss their case with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible.
If you or someone you love were struck by a bike, you need affordable representation from a team you can trust. If you’d like an experienced New York City injury accident attorney from Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices to evaluate your case, don’t hesitate to call us at (718) 690-3132 or send us an email!