Cycling is an excellent way to stay fit and do your part to help the environment. However, if you’re a biker in New York, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks. Bike accidents and collisions, especially those that involve a motor vehicle operator, can be extremely dangerous and even fatal to cyclists nationwide.
This is why it's important to understand state traffic laws and cyclist regulations and know what to do if you have the misfortune of being in a bicycle accident. If you find yourself in a bike collision—whether it's with a car, pedestrian, or fellow cyclist—you may be wondering which steps to take to treat your injuries and collect the compensation you deserve.
Keep reading to learn who is liable for a bike accident in New York.
What You Need to Know About New York Cyclist Laws
To determine who is liable in a bicycle accident, it’s necessary to have a general understanding of cyclist laws in New York, as the knowledge plays a major role in establishing who is responsible for the accident.
Here are some quick facts that cyclists should know about New York biking laws:
- Only children under age 14 are legally required to wear a helmet. While wearing a helmet is always a wise idea to prevent traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and even death, the law does not technically require adults over the age of 14 to wear a helmet while cycling in New York.
- All cyclists are legally required to signal. Bikers must engage in proper signaling when navigating the street. Cyclists must signal with their left arm for left turns, their right arm for right turns, and extend their left arm with their forearm downturned at a 90-degree angle to signal a stop.
- Bikes are legally required to meet certain equipment regulations. All bikes must have a brake that causes tires to skid on dry pavement, a front and back taillight, and wheel reflectors.
- Bikers are legally prohibited from using both earphones. While one earphone or earbud is acceptable while riding, music and other media should be forgone entirely if it distracts from your surroundings on the road.
- Cyclists are legally required to ride with the flow of traffic, not against it. Because cyclists are generally held to all the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles (with a few obvious exceptions), bikers are legally required to ride with traffic. Take care that you use designated bike lanes when available to reduce confusion among fellow drivers and pedestrians and reduce your risk of collision.
- Cyclists are legally required to use available bike lanes.
New York law requires bikers should use designated bike lanes when they are available; however, it does allow exceptions for safety reasons. The best rule of thumb is to use the bike lane whenever possible, as the safety benefits outweigh the risks.
Who pays for my ambulance and medical bills? What about disability payments if I can’t work?
In most cases in New York, the vehicle’s insurance will cover the medial bills and disability claim without regard for who caused the accident.
Is a car that hits a cyclist automatically responsible for paying compensation for pain and suffering?
In a collision involving a cyclist and a motor vehicle driver, the driver of the vehicle will often point the finger at the cyclist to avoid accepting responsibility. Your attorney will navigate the claim and legal process to advocate on your behalf.
How to Prove Negligence in a Bike Accident
It’s essential to secure the help of a skilled personal injury attorney who can help you collect, organize, and present sufficient evidence to prove an act of negligence. Such evidence may include things like:
- Surveillance from cameras
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Medical records
- Cell phone records
- Drug or alcohol tests
- Safety inspection records
- Police reports
When is the driver of a car responsible for a bike accident?
Keep in mind that every accident is different, and nothing is set in stone. However, there are common instances when a motor vehicle driver will likely be held liable for a bike accident.
Drivers have a legal duty to drive safely, and violating this duty can lead to citations and accidents. If a motor vehicle operator’s negligence caused a bike accident, the cyclist will likely be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Consider the following scenarios in which this may be true:
- A driver ran a red light
- A driver ran or passed through a stop sign
- A driver was speeding
- A driver merged or changed lanes without checking their blind spots
- A driver engaged in distracted driving
- A driver engaged in drunk or drugged driving
It's safe to assume that if a driver violated traffic regulations during the crash, there’s a good chance that they will be held liable for the bicycle accident.
We’ve Helped Recover Millions for Our Bike Accident Clients
Our hardworking personal injury attorneys at Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices are devoted to righting the wrongs committed against our clients and their families. We’re available 24/7 to assist our fellow New Yorkers who have been involved in bike accidents, e-bike accidents, scooter accidents, bus accidents, car accidents, construction accidents, and more. Our firm has helped countless clients like you collect the compensation they rightfully deserve and have a successful track record to prove it.
We make it a point to prioritize each client’s unique needs and personal goals above all else. Our personal injury lawyers understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that an unexpected accident can take on a person and their family. When it comes to protecting your rights and health, don’t settle for less than exemplary legal representation from our experienced attorneys.
Injured in a NY bike accident? Don't wait to take action. Call (718) 690-3132 or contact us online today to request your free consultation.