Biking in New York City poses numerous dangers.
One ares of danger is to bicyclists themselves. Bikers are at serious risk of being hit by cars, taxis, buses or trucks. Last year alone, 21 bicyclists were killed in accidents involving motor vehicles. Many more were injured.
In large part, this is due to the fact that bike riders do not have the same physical protection that drivers and passengers in vehicles do. So even in a situation where a car has a low speed “fender benderk,” a bicycle rider may sustain catastrophic injuries in that same accident.
Dansker & Aspromonte has represented many bike riders in very serious injury cases.
But a New York City bike accident can also involve a bicycle rider running into a pedestrian. About 500 pedestrians have to be hospitalized each year in the city because of injuries sustained when they were struck by bicyclists.
One case recently handled by Dansker & Aspromonte involved a fatality when an elderly woman was struck by a bicycle messenger.
The problem has to be addressed, because the city continues to expand the number of bike lanes. By 2030, there may be as many as 1,800 more miles of bike lanes.
Safety advocates have been lobbying the New York Police Department to keep better records on bike accidents. Such records are needed to get a clearer picture of how many injuries bike accidents cause – and take appropriate steps to prevent them.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly now agrees that the department should track these accidents.
In the past, the NYPD merely filled out brief informational cards for bike accidents. Going forward, however, the department will write up a full accident report, akin to what is done for car crashes.
“The reporting process will allow the department to track bicycle accidents like typical car accidents,” said Inspector Kim Royster, a spokeswoman for the NYPD.
The NYPD remains under pressure, though to investigate serious bike accidents more thoroughly. Currently, police are not required to investigate bike accidents unless someone seems likely to die.
It remains to be seen how designated bike lanes will affect accidents in the future. We will report developments here as we learn them.
Source: “NYPD begins tracking bicycle accidents,” Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News, 4-6-12