New York street gets traffic light as safety measure for cyclists

Cities such as New York City are known as much for their robust bicycling and pedestrian culture as they are for their vehicular traffic. With so many different modes of transportation being used along the same city streets, danger lurks for everyone, from drivers, to cyclists and pedestrians. Even in less high-traffic areas the danger exists, as any car accident attorney in New York knows.

The New York City Department of Transportation is seeking to reduce some of that danger by installing a traffic light on Howard Avenue, located on Grymes Hill in Staten Island. This area has been the scene of accidents involving vehicles and cyclists in the past. However, the death of a 29-year-old cyclist proved to be the tipping point, and prompted the Department of Transportation to introduce safety improvements in this dangerous area. The cyclist was a nursing student, and was killed by a hit and run driver.

Bicyclists, like drivers, must follow traffic laws. However, cyclists face greater danger on the road than drivers because they are not protected by safety devices such as seatbelts and air bags. A car crash involving a cyclist has the potential to cause serious or fatal injury to the cyclist. Generally, liability for an accident involving a bicycle and an automobile will depend upon negligence. If the driver caused the accident because of a failure to follow traffic laws, or a failure to use the appropriate level of care, the cyclist may be able to recover damages.

However, courts also consider whether the cyclist acted reasonably and according to traffic laws. Negligence on the part of the cyclist may reduce the damage award or could also prevent an award of damages.

Safe driving and cycling practices are of utmost importance in an area where cars and bicycles share the road. In addition to the traffic light, area residents have proposed additional safety measures, such as adding a speed bump, which would force drivers to slow down.

Source: Silive.com, “DOT adds traffic light near site of cyclist’s death on Staten Island’s Grymes Hill,” Michael Sedon, Oct. 10, 2012

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