Bicyclists deal with unique risks on NYC streets. They share the roadway with cars, buses, and trucks, but their small size and slower speeds mean they are not always seen and are not protected in crashes like the occupants of motor vehicles. Those are the normal risks, but sometimes those are compounded when motor vehicles don’t follow the rules of the road. In a news story from last year, a Brooklyn bicyclist was killed when he was hit by a truck on his way home. The 18-wheeler truck was driving on a residential street without a permit.
Residents of the area criticized the city’s lack of enforcement of truck regulations. Trucks driving on residential roads are prohibited for a reason. Those roads are typically narrower and they are filled with pedestrians and bicyclists that may not be seen well by large trucks. But regardless of whether these truck laws are enforced, bicyclists face increased risk from motor vehicle crashes. According to the NYC Department of Transportation Bicycle Crash Data Report, there were nearly 4000 bicyclist injuries in crashes involving motor vehicles in NYC in 2016.
Last year, Utah-based Auto Insurance Center, an online resource for car insurance consumers, analyzed a year’s worth of traffic accident data from the city’s OpenData portal. They determined that “the most vulnerable type of vehicle in New York City traffic accidents is the bicycle: 77.5 percent of collisions involving bikes resulted in an injury.” And Brooklyn is the scene of the majority of bike collisions, with the worst area being Brooklyn’s 88th police precinct, which is in the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene section of the borough.
The dangers faced by bicyclists hit by cars are why street safety advocacy groups fight for more bicycle lanes and more enforcement of traffic rules. When bicyclists and motor vehicles mix, the bicyclist is the one at most risk.
If you were hit by a motor vehicle while bicycling, contact us for a consultation.