Bicyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in New York. There is no getting away from the fact that bicyclists involved in car accidents typically fare far worse than the occupants of enclosed vehicles. However, traumatic accidents are preventable if both motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road. Legally, bicyclists and motorists have the same rights and responsibilities on the roadways.
Safety tips for bicyclists
Cyclists have none of the protection that other motorists have. However, wearing a helmet and bright or reflective clothing is the best place to start. Taking the following precautions might keep bicyclists out of harm’s way:
- Ride with a white light on the front and a red light on the rear of the bike after dark or in low visibility conditions.
- Do not ride against the traffic flow.
- Be alert and observant to avoid road hazards like train tracks, grates, potholes or pebbles.
- Drive defensively and try to anticipate the actions of others.
- Never disregard road markings, signals or street signs.
- Bicyclists must never assume that motorists are aware of them.
- Texting, music and any other distractions increase the already high level of risk for cyclists.
Safety tips for motorists
The sooner potential hazards are noticed, the better the chances of avoiding accidents. Motorists must be considerate and treat bicyclists as they would the drivers of other vehicles, and take the following precautions:
- Motorists must yield to cyclists when applicable.
- Lookout for bicycle riders in intersections and driveways before turning or backing up.
- Always check for bicycles in the right rear of the vehicle before turning to the right.
- Give cyclists enough space and avoid passing too closely.
Any bicyclist who suffers injuries due to a motorist’s negligence in New York likely has grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court. For such a claim to be viable, the plaintiff must prove another party’s negligence. A successfully navigated claim can lead to a monetary judgment to cover documented financial and other damages.