Bicycling as a form of commute has increased dramatically over the last few decades, as more and more Americans understand the value of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In fact, the total number of people in the nation that bike to work has increased from 466,856 to 664,859 between 1990 and 2007. With more bicyclists on the road, the number of accidents and fatalities has similarly increased.
Accidents can take any shape or form. When most people think of an accident, they imagine two motor vehicles. But what happens when someone is struck while riding the bike? Do the same rules apply?
In Manhattan alone, more than 3,400 bicyclist accidents occurred between 1996 and 2003. Fortunately for victims of bicycle accidents, there are personal injury laws to protect their interests. If involved in an accident as a bicyclist, the first course of action is calling 911. It is of the utmost importance that your health and safety are your first priority. Generally, police officers will arrive at the scene and make a police accident report, noting down the key characteristics of the scene of the accident, along with taking statements and collecting contact information from witnesses.
After you’re sure that you’re in a safe place and have rested, contact an attorney to discuss your options. No matter what type of accident you are involved in, the dedicated team at Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn is always available to handle your legal inquiries. The time to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of New York is typically about three years, so understanding the statute of limitations and how it applies to your case is critical for preserving your rights and protecting your interests.
Failing to seek legal assistance can be fatal to an individual’s claim. For those without a rainy day fund, medical bills lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses can destroy a household. The attorneys at Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn are knowledgeable in this area of personal injury and will be able to leverage your position to exhaust all of your options. We will conduct a thorough investigation to make sure that any available evidence is preserved, that any potential witnesses are interviewed and that all of your rights are protected.
Most people are unaware that the same laws that apply to motor vehicle operators apply to cyclists (with some exceptions). This means that all drivers on the road have a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe and prudent manner. Causing an accident with an individual on a bicycle can lead to liability as a result of negligent behavior. But there are rules that apply to bicyclists as well. The law requires that bicyclists ride in the flow of traffic and wear helmets if under the age of fourteen. A word of caution: a bicycle must be equipped with brakes, a bell or horn, and specific lights if operated a ½ hour after sunset or before sunrise. New bicycles and those ridden at night must additionally have reflective tires or wide-angle, spoke-mounted reflectors.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, or if you have questions or concerns about your legal rights, contact Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn for a free consultation as soon as possible. We serve clients throughout the state of New York.