Bicycling is an environmentally friendly way to explore Nassau County. We have some beautiful neighborhoods to explore, and biking is one way to cut down on emissions and bypass vehicle traffic. However, bicycling on roadways and in traffic can be dangerous, even deadly. Our Nassau County bicycle accident attorneys understand the pain and trauma that a catastrophic bicycle accident can cause and are here to help.
Almost 20,000 bicyclists are injured or killed as a result of roadway accidents in the country each year. Bicycles don’t offer much in terms of protection, and it is easy for motorists to overlook bicyclists in urban and suburban settings.
New York Bicycle Helmet Law
The state of New York has laws governing the requirement to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. All riders age 14 or younger must wear a helmet whenever they are operating a bicycle or are a passenger. The helmet must meet the state’s safety requirements as well.
The law requires that the helmet fits properly on the rider. The helmet must fit squarely on the head in a level position and cover the top of the forehead down to about an inch above the eyebrows. The helmet should fit snugly so that it does not move back and forth or side to side.
You should replace a helmet worn during a bicycle accident immediately, even if there is no obvious damage to it.
In addition to the laws regarding helmet wearing, bicycle riders must comply with all applicable street laws. This includes coming to a complete stop at stop signs, riding the right way with traffic, yielding to vehicles that have the right-of-way, and obeying traffic signs.
Obeying helmet laws and complying with traffic laws help to protect you from being in an accident or suffering serious injury or death if you are in a crash. Following these laws is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from injury while riding a bicycle.
It is important to keep in mind that even if you failed to follow the laws and this resulted in your accident, you may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Often, both parties may have violated some laws. For example, if you failed to stop at the stop sign, but the car that hit you was speeding at the time. Additionally, because of New York’s comparative negligence laws, if you were partly at fault for the accident by breaking a street law, it may reduce your compensation, but it does not take away your right to seek compensation entirely. For additional information regarding New York’s bike helmet law, speak with a seasoned Nassau County bicycle accident attorney.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Accidents at an Intersection With a Stop Sign
The most common type of bicycle accident that our Nassau County personal injury lawyers have seen occurs where the cyclist approaches an intersection with a stop sign and the motorist does not. The cyclist may not realize the car is not required to stop, or may not notice the approaching vehicle, but when a bicycle pulls in front of an oncoming car, the accident that results is often tragic for the cyclist.
Another common accident is at an intersection where the driver must stop, and the bicyclist does not. The cyclist, in this case, has the right of way, but the driver may fail to see the cyclist, fail to stop or be traveling too fast to stop, and so crashes into the bicyclist.
Riding Against Traffic
There has long been the myth that cyclists are more visible to vehicles if they ride against the traffic. In fact, drivers are not looking for bicycles coming in the wrong direction and so may not see them in time to avoid an accident.
Cars Turning Left
Another of the most common types of bicycle accidents occurs when a car and a bicycle approach an intersection from opposite directions and the driver is turning left. The driver often fails to see the bicycle as he or she looks for cars coming before turning. The cyclist may be unaware the car intends to turn left or expects the driver to properly yield the right of way. Unfortunately, this type of accident often results in serious injuries or even death for the cyclist.
When riding by a line of parked cars, it is common for a driver or passenger on the driver’s side to open their door just as the bicycle is passing. Often this happens right in front of the cyclist, so he or she does not have time to react and crash into the door. The driver and passenger have the responsibility to ensure it is safe to open the door, but many times they may not see the oncoming cyclist or fail to look before opening the door.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Injuries to cyclists involved in accidents with cars often result in serious injuries as there is no safety equipment protecting the cyclist.
Injuries to the arms, legs, hands, and feet are common in bicycle crashes, and limbs often break. Fractured limbs can take weeks to heal, limiting your ability to perform everyday tasks or return to your usual work.
Facial injuries occur when a cyclist is thrown from the bicycle and hits his or her face on the pavement or ground. Scarring and significant disfiguration can occur from these injuries. Additionally, the cyclist may suffer damage to the teeth or jaw.
Neck injuries are some of the most common injuries to result from a bicycle accident. The neck is vulnerable to the forces in an accident. Trauma to the neck can range from soreness and stiffness to serious damage to the neck and spine. Paralysis can result from severe neck injuries.
Damage to the head and brain are serious injuries often resulting from bicycle crashes. Wearing a helmet can all but eliminate these injuries, except in extremely serious crashes. Brain trauma can result in headaches, loss of motor control, difficulty forming memories, confusion, and a lack of ability to perform basic tasks and personal hygiene.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Nassau County
As Nassau County bicycle accident lawyers, we know that the actions you take immediately after your bicycle accident can help ensure the protection of your rights and that you get the compensation you need to pay for expensive medical bills and replace lost wages after your injury.
Call 911 immediately after your crash for police and medical personnel. Even if you believe your injuries are not serious, many symptoms are not obvious to anyone who isn’t a medical professional and could develop into something more serious over time. Getting prompt medical attention will provide documentation of your injuries and make it clear they were the result of your accident and not suffered later.
Always wait for the police to arrive and be sure to give them your account of what happened. The police are rarely on hand to witness the accident personally and can only put in the report what people tell them at the scene.
Do not exaggerate or downplay your injuries. Do not stretch the truth to make the driver seem more at fault or downplay any blame you might have in the accident. Simply stick to the facts of the case. Even if you contributed to the accident, you may still be eligible for compensation. But, if you misrepresent the facts, you can damage your case.
Do not attempt to repair your bike while waiting for the police. It is best to leave it alone as far as possible. Take pictures of your bicycle at the scene. Take pictures of any injuries you suffered, the condition of your clothes and helmet, the scene of the accident, and anything else that might be relevant to your case.
Exchange information with the driver involved in the accident. Keep calm and try to keep conversation to a minimum. Do not admit any fault in the crash, even if you believe you were responsible. In the shock after the accident, you may not be thinking clearly, and you likely do not have all the facts available to you at the time.
Try to get contact information for any witnesses to the accident right away. Tracking down witnesses later can be difficult, or even impossible, and they can provide vital information to confirm the facts of your case.
Contacting a Bike Accident Lawyer in Nassau County
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycling accident, you’ll need the guidance of an experienced Nassau County bicycle accident attorney to help you determine the potential for a personal injury claim. The attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP have decades of experience handling bicycling accident cases throughout New York. Our firm has been in practice since 1983 and we are dedicated to staying current with the quickly changing laws and regulations that govern motorists and bicyclists.
Bicycling laws differ in every state, and when you are injured, you need an attorney you can count on to know the complexities of the laws in New York. Our attorneys understand how bicycles are regulated in our state and the laws that govern them.
Our Firm’s Experience
Our firm’s experience in bicycle cases is strengthened by our attorneys’ instrumental work in changing bicycle laws in the state. Among our notable achievements is an appellate court ruling in our favor that rejected the notion that bicyclists who ride on roadways are assuming the risk of injury. The precedent has been helpful in proving claims in subsequent cases.
A bicycle accident can lead to excessive medical expenses, loss of income and wages, and loss of quality of life, among other effects. It is important to us that you receive the compensation you need to regain as much of your quality of life as possible. Our Nassau County bicycle accident attorneys can help you recover damages so that you can get back to healing, leaving the bicycle accident in the past.
Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP uses contingency fee structuring so our personal injury clients don’t have to worry about paying legal fees on top of other injury costs. We don’t charge any fees until we have secured compensation on your behalf. Allow us to help you, and we’ll work diligently to ensure that your rights are championed and you receive the compensation you deserve.