Accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles happen almost every day in New York City. In some cases, no one gets hurt. But one serious injury, or fatality, due to collisions involving two and four, or more, wheeled vehicles is one too many and Mayor de Blasio, via his admirably pro-active Vision Zero Action Program, is trying to make city streets safer for all pedestrians, including those who enjoy, or make a living, traversing the frenetic maze of city streets and avenues of New York by bike.
Recent reports by local lawmakers and various bicycle safety advocacy organizations have pointed to the surprisingly low number of serious injuries and deaths caused by bicycle accidents in the city since the launch of former Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial Citi Bike, bike-share program.
“It’s been more than a year since intrepid New Yorkers and tourists began using those hefty-built blue Citi Bikes,” Mitchel Ashley, a top New York City bicycle accident injury lawyer said. “Fortunately, there have only been a very small number, approximately 100, crash reports and zero fatalities out of the approximately 8.75 million trips taken thus far.” Of those 100 crashes, only 25 peddlers warranted a trip to the emergency room, according to Citi Bike.”
But pundits predict this trend won’t continue forever. One senior DOT official was quoted as saying that “as long as there are humans driving cars on big-city streets, there will be accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.”
Mitchel pointed out that when accidents do happen and someone gets hurt it can lead to a civil action. And when a lawsuit does ensue, the accuracy of the police report could have a significant bearing on the outcome of the case and the size of the plaintiff’s settlement, or jury verdict.
“Unfortunately,” Mitchel said, “the use of glib, handwritten crash reports, which are standard practice in the city, are hardly an optimal way for the plaintiff’s, or the defense’s lawyer, to present evidence in a case.
“Instead of jotting notes down on a clip board,” he added, “I think police officers should be using electronic tablets, like an iPad, specially equipped with dropdown menus that have specific vehicle/bicycle codes. This way it could make it simple for the officer to distinguish whether the bicyclist crashed into a the driver’s open car door, or whether the cyclist was riding inside a painted bike lane when hit.”
Mitchel said that tablet devices also could include data like coded photos of vehicles and bicycles that could be automatically uploaded onto computers and spreadsheets and used by investigators for analysis of the accident.
“Accurate police reporting,” Mitchel explained, “could make a big difference in determining what happened in a crash, and who is at fault. In all of my years handling bicycle accident cases in New York City, only a handful the police reports I’ve read were written well enough to properly describe the accident. Most range from bad to worse.”
If you are injured by a motor vehicle when riding a bicycle in New York City, we recommend you contact the top New York bicycle accidents lawyers at The Ashley Law Firm immediately.