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Be careful when riding that bike - some common causes of accidents

Posted by Scott M. Peterson | Sep 08, 2017

Late summer/early Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy a bike ride in New York State, with the air crisp and the leaves changing.  You'll often see parents (including us) out with their children, teaching them to ride on two wheels or taking them for a beginner's ride. 

But with increased riding come risks, and it's important to be aware of and protect against them.  Below are some common risks when riding a bike.

The Right Turn


You're riding down the street with traffic, following the law.  You approach an intersection, with the light green in your favor.  As you proceed through the light, a car approaches from behind, and turns right (without a signal), directly into your path.  You try to brake, but on a bike, that only means an accident.

We have seen individuals on bikes suffer severe injuries as a result of the improper right turn by a motor vehicle.  Practically, cyclists should do everything they can to be aware of the potential for a vehicle to make a right turn, and be sure that they make efforts to ensure that they are visible.

Legally, the driving of the car making the right turn – and thereby causing the accident – is likely negligent, and they should have been aware of bicyclists in their path (as well as pedestrians).  A serious injury under these circumstances may warrant consideration of a claim with the driver's insurance company.

The Right on Red


This type of accident happens when the bicyclist is riding – again with traffic – through an intersection with a green light.  A driver in the other position – at the red light – makes a right turn on red, without noticing the bicyclist coming across the intersection, causing a collision. 

Legally, the operator of the car has an obligation to be aware of cars, pedestrians or bicyclists moving across the intersection with the green light, and the failure to notice the bicyclist is likely negligent. 


The Distracted Driver


If you know us at all, you'll know that distracted driving is something that we grow more concerned about each day.  The proliferation of technology has made people as a whole more distracted, and despite the existence of laws against texting while driving, the practice is still ubiquitous. 

From a New York bicyclist's perspective, avoiding an accident as a result of a distracted driver can be somewhat difficult.  You never really know when the operator of a car will receive a text message, look down to read it, and swerve, driving the bicyclist off of the road and causing injury.   The best thing a cyclist can do is try to be as aware as possible of other cars, and when possible create some space between the vehicles and the bike.

Legally, there is often little question that if the driver of a car strikes or runs a bicyclist off of the road because he was distracted, he is legally liable.  In this situation, it is likely that the driver violated New York State laws governing operation of a motor vehicle, and was clearly negligent in failing to take reasonable caution in operating the car in a non-distracted way.

The above are only a few examples of the dangers to those riding a bicycle on the road.  By taking some extra precautions (wearing bright, reflective clothing, riding during daylight hours, wearing a helmet), you can help to reduce the risk, but unfortunately you cannot control other people in their operation of cars. 

If you have been hurt as a result of a bicycle accident contact us today.  We're happy to help.

About the Author

Scott M. Peterson

Scott M. Peterson is the founding partner of D'Orazio Peterson, having left a partnership at a large regional law firm to limit his practice and focus on helping people protect their families.

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