With all this great weather we’ve been having here in the Finger Lakes, I’ve been getting out on my road bike quite a bit. I try to cram in two or three 30-milers during the work week and one long one on the weekend.
Since I’ve got cycling on my mind, my next few blogs will thus be about cycling accidents, how to prevent them, and, god forbid, if you are hurt in one, how your lawyer should build your case.
Let’s start with cycling law. Motor vehicle laws are fairly consistent all across the country. Not necessarily so for bicycle laws. For example, Idaho cycling law allows bicyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign and a red light as a stop sign. Not here in New York. You’re actually required to STOP at stop signs and red lights.
Generally in New York State, Bicycles must follow the same rules as motor vehicles. But even though there is a near 100% overlap of rules for bikes and motor vehicles in New York, car-on-bike crashes are not like motor vehicle crashes.
First, statistically, they happen differently. The five most common car-on-bike collisions are:
(1) The left cross (the oncoming driver turns left in front of you);
(2) The right hook (the driver passes you on your left, then turns right, cutting you off);
(3) Dooring (parked car opens door – bang!),
(4) Parking lotting (driver exits parking lot without seeing you), and (5) The overtake (car strikes you while passing, or rear-ends you, even though you
are as far right as you can safely go).
If you re-read the five most common types of car-on-bicycle collisions above, you will see they all have one thing in common; the driver of the car just does not see the cyclist. That explains why, in the majority of cases, the driver cuts left across the cyclist’s path, cuts him off turning right, opens the door as the cyclist come through, pulls out of the parking lot into him, and hits him while overtaking him.
The car-on-bike collision is different from the car-on-car collision in another way, too: Damages. The bike, and biker, take almost the full thrust of the g-forces. The car, and especially the car driver, walk away unscathed.
Because car-on-bike collisions are so different, the investigation, discovery and trial techniques must also be different. My next blog will discuss bike accident investigations aimed at building a New York personal injury bicycle accident case. Stay tuned!
And keep safe!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.