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Biking Brooklyn

/ Bicycle Accidents /

Biking BrooklynNEW YORK – No one enjoys the morning commute – it takes time and effort and, in almost every case, it costs money. In New York, we have more options. Not only can you drive to work, millions of New Yorkers choose to walk. If your job isn’t within walking distance, there’s the train, the subway, the ferry, or the typical New York cab.

One of the fastest growing trends however is to commute via bicycle.

Whatever way you choose to commute, it can be a hassle. But few have a more difficult time than bicyclists. A Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the infrastructure is already in place for most commuters but bicyclists don’t always have an avenue for their wheels.

“Pedestrians have sidewalks, cars have roads and trains have tracks in Brooklyn,” bicycle accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Although we’ve seen some improvements, there are big sections of Brooklyn that don’t have any bike lanes.”

According to the New York City Department of Transportation, Brooklyn has over 83 miles of protected bike lanes, which have reduced bike accidents by 20 percent where the lanes are available. While 83 miles sounds like a lot of ground to cover, it only covers 16 percent of Brooklyn’s road surface.

Bike lanes, or the lack of them, could have a real impact on road safety too. The number of cyclists killed by New York traffic in 2016 already matches the total number of deaths from 2015, according to the New York Times. And we’re just wrapping-up the eighth month of the year. With four more months to go, Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers are urging drivers to be careful – especially roads without marked bike lanes.

“Bike lanes can be great for New York and they’re driving-up the number of bicyclists on city streets,” Barnes said. “It becomes a problem when cyclists get on a street that doesn’t have bike lanes – they’re entitled to use the road but they’re much more vulnerable than a driver so motorists must learn to share the road so we can avoid future tragedies.”

One such tragedy occurred this week on Graham Avenue near Scholes Street in Williamsburg. The New York Daily News reports a bicyclist is fighting for his life after an accident on Graham Ave., one of the many streets without a bike lane in Brooklyn.

The 33-year-old bicyclist flipped off his bike when a driver opened the door of their parked car on Graham Ave. The bicyclist was then run over by another vehicle, which remained on scene until first responders arrived in Williamsburg.

“Bicyclists who are struck by a vehicle could have a long and difficult recovery ahead,” Barnes said. “Our firm helps them and their families get the best result possible.

“We can help bicyclists get the medical attention they need and the best follow-up care. We also fully investigate the accident which includes just about everything: driving records of the motorists involved, road conditions, whether the street had a protected bike lane or not, we make sure we look at every aspect so that our clients get the recovery they need.”

The Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes also help crash victims recover lost wages, missing time from work, child care, transportation issues, and compensation for pain and suffering.

For more legal information or bike safety tips, Like Cellino & Barnes on Facebook.

1 in 5 Bicycle Injuries Happen in Bike Lanes

/ Bicycle Accidents /

1 in 5 Bicycle Injuries Happen in Bike LanesNEW YORK – The city started painting more lines on its streets – not to increase traffic flow but to improve safety for bicyclists. While many reports say bike lanes are certainly safer, they aren’t fool proof.

According to new research on bicycle lanes, one in five bicycle injuries occur in marked bike lanes. Almost every time, the bicyclist is hit by a car.

A Manhattan bicycle accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes said many drivers continue to be distracted on the roads and they fail to spot a bicyclist – even if the cyclist is using a proper bike lane.

“Crashes involving bicyclists usually happen when a car is turning and has to cross over a bike path in Manhattan,” bicycle accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “It’s a driver’s responsibility to pay attention and use caution when making turns but many drivers are too distracted to be aware of their surroundings.”

Nearly 200 bicyclists who spent at least one night in the hospital agreed to take part in the recent survey which was published in Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Half of all bike lane crashes occurred when a car and a bicyclist were traveling toward each other from opposite directions. In these cases, cyclists reported that the vehicle cut in front of them while making a left-hand turn.

One-third of the accidents happened when a bicyclist and a driver were traveling next to each other, going in the same direction.

“Drivers making right-hand turns often keep looking straight ahead instead of looking to their right, where they intend on going,” Cellino said. “It’s important to slow down and check your side-view mirrors for bicyclists and pedestrians before making any turns.”

The researchers who conducted the study stressed that their findings should not be an indicator that bike lanes are dangerous. In fact, they stated that streets with bike lanes still had lower crash risks than those without them.

For that reason, cities like New York continue adding new bike lanes every year in an effort to make the streets safer for bicyclists, who have long advocated the addition of bike lanes to city infrastructure.

Manhattan bicycle accident lawyers say bike lanes also attract more riders than roads without markings and cyclists feel safer when traveling in a marked lane. Researchers said the high number of bicyclists using bike lanes likely factored into the sudden spike in crashes. However, there’s hope that the trend will slow down and perhaps future studies will show that bike lanes really do make the roads safer for cyclists in New York.

In many cases, a bicyclist could receive compensation for their injuries if they’ve been hit by a car. Manhattan bicycle accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say distracted motorists are most often to blame for bike accidents and a driver can be held liable for a cyclist’s injuries.

Cellino & Barnes is highly rated by clients on Martindale for quality of service and value of the settlement or verdict. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, call one of their attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

Bike Boom

/ Bicycle Accidents /

Bike BoomNEW YORK – Over the last quarter-century, we’ve seen Big Macs, colas, and prescription medications with a spate of unwholesome side effects. Through it all though, one healthy trend has caught-on: bicycling.

A New York City Department of Transportation report found the Big Apple has experienced a 320% daily increase in cycling since 1990. Their statistics show there are now more than 420,000 riders on city streets today – up from just around 100,000 in the 90’s.

A Brooklyn bicycle accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said this is good news for the health-conscious people in New York but safety remains an issue.

“The city is constantly building new bike lanes and infrastructure for cyclists in Brooklyn,” bicycle accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Unfortunately, many drivers don’t give cyclists the right of way and it can create some dangerous situations in the city.”

The DOT says the new data shows a cultural shift in bike riding; and city planning needs to keep up.

Officials believe the boom was sparked, in part, by recent redesigns of city streets. This includes more than 1,000 miles of bike lanes and the introduction of Citi Bike, the nation’s largest bike-sharing network.

Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers say with the biking boom, New York Police officers are also recording more traffic accidents. According to city statistics, more than 4,000 cyclists were injured in the five boroughs in 2014.

“Despite infrastructure improvements, accidents are occurring more often,” Barnes said. “Bikes don’t have airbags or seat belts so collisions can be very dangerous and motor vehicle operators need to be more aware than ever.”

Unfortunately, Barnes says drivers are more distracted than ever.

A recent highway study found that more than 80% of crashes involved a distracted driver and more than half of near-crashes had a distracted driver behind the wheel.

Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes are now urging drivers to pay attention and watch for both cyclists and pedestrians on city streets.

If you’ve been injured while riding a bike, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact a lawyer at Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation or visit the Cellino & Barnes LinkedIn page for more information.

Is Your City Safe for Bicycles?

/ Bicycle Accidents /

City Safe for BicyclesNEW YORK – The popularity of bike-riding is exploding across America and it’s grabbing headlines – both good ones and bad ones. Few places have seen a larger bike boom than New York; but recently, there have been a number of reported crashes involving bicycles, begging the question: is the Big Apple safe for bicycles?

This week, witnesses told a New York news station that a bike rider slammed into a two year-old toddler ‘at a high rate of speed,’ apologized then left.

Last November, a bicycle crash involving U2 frontman Bono grabbed global headlines. The incident happened in Central Park and the award-winning singer had to undergo surgery. Bono had feared he ‘may never play guitar again.’

These are just the incidents that don’t involve vehicles, a Manhattan car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said. There are many more incidents each day off the bike paths and on the streets.

“Bicyclists and pedestrians are getting hurt more often in New York,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Most bicyclists don’t even think of insurance to cover these costs; and when they’re at fault in an accident, it can make an already painful situation worse.”

When comparing monthly statistics, cycling in New York City is more dangerous today than it was just three years ago. Injuries stemming from bike accidents have increased by over 25 percent, reaching nearly 570 incidents last month.

In the same time frame, injuries to pedestrians and motorists have dropped as the city continues to implement its Vision Zero plan.

“Preventing injuries needs community involvement,” Cellino said. “Each person can make slight changes to the way they drive, bike and walk – these slight changes can improve the health and safety of everyone around you.”

Car accident attorneys say motorists should be aware of their surroundings and courteous to bicyclists sharing the road. At the same time, bicyclists must be mindful too. It is often required by law to use roadways, not sidewalks, when operating a bike. Bicyclists are also required to obey the same rules motorists do on the streets.

If everyone takes small steps to improve safety, car accident attorneys hope injuries can be prevented.

NYPD Crack Down on Cyclists

/ Bicycle Accidents /

NYPD Crack Down on CyclistsNEW YORK – The number of bicycle summons handed out by police has spiked drastically in just one year. According to the Brooklyn Paper, officers in the 78th Precinct wrote 151 tickets to cyclists for cell phone use in 2014.

Alongside the city’s Vision Zero campaign, police have been extremely active when it comes to issuing traffic citations for cell phone use, texting while driving and distracted driving. The Gothamist reports NYPD Legal Affairs believes state traffic laws applying to motor vehicles also technically apply to the operation of bicycles, however some bicyclists are attempting to fight their citations.

“Motorists will most often bear responsibility if there’s an accident on the streets of New York,” bike accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “However, a jury may determine a distracted bicyclist bears some responsibility for a crash and that could decrease the amount of damages a defendant receives if they are injured as a result of an accident.”

Police are not just cracking down on distracted cyclists but also those who blatantly ignore traffic laws. According to DNAinfo, bicycle summons have gone up 600 percent this month; targeting cyclists who run red lights and stop signs.

“Bicyclists are subject to some of the same traffic laws motor vehicle operators are subjected to,” Barnes said. “Many of the serious bicycle accidents that happen are due, in part, by bicyclists ignoring these rules of the road.”

In many areas, including New York City (see § 19-176 – Bicycles operation on sidewalks prohibited), riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is considered illegal but it is rarely enforced.

New York bike accident attorneys say bicyclists should consider the recent uptick in citations as a reminder that it is best practice to follow the same rules of the road as drivers do. In many cases, cyclists are required to follow these laws, which were created to make streets safer.


Biking Statistics Often Ignored

/ Bicycle Accidents /

Biking Statistics Often IgnoredBUFFALO, N.Y. – For years, bicyclists across the country voiced their concerns about safety, or the lack of safety, in many major U.S. cities. However, statistics show some of those cities still lack the proper infrastructure for a safe riding environment.

Many communities are now beginning to rethink the way roads, streets and intersections are designed to account for bicyclists. Bike lanes are a relatively new development for east coast cities but are commonly incorporated into new road designs. However, a well-planned infrastructure may not be enough.

Research and statistics suggest both driver and bicyclist education should accompany redeveloped roads, said bicycle accident attorney Ross Cellino of the law firm, Cellino & Barnes.

“Many drivers seem to forget we all need to share the road,” Cellino said. “In most areas, a bicyclist has just as much of a right to use that street as a driver does.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last collected bicycle accident statistics with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2012. That year, 726 bicyclists died in traffic accidents and 30 percent of those deaths happened at intersections.

“That tells us there’s a real problem today making bicyclists extremely vulnerable at traffic lights and stop signs,” Cellino said. “Drivers should be more aware of bicyclists and pay particular attention to their surroundings when making left and right turns.”

The NHTSA data also suggests bicyclists should be educated on the rules and courtesies of the road as well.

Although it is not illegal in some areas, bicyclists found to be riding without a helmet greatly increased the risk of serious injury or death and according to statistics, one in four bicyclists killed had blood alcohol concentrations registering over .08 grams per deciliter.

“Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and they’re required to obey the same courtesies and rules of the road as everyone else,” Cellino said. “That means stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic signals, and yielding to others.”

According to the 2012 statistics, 49,000 bicyclists were treated in hospitals after a crash in addition to the 726 fatalities. Independent studies discovered cities with higher education campuses were more vulnerable to bicycle accidents and many large campuses, like Ohio State University and the University of Illinois have since invested millions into developing safer infrastructure for bicyclists following high-profile accidents.

“Transportation departments are now constructing bike lanes to make the streets safer but drivers and bicyclists need to be aware of these changes and know how to safely navigate the roads together,” Cellino said. “Education is the biggest key to making streets safer for everyone.”

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