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Why Emptier Streets Are More Dangerous In New York

The coronavirus pandemic hit New York City especially hard in the first few months that the virus spread across the United States. Traffic on the streets mirrored the logical trend of more people staying home and only going out when necessary – it decreased dramatically. But the New York Times reported a troubling statistic emerged alongside this trend. There were more deadly car accidents in 2020 than usual in the city.

This is despite the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted a plan in 2014 to increasingly improve safety on the streets, named Vision Zero. This plan aimed to completely eliminate traffic-related deaths in the city by 2024. With the upward trend of accidents occurring during the pandemic, this goal is becoming more unrealistic. But how did this happen?

The New York Times suggested that because New Yorkers felt isolated, cramped, and bored in their homes while attempting to shield themselves from the virus, they took to the streets to blow off some steam and recapture their freedom. This translated to a higher number of motorcycle riders and street racers on the roads than the city normally sees on an average night.

Because of this increased trend in reckless driving, car and motorcycle accident-related deaths rose 76% in one year. In 2019, the city recorded 68 motor vehicle deaths. But in 2020, that number rose to 120. However, the article reported that the number of pedestrian- and bicycle-related deaths dropped in 2020, related to past years.

NY Mirrors a National Trend

So, even though the city streets are still not as crowded as they were before the pandemic, they likely still have more reckless drivers on them than on an average, pre-pandemic day. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2020, traffic-related deaths increased across the nation. This federal agency recorded traffic-related deaths in all states and found that the coronavirus pandemic is likely connected to this higher number of deaths on our streets.  

Elderly and older people tended to stay home more often than younger people as the virus gained a chokehold on the country. Older people are generally more cautious, slower drivers, and therefore tend to cause fewer traffic accidents due to speeding. But younger, more adventurous drivers tend to cause accidents while speeding or driving recklessly. And because young people had less incentive to stay home during the pandemic, they were more likely to be on the roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also believes that an increase in drug and alcohol usage during the pandemic is a factor in increased accidents. While Americans turned to substances to cope with the stress of the pandemic – from unemployment to a sickness in the family to strained finances – substance-related traffic accidents spiked across the nation.

Contact a New York Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a motorcycle or car accident in the New York City area, do not hesitate to reach out to the accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP immediately. Our lawyers have years of experience handling cases like yours and will fight to win the maximum compensation for you. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.


Bicyclists Forced to Navigate Snow-Covered Bike Lanes After Storm

The New York City Sanitation Commissioner apologized Monday for not having the equipment and resources necessary to quickly and efficiently remove snow from the city’s bike lanes. In a Streetsblog article, Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson admitted that while his department cleared snow from streets, it did not do the same for bike lanes and sidewalks.

Last Wednesday, a snowstorm dropped between 6 and 10 inches of snow on the city, one of the biggest storms in years. The New York Times lauded Grayson for quickly clearing the snow from the city’s streets but failed to mention the lack of effort made toward clearing the bike lanes. A photo accompanying the Streetsblog article shows a bike lane covered in snow and ice while the street next to it is clear.

The pandemic has cut Grayson’s workforce by about 400 people, leaving him with much less manpower than it takes to clean up a city as big as New York. Plus, the rise of outdoor dining during the pandemic has introduced new obstacles to the snowplows that have to travel up and down the streets.

New Plows Needed for Bike Lanes

Bike lanes have become increasingly popular as more New Yorkers opt to ride their bikes to work instead of taking the subway. As such, the city has added about 100 miles of bike lanes to the city’s 6,300 miles of streets since 2015, shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office. However, the increase in narrow bike lanes has not paralleled the increase in narrow snowplows needed for them. The city’s sanitation department has not purchased any new equipment that could be used for snow removal from bike lanes, according to Streetsblog.

Grayson told Streetsblog that his department is looking toward buying narrow plows to use on bike lanes, but at the moment, they do not have it in their budget to buy them. The smallest plows they have are eight and a half feet wide, which is too wide for many bike lanes. “It’s not that we don’t care. I want your readers to know that some of those smaller tractor units would be helpful. We just got decimated on what we are buying,” Grayson told Streetsblog.

While the roads have been long-cleared for people with cars, bicyclists are still waiting for some relief as far as snow removal. Navigating an icy lane deep with snow is basically impossible. And many bicyclists do not want to ride in the city streets alongside cars, buses, and taxis, who may not see them. It is the sanitation department’s policy to clear roads first and bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks second, but Grayson said he is actively working on doing better for the remainder of this winter and next winter.

Contact a New York Injury Attorney 

If you were injured in an accident in the New York City area, call the personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. Our team has the experience and determination it takes to win you the full and fair compensation. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.


Tesla Driver Hits and Injures Cyclist, Police Do Nothing

On Thursday morning, a New York City bicyclist was hit and seriously injured by the driver of a Tesla on Second Avenue, according to Streetsblog. A Streetsblog reporter witnessed the crash and the subsequent police response and recorded what he saw in his article.

First responders transported the injured cyclist to a nearby hospital while police officers spoke with the Tesla driver. After speaking with the driver and a witness to the accident, officers decided not to issue the driver a failure-to-yield ticket. NYPD Officer McCloud told the Streetsblog reporter that the crash was an accident, and that is why he did not issue a ticket to the driver.

The accident occurred at about 10 a.m. on Second Ave. near the 59th St. Bridge. A group of commuting cyclists, including the one riding an electric Citi bike who was later hit, was using the designated bike lane. A car was illegally parked in a “No Parking” spot right next to the bike lane, just before the entrance to a parking garage. As the cyclists passed the illegally parked car and the garage entrance, the white Tesla turned left into the garage entrance, hitting the Citi bike rider. The illegally parked car had blocked her view of the cyclists.

According to the Streetsblog reporter, the injured cyclist rolled over the Tesla’s hood and landed in the street. He screamed in pain and told witnesses he felt extreme pain in his back and lungs. Four minutes later, EMTs were loading him up into the back of an ambulance, taking him away before the police arrived.

NYPD Officer McCloud spoke at length with the Tesla driver but did not speak with the victim. After McCloud determined the timeline and the chain of events, he decided not to issue the driver a ticket for failure to yield, and the driver left.

According to Streetsblog, NYPD officers issued 63,955 failure-to-yield tickets to drivers between Jan. 1 and Oct. 1 of last year. This year, that number has dropped by more than 50%, suggesting that police officers are taking less initiative to discipline reckless drivers in the city. Every day in New York City, there are about 120 injury car crashes like the one that happened on Thursday. It is more likely than not that drivers who failed to yield to bicyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers regularly get away without even a ticket.

Contact a New York Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a bicycling accident in New York City, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. You do not need to navigate the legal process of claiming your full compensation alone. Don’t hesitate to contact the New York traffic accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to inquire how much your case could be worth. Our number is (212) 779-0057.


Bicycle Helmet Laws in New York

Riding a bicycle in the city is one of the best ways to get around. It’s free, it’s good exercise, and it gives you a close-up look at your surroundings. However, the lack of a protective barrier usually provided by a car necessitates some extra safety precautions.

In New York State, everyone under the age of 14 is required by law to wear a helmet while riding on a bicycle, even as a passenger. Children younger than one year of age are not allowed to ride as passengers on a bicycle. There are no explicit laws requiring adults to wear helmets while riding a bike in New York State, but some counties like Rockland and Erie counties have passed laws requiring anyone riding within the county to wear a helmet.

Even though there is no law specifically requiring adults to wear a helmet while bike riding, a helmet could be the difference between life and death in a serious accident. According to a report from CBS 2, helmets reduce the risk of serious injury in a bicycle accident by up to 85%. Likewise, a report from 2008 found that 91% of bike riders killed in accidents that year were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. There is no state in America that requires adults over the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, but it’s clearly important to wear one for public safety.  

According to the New York Police Department, 693 cyclists were injured in New York City in September 2020, and six cyclists died. Experts suggest that wearing a helmet could save your life in the event of a collision.

Still, children under the age of 14 are required by state law to wear a helmet any time they are riding on a bike. Parents could be fined up to $50 if their child is riding without one. Helmets can reduce the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury by 88% in the event of an accident.

Selecting a Bicycle Helmet

When shopping for a helmet, there are a few factors to take into consideration. The New York Health Department recommends looking for the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) sticker on the helmet. This ensures that the helmet meets safety standards. The helmet should sit on your head evenly and snugly, not tipping forward or backward. There should be about two finger widths distance between the front of the helmet and your eyebrows. Always keep the helmet buckled under your chin while riding.

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you were partly at fault. The New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can build your case and help you win maximum compensation for your injuries. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to schedule your free consultation.


New York City’s 12 most dangerous spots for pedestrians and cyclists

A report by localize.city, a website that analyzes street safety to give buyers and renters the full picture before they move, found that at least a dozen areas across the five New York City boroughs are significantly more dangerous. Alarmingly, in these 12 areas, pedestrians and cyclists are three times more likely to face injury or death from getting struck by a vehicle.

On average, these intersections saw about 238 crashes in the past five years involving cyclists and pedestrians, compared to the city’s average of 75. The researchers found that intersections under bridges or elevated tracks were significantly more dangerous than other streets.

  1. The area around the bridge in the south side of Williamsburg
  2. The intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Wyckoff Street in Ridgewood
  3. The border between University Heights and Fordham around Jerome Avenue
  4. The area between Atlantic Avenue and Willoughby Street
  5. The area between Pacific and Fulton streets, from Bedford to Brooklyn avenues
  6. Lower East Side/Little Italy/Soho: concentrated around Delancey/Kenmare Street
  7. Corona: general boundaries between 35th and Roosevelt Avenues, from 94th to 108th streets
  8. Jackson Heights: general boundaries between 37th Avenue and Broadway, from 76th Street to 84th Street/Whitney Avenue
  9. Flushing: general boundaries between College Point Avenue and Parsons Boulevard, from 37th to Franklin avenues
  10. Jamaica: general boundaries between 89th to 90th avenues, from 164th Street to 168th Place
  11. St. George/Tompkinsville: general boundaries from Jersey to Bay streets, between Victory Boulevard to Fort Place/Taft Avenue
  12. Stapleton: general boundaries between Bay and Van Duzer streets, from Wright to Tompkins streets

The heavy concentration of vehicles on New York City’s streets combined with the low visibility in areas directly under or around bridges can spell disaster for people trying to cross the street, either by foot or by bicycle. Take extra precautions in these areas of the city and call an attorney if you have been injured.

Contact a New York personal injury attorney

If you have been injured as a pedestrian or cyclist in New York, Hach & Rose, LLP can help you get justice and fair compensation. Our team has years of experience handling these types of cases and wants to help you win the compensation you deserve. Call our office at (347) 318-9604 or reach out online to discuss your legal options today.


Tips for winter commuting on a bicycle

If you live in New York City, sometimes it makes more sense to commute to work on a bicycle than on public transit. It’s fast, eco-friendly, and gives you a workout. According to nyc.gov, there are about 490,000 cycling trips made every day in the city.

But commuting on your bike during the winter can be challenging and sometimes dangerous. This article will give you some tips on how to stay safe and reduce your risk of getting into an accident while commuting.

  1. Try to ride on streets and trails that have already been snowplowed. In New York, there are 1,240 miles of bike lanes, and thanks to the metropolitan’s infrastructure, the streets get plowed regularly. Try to stay in the bike lanes when you can.
  2. Watch out for ice and salt on the roads. Both can cause your tires to skid, making you lose control and potentially steer into car traffic. Salt and snowplows sometimes create cracks in the pavement, so watch out for those as well.
  3. Practice defensive riding by making eye contact with car drivers and being prepared to adjust quickly for someone else’s bad driving.
  4. Designate one bike as your winter bike. Ice, snow, rain, salt, and frozen grit can damage bikes, so you don’t want your prized mountain bike exposed to those elements. Snag a cheap bicycle and add winter wheels, bright lights, and reflectors to it to make it winter-ready. Since it’s cheap and not your primary bicycle, making repairs and keeping it maintained will be easier.
  5. Pick the right tires. Fat, studded winter tires provide more traction in snow and ice and ride smoothly over bumps and cracks that skinny tires could get stuck in.
  6. Keep your bicycle clean and cold when you’re not using it. Store it in a backyard shed or lock it outside to keep it cold. Cold bikes are less likely to form ice on the brakes and gears.

Contact a New York bicycle accident lawyer

If you were hurt in a bike accident caused by a negligent driver, defective roadway, or another form of negligence, contact a New York bike accident lawyer at Hach & Rose, LLP for help right away. Our team will be ready to stand up for you when you call (212) 779-0057 to discuss your case.


Bicycle maintenance tips every commuter needs to know

If you are one of the 48,800 daily bicycle commuters in New York City, you need to know how to maintain your bike so you can keep riding safely. If there are undetected problems with your brake pads or gears, your risk of getting into an accident increases if these parts malfunction. Take a look at the bicycle maintenance tips below to learn how to best care for your bike.

  1. The most basic rule of thumb when it comes to bicycle maintenance is keeping your bike clean. Riding through city streets can leave your bike covered in dirt, dust, grit, and other nasty debris that could corrode it. Cleaning your road bike about once a month will prolong its lifetime and make maintenance less of a hassle.
  2. Check your tire pressure before every ride. The tire pressure can change depending on the outside temperature, so especially during the colder months, you should test out your tires before going out.
  3. Check your brake pads for signs of wear and tear. If they scrape or stick when you brake, or if the grooves in the pads are worn out, it’s time to get new ones.
  4. Regularly clean and lubricate your drive chain to extend the life expectancy of your bike.
  5. Learn how to fix a flat inner tube. Riding on city streets exposes your tires to glass, nails, and other harmful debris that could puncture your tires. Chances are you won’t be able to repair your tire on the side of the road on your way to work, but every bicyclist needs to know how to fix a punctured tire.
  6. Keep your tires inflated even if you know you won’t be riding your bike for a couple of months or years. This will help prevent cracks in the side of the tires and keep you from having to pay for new ones.

Contact a New York bicycle accident lawyer

If you were involved in an accident, contact the New York bike accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. Our team of dedicated injury lawyers will do everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (347) 318-9604 to schedule your free consultation today.


Bicyclist safety on the road and steps to take in case of an accident

If you ride your bicycle in and around New York City, chances are you have either seen someone else get hit or have almost been hit by a vehicle yourself. If you happen to be the victim of a collision, this post will also tell you what your next steps should be.

Bicycle safety tips

AAA offers some tips to keep in mind when riding your bike to reduce your risk of collision. 

Always wear a helmet

New York state law does not require adults to wear bicycle helmets, but studies have shown that having that extra piece of protection may reduce your risk for injury in case of an accident. Children under the age of 14 are required by state law always to wear a helmet when on a bicycle. 

Abide by traffic laws

You must ride with the flow of traffic, use turn signals, and abide by stoplights. When possible, use bike lanes and crosswalks, but do not ride on sidewalks. 

Use the entire lane when turning

When possible, try to take up enough space in a turning lane, so drivers are aware that you are there, and so that they won’t overtake you and potentially hit you. If you are turning left, try staying to the right side of the lane, then, once you have made the turn, move quickly to the right shoulder so cars can pass you if they need to. 

What to do if you have been involved in a bicycle crash

Below are some helpful tips if you’ve been hurt in a crash:

Report it the accident

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, if you were involved in a collision with a vehicle that occurred in severe injury or death, you must report it to the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of the incident. 

Do not speak with the driver’s insurance company

There is no reason why the victim should need to be in contact with the insurance company of the car driver. That’s what a personal injury attorney is for. The insurance company will try to weaken your case and give you as little money as possible. 

Hire a lawyer

New York’s “no-fault” law covers the victim’s medical bills regardless of whose fault the accident was. However, if the bicyclist was seriously injured and their medical bills exceed $50,000, then they have the right to file a personal injury claim against the driver for more compensation. A personal injury attorney can help guide you through the process of filing a claim. 

If you have been the victim of a bicycle accident, reach out to an experienced New York bike accident lawyer at Hach & Rose, LLP. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (212) 779-0057 for a free consultation today.


New York City’s Cyclist Death Toll is Rising

Riding your bicycle to work may seem like the most environmentally responsible move to make these days, rather than hop in your car and burn more fossil fuels. But if you live in a big city like New York, you may want to think twice.

A growing city population means more people on the roads, but the city government can’t keep up with the infrastructure improvements needed to make the city bike-friendly. NYPD data, according to an article by City Limits, reports that 27 NYC cyclists have been killed as of mid-December. But why is this number so high, when in 2018 the number of cyclist fatalities was only 10? There are a few factors, which become more lethal when they all occur simultaneously. The article outlines a few of them, below.

Distracted Driving

Smartphones are a major contributor to cyclist deaths because they tend to distract drivers with incoming texts, unopened Snapchat messages, Instagram likes, emails, etc. According to statistics from The Zebra, 51% of drivers with iPhones admitted to texting while driving, and roughly one-third of them said they take photos while driving.

Amazon Prime and other Delivery Services

The popularity of convenient services such as HelloFresh, Amazon Prime, Favor, UberEats, and Instacart spurred ramifications across industries, but its most tangible effects are seen in the increased number of delivery vehicles on the roads. With these vehicles stopping and going, illegally parking in bike lanes, and adding congestion to overcrowded streets, bicyclists are left without ample cushion between them and their delivery trucks.

The Mayor’s Green Wave

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the cyclist crisis by unveiling the “Green Wave” plan meant to better protect cyclists in his city by building more bike lanes and conducting more bike safety outreach programs. But only time will tell whether police authorities can effectively implement this plan, or if lax enforcement will put riders back at square one.

Contact a New York Bike Accident Lawyer

Were you hurt in an accident as a cyclist in New York? If so, you could be owed significant compensation if your injuries were caused by a negligent motorist, defective bike part, or defective road condition. To get the full compensation you’re owed, be sure to contact Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 to speak with one of our experienced NYC bike accident lawyers right away.


“Dooring” Accidents in New York City: How Do They Happen?

“Dooring” accidents are a type of traffic collision that takes place when a bicyclist or other road-user crashes into a motor vehicle’s open door. In some cases, these accidents are caused by a vehicle occupant failing to check for oncoming traffic before opening the car door. In other cases, the vehicle occupant may have negligently left the car door open. To avoid colliding with the door, bicyclists or motorists will sometimes quickly swerve to move out of the way. This sudden swerve may cause a secondary collision, as the bicyclist or motorist could potentially collide with another vehicle in the next lane over. 

In the state of New York, dooring accidents have become such a prevalent issue that policymakers have developed laws designed to prevent them. According to the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Sec. 1214:

  • No one can open the door of a motor vehicle that faces moving traffic until it is reasonably safe to do so, and that door can be opened without interfering in the movement of other traffic.
  • No one can leave the door of a motor vehicle that faces moving traffic open for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

Statistics show that dooring accidents accounted for almost a fifth of all bicyclist injuries in 2011. Additionally, eight bicyclists were killed in dooring accidents between 2006 and 2016 in New York City. Although laws have been written with the intent of reducing the incidence of dooring accidents, they are still a major point of concern for bicyclists within New York. Whether you are a motorist or a bicyclist, there are safety measures you can take to help reduce your risk of being involved in a dooring accident:

  • Drivers – drivers are encouraged to practice the “Dutch Reach,” which is a special way of opening a car door. All you have to do is reach with the hand that is furthest from the door to open it. By reaching with your far hand to open your vehicle door, you are moving your body in a way that causes you to turn your head back and observe the traffic behind you. Of course, it is always prudent to check your rear and side-view mirrors for oncoming traffic before exiting a vehicle, but practicing the Dutch Reach is a good way to ensure that you absolutely do so.
  • Passengers – passengers are always advised to exit curb-side only, and to never exit from a vehicle that is paused in a travel lane. Make sure that the vehicle is parked in the appropriate lane before opening the door to exit.
  • Bicyclists – it is generally advised that cyclists maintain a safe distance from vehicles, ideally enough to accommodate an open door. A distance of 1.5 meters is usually enough to avoid a collision.

Contact a New York Dooring Accident Attorney

In areas where traffic volumes are high, being involved in a dooring accident can be devastating for a bicyclist. In fact, it can even be fatal. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a dooring accident, contact Hach & Rose, LLP to speak with an experience New York bike accident lawyer at (212) 779-0057 today.

 

 

 


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