The media is calling this the summer of hell in New York City. Penn Station has been undergoing major repairs since July 10th, making rail travel into the city extremely difficult. The Subway isn’t much better, with people stuck waiting for delayed trains on overcrowded platforms. With all that in mind, it’s easy to see why more New Yorkers are commuting on bicycles than ever.
Biking in New York is on the Rise
New York City isn’t exactly known to be the most cyclist friendly, but despite relatively few bike lanes, bumper to bumper traffic and aggressive drivers, lots of people ride bikes. The City of New York claims there are 450,000 bike trips made in New York every single day. In 1990, there were only 100,000 daily cycling trips. That’s an increase of 350%!
Even if you only count people who commute via bicycle, the numbers are still very impressive. In 2015, 45,000 New Yorkers biked to work or school on a daily basis. In Los Angeles, the city with the second most bike commuters, only 23,000 people bike to work every day. New Yorkers commute by bike at more than twice the rate of the next closest city. Unfortunately though, this means that New Yorkers are most at risk of being injured on a bike.
Bicycle Accidents are Tragically Common
Bicycle accidents aren’t just a New York problem though. According to the Center for Disease Control more than 1,000 people were killed and almost 467,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents nationwide last year. According to the American Association of family physicians, there are a number of risk factors that are frequently associated with bicycle accidents:
- Cyclist is male
- Cyclist is 9 to 14 years of age
- Cycling in the summer
- Cycling in late afternoon or early evening
- Cyclist does not wear a helmet
- A motor vehicle is involved
- Unsafe riding environment
Wear a Helmet!
In every type of bicycle accident, the most common type of injury is to the head. If you’re reading this blog and you don’t wear a helmet when you ride a bike, you seriously should! Helmets drastically reduce the rate of death in an accident while biking. From 1994 to 2010, at least 85% of people who were killed in bike accidents were not wearing a helmet. Think about that. If you don’t wear a helmet and you get into a bicycle accident, you are more than 5.5 times more likely to die than someone who is wearing one.
Head injuries aren’t the only types of injuries that result from bike accidents. Injuries that frequently occur include but aren’t limited to:
- Bone fractures, dislocations and sprains
- Punctured lungs
- Trauma to the genitals
- Ruptured Spleen
- Bruising of the Kidneys and Bowels
Bicycle Sharing Programs May Pose Problems
Bikes aren’t just a great way to commute, they are a fun way to get around and to stay fit. Bike sharing programs like Citi Bike in New York, Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. and Indego in Philadelphia make biking more accessible to residents and tourists alike. The problem with these programs though, is that there largely no vetting process that determines who can ride. This can lead to inexperienced and potentially dangerous riders causing accidents by crashing into people.
This isn’t to say that bike sharing programs are bad, or that people who use them are the only riders who crash into pedestrians. Riders who are in a hurry or are unfamiliar with the area they are biking in, like couriers or delivery drivers, are more likely to crash into pedestrians and injure them.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer
If you have been in an accident where you were injured on a bike, or if you were injured by someone riding a bike, it is important to call an lawyer as soon as possible. Fill out a simple form here, or call the offices of Macaluso and Fafinski P.C. at 718-364-4000.