Just three days after the unveiling of the country’s largest bike-sharing program, a rider was struck by a livery driver in a sport utility vehicle in the city’s West Village neighborhood.
Our Manhattan bicycle injury lawyers understand that the rider, in his mid-20s, thankfully suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
New York City sees scores of bicycle accidents each year, with the state’s Department of Transportation reporting some 370 severe injuries and 22 fatalities in 2011 alone.
This most recent incident has garnered attention because while the city has spent a great deal of time and money promoting the program, it typically fails to inform riders of all the dangers – which can be numerous in such a dense, urban setting. It’s compounded by the fact that the program doesn’t provide helmets. They aren’t required for adult riders in New York City, but research has shown they can significantly reduce injuries.
The city likes to tout its cycling risk indicator, which reveals that cycling overall has gotten safer in the last 10 years, according to the DOT, with the cycling risk dipping by nearly 75 percent during that time. The number of serious injury bicycle crashes in New York actually grew by that time – from 351 to 369. However, the number of cyclists more than doubled during that time, according to city data. Cycling is the most rapidly-growing form of transportation in the city.
Still, we anticipate a spike in the number of accidents as the number of cyclists goes up with the new city-sponsored program.
The Citi Bike program was officially launched on June 2, offering access to some 6,000 bicycles at more than 300 stations for use by some 15,000 people who have purchased an annual membership. Initial service areas include parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s being subsidized by a more than $40 million sponsorship from Citi Bank.
It works like this: People can purchase an annual membership, which gives them access to an electronic key that they can use to undock a single bicycle. It gives them unlimited trips for up to 45 minutes without racking up any additional fees. People can also purchase day-long and week-long passes which will allow unlimited, half-hour trips.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailed it as a way to extend connectivity between bus stops and subways for locals and also as a means for many tourists to access parts of the city they otherwise might not.
In theory, this is a great idea. However, we have particular concern for visitors, who may be unfamiliar with New York City’s complex system of roadways. We fear they may be at heightened risk for a crash or injuries.
Still, the city shows no signs of slowing the program. In fact, it intends to extend it to make available some 10,000 bicycles at some 600 locations in both the Upper West and East sides and into Long Island City.
The bicycles do have the basic rules printed on them, which include laws regarding requirements to yield to pedestrians, stay off the sidewalks, ride with traffic and obey all traffic signals.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
A Rider On One Of NYC’s New Citi Bikes Was Hit By A Car, May 31, 2013, By Alex Davies, Business Insider
More Blog Entries:
NYC Bicycle Accidents and the Risk of Commercial Riders, April 12, 2013, New York City Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog