New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Bicyclists and pedestrians: Commute in harmony to avoid injuries

Posted on May 24, 2013 in Car Accidents

On behalf of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP

In New York City there has been a long-standing grudge between bicyclists and pedestrians and just how the two should interact with each other in order to avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries. And now, with the bike-share program Citi Bike set to launch this Memorial Day in New York City, with even more bikes on the streets, it is going to be even more imperative that both walkers and cyclists follow the laws and commute in a way that is safe for everyone.

For pedestrians, this means a few things: Not walking or running in the bike lane, not just opening a car door and getting out into a bike lane without looking, and not waiting for the right of way in the bike lane. All of these behaviors are dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists and can easily be avoided.

But the responsibility does not fall solely on the shoulders of the pedestrians. Rather, bicyclists must also remember to follow a few simple rules, with the first being visible at night. This means wearing reflective or brightly colored clothes and making sure to turn a bike light on, which is also the law.

Speaking of visibility, pedestrians also need to see that a bicyclist is approaching. Because of this, bicyclists should never ride the wrong way down a one-way. Pedestrians are used to only having to look one direction on these streets and could end up getting hit by a cyclist going the wrong way.

Lastly, bicyclists should remain in bike lanes and not ride on the sidewalks. There are already too many tourists and other commuters on the sidewalks. Bicyclists also being on the sidewalks are a sure way to cause an accident.

In the end, the message is clear: By following the rules, bicyclists and pedestrians can avoid accidents. However, even though these rules may make complete sense to some, others will choose to not follow them. In these cases, where it is believed an accident was caused by negligence — bicyclist or pedestrian — keep in mind there might be legal options available.

Source: Slate, “The Pedestrian-Cyclist Armistice,” L.V. Anderson and Aisha Harris, May 22, 2013

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