Brooklyn Bicycle Accident Takes the Life of NYC Cyclist

An accident in September took the life of a Brooklyn resident and dedicated bicyclist. A 23-year-old student who regularly rode her bike to work in Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City lost her life after a chain of circumstances that represents many urban riders' worst nightmare. An MTA bus struck and killed the young woman after she ran into a car door that had suddenly opened in her path.

The fatal bicycle crash occurred near the intersection of Washington and Atlantic Avenues, not far from the woman's Ditmas Park home. Notably, while conditions for NYC bicyclists have improved over the past decade, this busy Brooklyn corridor does not have bike lanes.

Advocating for a Safer Riding Environment

New York City now has more than 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes, a vast improvement over a past when it seemed like the only safe bikeways in the city were the upper deck of the Brooklyn Bridge and dedicated trails in city parks. But groups such as Bicycle Advocacy for Transportation Alternatives are trying to convince legislators that there is still ample room for improvement.

The foremost current initiative is a statewide "Complete Streets" bill that mandates consideration of pedestrian and cyclist accommodations in all road projects that receive state or federal funds, from the planning stage to design and construction. But even the most carefully crafted laws will not prevent every accident, and white "ghost bikes" — memorials placed near accident sites — will continue to recognize those who suffered the consequences of relying on this economical transportation method.

A rider is at an obvious disadvantage when he or she sustains impact with a speeding taxi, bus, delivery truck or other motor vehicle. The damage can be just as severe when a bicyclist swerves to avoid a car or pedestrian and ends up striking a guardrail, lamp post or hard pavement. Brain injury is the greatest risk to the rider in these accidents — riders should always wear a helmet to protect the skull from impact — but broken bones, joint injuries and severe abrasions can leave a bicycle accident victim with severe pain and long-lasting disabilities.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Accident Victims Assess Their Options

The most important step all accident victims must take in the aftermath of a collision is to seek out appropriate medical attention. A comprehensive examination can reveal injuries that may not be immediately apparent to a person who is wounded and traumatized.

Head injuries are particularly difficult to diagnose, and even a "simple bump on the head" should be monitored for concussion symptoms and other complications. One NYC personal injury lawyer describes a client who thought that he had suffered only embarrassment after he was clipped by a turning car. To his good fortune, an ambulance crew witnessed the accident and insisted that they take him to a local hospital. Two hours later, emergency brain surgery saved his life after an examining physician diagnosed brain bleed.

Bicyclists who have suffered harm and medical expenses due to another's negligence will learn a great deal about their legal options by consulting with an experienced trial lawyer. A trusted advocate can help injury victims understand the implications of a chronic injury, as well as their prospects for recovering civil damages. Just as important, an attorney will act swiftly to preserve and compile evidence such as skid marks, vehicle damage and witness accounts that may provide clues to the cause of the accident and the identity of all potentially liable parties.

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