We previously blogged about bicycle lanes on September 28, 2015 and the errors both drivers of cars and cyclists make. A recent article in The Sunday Journal News on July 24, 2016, was published and written by David McKay Wilson revisits bicycle accident and fatalities. It was announced that officials in Rockland County were moving forward with construction of a quarter mile bypass along Route 303 to keep cyclists off the narrow four lane road. This is at a spot that Robert Carl Pinchert died when a truck hit his bicycle. The author of the article visited sites of cycling deaths throughout the lower Hudson Valley. He wanted to see whether road conditions had improved by the death sites. He also wanted to see about bike safety as cycling remains a popular recreation pursuit.
Rockland County is a known area that is a growing mecca for many New York City cyclists. Commuters are also using bikes to get to work or to get to the train station. Many Latinos use bikes to get to work in Rockland County or a sole means of transportation. According to the League of American Bicyclists, the number of bicycle commuters in the US grew 62% from 2000 – 2013.
The author got involved in bike advocacy for a dozen years while on the Westchester Cycle Club. He also led the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester & Putnam Counties from 2008 – 2012. His group installed ghost bike memorials at Route 119 & Aqueduct Road in memory of Merrill Cassell, 66 of Greenburgh. She was sideswiped by a Westchester County Bee Line bus. These bike memorials are painted white and serve as a reminder about the dangers of bike riding and signify places that cyclists died.
The statistics of bike fatalities has grown over the years. In 2014, 47 cyclists were killed statewide and 5694 were injured according to 2015 State report. Nationally, 720 cyclists were killed, up 4% from 2014. According to The National Highway Insurance Institute for Safety among New Yorkers, 47 fatalities, 11 resulted from drivers failing to give the right of way to cyclists while 9 were caused by drivers’ inattention or distraction. Cyclist’s error was the contributing factor in 19 of the fatalities. 19 Fatalities were caused at night between 9:00 P.M. & 6:00 A.M.
A 2013 report by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign found there were more than 415 collisions between cyclists and motorists in Westchester County between 2009–2012. The report has not been updated. Efforts in Albany in 2016 to strengthen “New York’s Safe Passing Law” which would give prosecutors stronger tools to enforce road sharing. However, the bill failed to come up for a vote in the State Assembly. The current law aw from 2010 requires a motorist to pass a safe distance. The new bill cosponsored by Senator David Carlucci D New City and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee D. Suffern, would require motorists to pass at least 3 feet from a cyclist. This law passed the New York Senate but failed to emerge the Assembly Transportation Committee for a vote.
This is still very few municipalities that are installing bike laws as discussed in my blog of September 8, 2015 leaving dangerous roads with no protection for the cyclists.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle vs. car accident, contact Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or visit our web page at White PlainsPersonalInjury Lawyer.com or at RobustelliPersonal InjuryNY.com.