Articles Posted in Personal Injury

The number of cyclists killed last year in 2018 went up by 10% according to estimate for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Pedestrian deaths rose 4%. The number of auto drivers and passengers killed in accidents went down for the third straight year, down 1% compared to 2017.

According to an article by Chris Woodyard in USA today on July 4, 2019 entitled “Cars gets safer, but not for people outside them”. The cyclist and pedestrian deaths percentages estimates a sharp reversal from decline the previous year, underscore a troubling trend! While cars have been getting safer for occupants, they remain potentially deadly for those outside the vehicle. It is much safer for people inside the car according to Bill Nesper, executive director for The League of American Bicyclists. Yet a steady stream of bicyclists and pedestrians are being killed.

Automakers backed by Government Safety regulators have filled cars with features such as airbags, front and side and advanced child restraints to protect passengers in crashes. However, improvements to protect walkers and bikers have moved more slowly.

A startup company by the name of Charge is trying to legalize e-scooters in New York State. If e-scooters are approved to operate in New York, Charge would provide docks for 10,000 scooters throughout New York City. Charge is dealing with a significant obstacles for e-scooters and e-bikes which is blocking of roads and sidewalks. This is a consequence of the dock less models used by scooter focused bird and bike operator Lime. This model allows riders to hop on a scooter or bike when they need it and leave it just about anywhere but scooters have piled up on sidewalks from Boston to Los Angeles and complaints from residents.

According to an article in Crain’s New York Business on April 22, 2019 entitled “Startup puts a charge into e-scooter legalization” by Ryan Defenbaugh and Eric Enquist. Andrew Fox, co-founder & CEO of Charge called the issue of e-scooters strewn about the streets and sidewalks the business model’s weakness. Docking stations could help persuade State lawmakers to support legislation legalizing e-scooters in New York. “This is a problem around the world” Fox said. “Our thought was let’s build a docking and charging station that would pass the litmus test of municipalities and help accelerate the advancement of micro mobility instead of seeing its demise as people get frustrated by scooters thrown around the street”.

Charge plans to launch elective charging docks for e-scooters and electric pedal assist bicycles in close to 400 locations throughout New York City. The company has negotiated deals to lease space in privately owned garages and commercial buildings to host the docks which would recharge and shelter devices from e-scooter and e-bike operators such as Bird, Bolt Lime and Spin. The docks could offer a new stream of share-economy revenue to garage owners who will face a loss of customers when Manhattan congestions pricing takes effect in two years. Charge employees have spent the past few months signing long term deals with partners including LAZ parking, Imperial Parking, Big City Parking and Little Man Parking. The companies rave about how 15 scooters can be stationed in a single parking spot.

As of April 1, 2019, White Plains Lime which has a contract to operate the service with 300 bikes is introducing a pedal assist model. The “Lime-E” uses a lithium battery and torque sensor to give riders a boost. In an article in The Journal News on March 18, 201 by Richard Liebson, he quoted Lime Bike operations Manager Paul Holley. “We feel the bike share program has been successful in White Plains”. He told the common council during a work session “for riders huffing and puffing up hills or on long trips, the pedal assist model does a lot better than the other bike does”.

The new bikes known as “Lime-E” have been available in a number of other cities across the country since 2018. The Lime-E bikes are heavier and sturdier than the regular model with the mailbox sized battery mounted over the rear wheel. The decision to place them in part by the bike share programming success during the first year in White Plains since June 4, 2018.  More than 9000 different riders have tried the bikes using the Lime app on smart phones to unlock them and pay for the trip. 62% of riders who try the bikes take another ride within 30 days. The average rider took 3.9 trips per month averaging nine minutes per ride. More than 43,000 rides have been taken.

Lime said the White Plains Trans Center is by far the most common destination followed by White Plains Hospital and downtown Mamaroneck Avenue. The pedal-assist bikes will cost more than the regular bikes which rent for $1.00 per 30 minutes. Riders who want a boost will pay $1.00 to unlock the pedal assist models and 15 cents per minute to ride for a total cost of $5.50 for half an hour. The Lime-E relies on an internal torque sensor which detects when the bike is being pedaled and relays that to activate the battery. The power shuts down when the bike reaches a maximum speed of 14.8 mph.

After rising for several years, the percentage of commuters using bikes to go to work declined for the third straight year according to the US Census Bureau. Nationally, the percentage of people who say they use a bike to get to work fell by 3.2% from 2016 to 2017 to an average of 836,569 commuters according to the Bureau’s latest American Community Survey which asks a group of Americans about their habits. This number is down from a high of 904,463 in 2014 when it peaked after four years of increases. In some cities, the decline was more drastic. In Tampa Florida and Cleveland, cycling to work dropped by 50% and in some cities cycling to work was up dramatically.

According to an article in USA Today – The Journal News on January 3, 2019 by Chris Woodyard entitled “Fewer American use bike lanes to commute to work”. Decline in using bike lanes experts offered several explanations for the nationwide decrease even as cities spend millions trying to become friendlier. Lower gas prices and a strong economy contributed to strong auto sales and less interest in cheaper alternatives, such as mass transit and bikes. Also the rise of ride hailing services such as Uber & Lyft and electric scooters cut into bike commuting per Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. Another bike advocacy group, League of American Bicyclists, found a mix in bike trends in the 70 largest cities. Bike commuting was up sharply from 2016 to 2017. In one of the large cities, Portland Oregon, 6.3% of commuter’s bike to work. It was also up in the second and third most popular biking cities, Washington and Minneapolis. It was down a whopping 19.9% in fourth place, San Francisco was down 11/4% in fifth place, New Orleans down 20.5% in sixth place and Seattle over the same time last year.

Federal highway spending on bike and pedestrian related improvements total $915.8 million in 2018. According to Ken McLeod, a Bike League’s Policy Director “It shows that while we have made investments over the last 20 years in bicycle infrastructure, we are still far from having safe and connected networks that make people feel safe biking to work”. City officials around the County said they try to support bike commuting by spending money on new bike lanes and trails and many cities including White Plains, New Rochelle & Yonkers added bike sharing programs which gave cyclists the ability to rent a bike to ride point to point or for the day.

New York doctors accused of unprofessional conduct in other states are practicing without a blemish on their records exposing patients to harm. USA Today network investigation of more than 250 doctors across the USA who surrendered their licenses in one state to protect their reputation and relocate to another state. The Journal News/Lo Hud exposed flaws in state physician records in New York as well as concerns about regulations showing clemency to doctors to ensure they keep practicing medicine. There are often limited records available to the public about accusations, investigations and even discipline of doctors.

There are a few things patients can do to look into their doctors. Contact the medical board in your state where the records of doctors can be checked through the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. New York also has a physician profile database that allows doctors to submit details about their medical practice. Lax maintenance of the doctor on the site NewYork Profile.com was detailed in the Journal News/Lo Hud investigation. “Risk under the knife” Lo Hud surgeons rated; public records flawed”. If you know your doctor has practiced in another state, contact the website of that medical board. There is also a national clearing housing of State Medical Boards operated by the Federation of State Medical Board; www.docinfo.org.

Many states including New York prohibit felons from holding licenses to sell real estate and liquor licenses and also for felons for certain jobs such as private investigators, insurance brokers and attorneys. However, medical licensing board determine if doctors committing crimes will face professional penalties. This process has been criticized by prosecutors and good government groups for failing to sufficiently punish doctors.

In an article in The Westchester County Business Journal by Bob Rozycki on April 2, 2018, he refers to a study done by WalletHub which found New York State as the third worst for doctors. The next two states above New York were Rhode Island and New Jersey.  These findings come for the Washington D.C. Personal Finance website by comparing all 50 states and Washington D.C across 16 key metrics including average annual wage of doctors, hospitals per capita and quality of public hospital systems.

One of the biggest problems for doctors working in New York State is the high cost of malpractice liability insurance. New York State is in first place as having the most expensive annual malpractice liability insurance. Following New York was Illinois, Michigan, The District of Columbia and West Virginia. The top least expensive states for malpractice insurance were Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas tied for last place with the highest malpractice award payouts were New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire. The states with the lowest payout amounts were Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina and Texas.

According to a medical malpractice payout analysis by Diedrick Healthcare,, New York malpractice insurance payouts in 2017 was $617 million. Pennsylvania was second with a payout of $342 million and New Jersey was third at $267.9 million amount Northeast states.

In June, 2018, bike sharing pilot stated in White Plains with 300 dock less, two wheelers on the streets of White Plains. They yellow and green bicycles cost $1.00 a ride. The companies Lime Bike & OFO started the program in White Plains. The pros and cons and etiquette of bike sharing are being discussed on social media. The reaction has generally been positive with few kinks need to be worked out, according to an article in The Journal News on June 20, 2018, entitled “pedal power is the talk of White Plains” by Richard Liebson. The owner of businesses along Mamaroneck Avenue have seen good, bad and ugly by the owner of Vino 110, Stuart Levine who stated “like all new things, there are growing pains”. Bikes are left all over including in front of his store door, on people’s lawns and riding on sidewalks. It is recommended the bike program rules be adjusted to including parking stations or a dedicated team member to better organize a bike return protocol.

White Plains is the third Westchester community to introduce a bike sharing program this year following New Rochelle and Yonkers. White Plains Mayor, Tom Roach said “usage has exceeded our expectations”. It is noted that ride bikes on sidewalks is prohibited. White Plains had painted bike lanes at various thoroughfares for a few years and is spending $1.5 million state grants on bikes and pedestrian improvements. The program comes at no cost to the City or taxpayers. The bike company pays a small permit fee to operate a one year pilot program in White Plains.

The bikes are equipped with GPS and unlocked with an app starting at $1.00. Once a trip is completed and the bike is in an area that does not block traffic and the locks is pulled down, it ends their ride which goes to the app. People love taking the bikes from the outer ring of the city into the train stations. The train station and downtown area has been a really popular corridor.

All buses in New York are required to have seatbelts by State Law but it is up to the individual school district to decide whether to enforce their use. On May 17, 2018, a horrific crash in New Jersey when a school bus crashed into a dump truck in which a student and teacher died has parents worried about putting children onto buses. The Federal Government claims school buses are 70 times safer than a passenger car. School officials, experts and industry figures say school buses are designed to protect students in the event of a crash even without seatbelts. Even without seatbelts, he Assistant Director of Transportation at The Rockland County Board of Cooperative Educational Services claims “there are actually a lot of things that make the role of a school bus drivers much safer than a parent”.

According to an article in The Journal News entitled “Buckle up: Is it the law?” by Kimberly Redmond and Matt Coyne on May 19, 2018, school buses are safer because of their size and weight. The distinctive yellow color, the extra lights and retractable stop sign, the interior of a school bus is designed with safety in mind. The Assistant Director in Rockland County, Joann Thompson states “the design – the compartmentalization which is the higher backed seat in front and behind helps student from getting significantly hurt if we were involved in a crash”. “It gives an added level of safety that supersedes a parent transporting their kid in their own car”.

Elmsford students from kindergarten to sixth grade have to use seatbelts and the district has monitors on buses to make sure. Briarcliff Manor requires seatbelts for elementary school students on field trips. White Plains encourages the use of seatbelts at transportation orientation for parent and students every year but does not mandate it. In the New Jersey school bus accident on May 17, 2018, students were reportedly wear seatbelts and when the crash happened, students were screaming and hanging from their seatbelts as the bus went on its side and escaped through windows and emergency exits. Al Roney from New York School Bus Contractors Associates states seatbelts can help in situations like crashes but when a young student has to evacuate, the seatbelts can slow things down. He states “we’re all about student safety first. If there is a mandate that all students have to wear a seatbelt, too, we’re going to go with that and whatever the state decides”.

Route 119 is a major east-west road with constant traffic. There is very little room for sidewalk or bicycle lanes. According to an article published in The Journal News on Sunday, June 10, 2018 by Matt Coyne states “for Westchester bike commuters, plus anyone who walks or takes a bus, there’s hope in a plan to open one of the major east-west thoroughfare to more than just cars”.

There is in existence “the Route 119 Complete Streets Plan”. This plan includes local transportation activists and local, county and state officials on the Steering Committee and funding from the Thruway Authority who wants to make the state road that runs from Tarrytown to White Plains more bike and pedestrian friendly. This Committee hopes to add bike lanes, add or enlarge sidewalks and make bus tops more accessible.

Route 119 runs through Tarrytown where there exists office buildings, hotels and apartments with wider lanes of traffic. However, on Main Street in Elmsford, they have many small businesses such as deli’s, barber shops and bars with narrow roads that require parking on Route 119. Thereafter, Route 119 gives way to car dealerships and strip malls before you get to the Westchester County Center. The physical geography changes vastly along Route 119. The roads goes from raised meadows with three lanes to tight lanes next to curb parking to 10 lanes by the County Center and The Bronx River Parkway.

Pedestrian deaths in the USA have skyrocketed 46% since 2009 according to an article in USA Today – The Journal News published on May 8, 2018 entitled “Perils of walking in USA increase” by Eric D. Lawrence, Chris Woodyard, Zlati Meyer and Kristi Tanner. The increase far outpaced other traffic related death according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles on American roads in 2016, the latest year for which numbers are available.  That’s almost twice the number of death tied directly to the September 11 terrorist attacks and more Americans have died as they walked than died in combat in Iraq each year since 2003.

There are many causes for the increase in pedestrian deaths. Distraction behind the wheel, texting while driving and while walking and marijuana legalization have been cited as potential culprits.

A study released in May by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests at least part of the blame rests with Americans increase use of SUV’S. The study shows 81% increase in the number of SUV’S involved in single vehicle pedestrian fatalities from 2009-2016. The Insurance Institute President said one reason SUV’s have a greater impact on pedestrian fatalities has to do with their design. SUV’s have higher front end and the design is more vertical than passenger cars. The vehicles are playing some role. Pedestrian fatalities reached 5,987 in 2016, the highest since H.W. Bush was President.  Nationally, more pedestrians die in collision when they are crossing at points other than intersections along busy roads. More of the fatalities occur at night and involve males and alcohol. In 2016, pedestrians accounted for 16% of traffic deaths; in 2008 that figure was 11% according to NHTSA. The crisis fell mostly in American cities such as St. Louis and Newark but also in Sun Belt cities such as Phoenix, Baton Rouge and Miami. Detroit Michigan had the highest role among larger cities, nearly a quarter of the 118 people who died in traffic crashes in 2016 were pedestrians. Despite its first place ranking in the city, they saw improvements in its fatality numbers in 2016 which dropped after 65,000 street lights were installed over a three year period. The City intends to replace 125,000 sidewalk slabs to keep more pedestrians out of the street.