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Published On: Fri, Sep 25th, 2015

On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City

While New York is a vast city, its boroughs are compact and well-designed from the point of view of easy access to every essential. Unlike other cities, residents can get a lot done simply riding their bicycles in the streets around their homes. It is possible to go to work, shop, see friends and have fun too.

The problem is that the city is built for cars rather than bicyclists or pedestrians. People on bicycles can find it difficult to ride around in a city with one-way streets everywhere; it can be tempting to go the wrong way. With speeding cars and lots of people everywhere, an accident can just be a matter of time.

Impatient drivers who jump lights and make sudden turns make life impossible for pedestrians, too.

Whether you’re pedaling or walking in New York, you need to take special precautions. Around 2% of all accidents involving motor vehicles result in the death of a bicyclist each year. Five thousand deaths a year is alarming news, whichever way you look at it.

While it can be hard to get people to drive safer, pedestrians and cyclists can go very far with sensible defensive measures. If you are willing to make a few simple changes, you can lower your exposure to risk as a bicycle rider or a pedestrian by three-quarters.

If you are a cyclist

Rough Road Sign public domain

Rough Road Sign public domain

Put a helmet on

Bicycles may seem inherently safe — if you do fall, it can’t ever be at dangerous speeds. Unless one collides with a motorist, it can seem as if there is little danger of anything more serious than a few cuts and scrapes. Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm, though, find themselves attending to the needs of hundreds of bicycle riders who suffer brain injury. Such injury is disturbingly common.

The fact that helmets aren’t mandatory for cyclists in New York means that most riders simply ignore them. Exercising self-preservation makes sense.

Live within the rules

The Department of Transportation lays down a number of sensible rules for bicyclists to help them stay safe. While it may take some time to learn them well enough to live by them, they aren’t tough rules at all. You should ride on the streets, and not on the sidewalks. You should never ride against the flow of other traffic, and you should pay attention to traffic signals rather than believe that they couldn’t possibly apply to vehicles as small and insignificant as bicycles.

All it takes is a little patience.

Remember where the danger is

Accidents tend to happen in specific ways. If you’re familiar with them, it’s easy to stay clear. For instance, car doors present a real hazard. Safety rules advise a wide berth — 3 feet is a good idea. It is also important to ensure that you stay visible at all times. Bright clothing, a reflective helmet, and a safety lamp can virtually eliminate bicycle accidents.

Don’t be a jerk

The Department of Transportation’s Don’t be a jerk campaign made some very good points while it aired — you can always stay safe by suppressing the urge to cut others off, suppressing your impatience, and using common sense. Being nice goes a long way.

If you’re a pedestrian

If you’re elderly, you should be extra careful

Road accidents involving pedestrians are far more common than one would expect. While poor driver technique is often to blame, there’s a lot to be said for defensive walking as well.

Vehicles turning left pose a huge risk, and account for the most pedestrian accidents involving the elderly. Age-related disabilities account for many accidents, as well. The elderly tend to underestimate how long it takes them to cross a street, and often attempt to make a crossing when there isn’t enough time. Poor vision and hearing are often behind the problem. Enrolling an elderly loved one in road safety program can be an excellent way to ensure that they stay safe.

Exercise common sense

In general, motorists in New York do not expect to see pedestrians in their way. If you jaywalk at any point, you mustn’t expect that motorists will do the nice thing and stop for you. Crossing streets unexpectedly, puttering around your cellphone as you walk, and listening to music tend to be risky.

Both walking and riding a bike can be safe. You do need to exercise basic caution, though.

Guest Author :

Kenneth A. Wilhelm, Esq. has been practicing law for over 40 years and has represented thousands of clients in New York who have suffered injuries as a result of an accident or medical malpractice.  Our law firm has an experienced staff of attorneys and paralegals who are ready to help.

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  1. Personal Injury Lawyers In New York City | West Coast Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – While New York is a vast city, its boroughs are compact and well-designed … is little danger of anything more serious than a few cuts and scrapes. Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm … […]

  2. New York City Brain Injury Lawyer | Your West Coast Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – While New York is a vast city, its boroughs … Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm, though, find themselves attending to the needs of hundreds of bicycle riders who suffer brain injury. […]

  3. New York City Brain Injury Attorney | Easy Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – While New York is a vast city, its boroughs … Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm, though, find themselves attending to the needs of hundreds of bicycle riders who suffer brain injury. […]

  4. City Injury Lawyer Personal Traverse | Fast Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – While New York is a vast city, its boroughs are compact and well-designed … is little danger of anything more serious than a few cuts and scrapes. Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm … […]

  5. Bicycle Injury Lawyer Ny | Best West Coast Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm, though, find themselves attending to the needs of hundreds of bicycle riders who suffer brain injury. Such injury is disturbingly common. The fact … […]

  6. Personal Injury Lawyer City | Simple Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – The problem is that the city is built for cars rather than bicyclists or … is little danger of anything more serious than a few cuts and scrapes. Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm … […]

  7. New York City Brain Injury Lawyer | Best West Coast Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – While New York is a vast city, its boroughs … Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm, though, find themselves attending to the needs of hundreds of bicycle riders who suffer brain injury. […]

  8. Brain Injury Attorney New York | Easy Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. Wilhelm, though, find themselves attending to the needs of hundreds of bicycle riders who suffer brain injury. Such injury is disturbingly common. The fact … […]

  9. Accident And Injury Lawyer | Fast Personal Injury says:

    […] On the Move: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety in the City – With speeding cars and lots of people everywhere, an accident can just be a matter of time … danger of anything more serious than a few cuts and scrapes. Top personal injury lawyers such as New York’s Kenneth A. […]

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