The disturbingly high number of bicyclist deaths in New York City

New York City wants you to bike. Leaders have gone out of their way to promote the activity, adding bike lanes and welcoming bike shares. Yet none of this had made cycling safer. In fact, it may be more dangerous than ever before.

Barely nine months into the year, the city has recorded two dozen cyclist fatalities – more than double the 10 biker deaths that occurred in all of 2018. Among the latest victims is a young boy.

10-year-old killed in Brooklyn

The 24th New York City cyclist death in 2019 occurred on the morning of Oct. 5 in Brooklyn. A 10-year-old boy, biking in the crosswalk, was struck and killed by a driver in an SUV who was making a left turn, according to a news report. The child was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

The mayor, in response, said the transportation department would be looking to make safety changes at that intersection.

This is not a new phenomenon, however. The thousands of cyclists across New York City are at risk of being hit, injured and killed every day they are out. NPR wrote about this issue, speaking to a 49-year-old woman named Jennie Jo Marine who has worked as a bike messenger for two decades. Marine told NPR she has been in more accidents than she can remember. The most recent – a dooring – resulted in an injured shoulder and broken collarbone.

The incident forced her to scale back to part-time working hours, cutting into her income. Nearly a year later she is still recovering.

Options for victims

While officials have promised changes, some critics are pointing out that many adjustments are being made only after a cyclist is injured or killed. By being reactive rather than proactive, bicyclists’ lives remain at risk.

No matter what the city chooses to do, bicyclists injured in a crash – or the loved ones of those seriously injured or killed – do have an option: a personal injury lawsuit. If a motorist was driving negligently and at fault in the crash, victims may be able to receive compensation, including for:

  • Current medical bills
  • Long-term health considerations
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Lost wages

Like the injured bike messenger Marine said to NPR: “No one really wants to go ride even though it’s the thing we love to do most. So we do it and hope we make it home safe.”

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