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Are NYC Bike Lanes Dangerous for Pedestrians and Motorists?

August 15, 2020

Getting around by bike is a great option – especially in a city as bustling as New York City. Biking has a lot to recommend it – reducing your carbon footprint, doing away with the worry of parking, and allowing you to get some exercise in. Along with all those positives, however, is the very real danger associated with bike accidents. Although NYC has many, many miles of bike lanes on its roadways, when you’re on your bike – even if you’re following the rules of the road and traveling on a designated bike lane – you are extremely vulnerable to the impact of an accident. If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in a bike crash, call an experienced NYC bike accident attorney today.

Is an Increase in Pedestrians and Cyclists to Blame?

Bike lanes are put in place not only to accommodate bicyclists but also to promote safe cycling. These lanes provide bikers with a safe space to pursue their mode of transportation, but as more and more cyclists take to these bike lanes and pedestrians hit the pavement, we’ve experienced an increase in dangerous bike and pedestrian accidents. This does not, however, mean that the cyclists and pedestrians, themselves, are to blame. Everyone who travels on our roadways, including motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists are responsible for following the rules of the road and proceeding safely, especially in relation to others on the roadway.

Motorists’ Responsibilities

Motorists are responsible for following all the rules of the road and driving safely, which includes looking out for bicyclists in their midst. When there’s a bike lane, motorists are responsible for looking for and seeing the bicyclists around them and for accommodating their safe passage. Driver negligence is often responsible for bike and pedestrian accidents, and this negligence includes:

  • DistractionDriver distraction is becoming a bigger problem on our roads, and smartphones are a big part of this problem. When a driver engages with his or her phone while behind the wheel, that driver simply can’t pay adequate attention to the road ahead, and vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians can be injured in the process.
  • Impairment – Impaired drivers are dangerous drivers.
  • Speed – Excessive speed plays a pivotal role in many deadly accidents, including bike and pedestrian accidents.

When it comes to bike accidents, motorists have the additional responsibility of ensuring that they don’t cause dooring accidents after they’ve parked. Dooring accidents occur when a driver opens his or her door into an oncoming cyclist’s bike lane causing an oncoming to run into the open door.


Pedestrians are also out in force, and inevitably, pedestrians and bicyclists intersect where bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks meet up. Pedestrians are at least as vulnerable to serious injury as bicyclists, but they share the same responsibility of crossing bike lanes and other intersections safely. It’s important to remember, however, that our roadways were designed with motor vehicles in mind, and motorists are, thus, afforded the greatest advantages on them. Ultimately, motorists can do the most harm with the least effort and, as such, must exhibit extreme caution in order to help decrease the number of dangerous bike and pedestrian accidents. 

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced NYC Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

The dedicated NYC bicycle accident attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman are committed to defending your rights and aggressively advocating for your rightful compensation. We care about you and your case, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 212-285-3300 today.


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