Bicyclists must use extreme care in navigating the busy streets of New York City. NYDOT records indicate that there were 12 fatalities of bicycle riders in traffic accidents in the city in 2013, along with 26 reported injuries. Recently, a Red Bus hit a 29-year-old female cyclist on Main Street on Roosevelt Island, in a nearly fatal accident that has left the woman in a coma and reportedly brain dead.
She is listed in critical condition at Cornell Hospital, where she was taken after the collision. Reports indicate that she was operating her bicycle after 9 p.m. north on Main Street when a bus that was heading south on Main began to make a left turn. The bus reportedly hit the woman with the driver’s side bumper.
The bicyclist was not wearing a helmet, which is not required in New York. The bus driver was not arrested but the accident remains under investigation by the NYPD. Roosevelt Island is reported to be under the jurisdiction of the Manhattan District Attorney.
Under the facts currently available, it would appear that the victim has a claim against the bus driver and the bus company. The driver made a turn into the path of the bicycle. The fact that the driver’s side bumper hit the woman indicates that the driver probably could see the bicycle and that it was not in a blind spot.
Both bus drivers and bicyclists have a duty to use due care in traversing the streets of New York City. The particular facts in this case, if they hold up as initially reported, seem to indicate that the bus driver could have avoided a possibly fatal accident by driving with more attention to what was in front of him. There is no indication that the bicyclist was driving carelessly. Nonetheless, a final determination of the fault, or percentages of fault, involved in this tragic event must await further investigation, including forensic evidence and eyewitness accounts.
Source: gothamist.com, “Swedish Model “Brain Dead” After Being Struck By Bus Driver While Biking: Gothamist“, Oct. 13, 2014