The 1st bicyclist death of 2019 sparked an ongoing conversation of making NYC streets safer and revisiting the rules and enforcement for failure to yield to bicyclists and pedestrians alike.
TransAlt, an advocate non-profit for bicycling says the death was avoidable. “The lower traffic fatalities in 2018 is certainly encouraging, but the reason why this certainly could be prevented is that there was no protected bike lane where this 26-year-old was riding,” said Marco Conner, deputy director of TransAlt. “The city is throwing paint on the street and calling it a ‘protected’ bike lane, which completely fails to protect a vulnerable bicyclist who is forced to share space with 5,000 pounds of steel moving at lethal speeds.”
NYC DOT built 20 miles of ‘protected’ bike lanes in 2018, expanding the nation’s largest bike network to 1,217 miles. But not all are ‘protected’ lanes with physical barriers between bicyclists/pedestrians and motorists. In fact, StreetsBlog revealed the actual protected miles of bike lanes built was 16.05 miles. “It’s not just important for bicyclists. Protected bike lanes make streets safer for pedestrians and motorists, as well,” Conner said. “They actually protect those two groups more than they protect bicyclists, because they shorten the crossing distance that pedestrians have so it lowers the amount of time that pedestrians spend exposed on the road, and they tend to narrow the street…which automatically causes drivers to drive slightly slower.”
A summons for failure to yield to a pedestrian/bicyclist is a common reason we see clients receive a summons for OATH (Office of Administrative Trial and) Hearings. Each borough has an OATH office where these are addressed. Sometimes there are OATH trials, but those are for major cases. A failure to yield summons is issued when there is an alleged failure to yield where the motorist strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist. It carries a minimum fine of $250, and points on your license. The officer must allege on the face of the summons that the motorist struck the pedestrian and that the pedestrian was walking with the right of way within the crosswalk, and all parts of the summons must be filled in.
Driving close to a pedestrian who is walking in the street is enough to be given a ticket. The precise standard is failure to use due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1146. Failure to Yield in NYC, New York City has a similar traffic regulation under Section 4-04(d) but also has Section 4-04(b)(1) for situations where there are no traffic control or pedestrian control signals (or inoperable ones) which states, “the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the path of the vehicle or is approaching so closely thereto as to be in danger.” With so many variations of failure to yield tickets, there is plenty of room for error on the violation itself. If you receive one, you should contact a Traffic Ticket Lawyer to help your defense.
Although overall accidents were down in NYC for 2018, more pedestrians and cyclists died or were injured, showing a clear need for driver safety & awareness while sharing the roads along with pedestrians/bicyclists. Drivers should maintain awareness on the road and be mindful of the pedestrians and bikers they share the roads with.
If you have received a ticket or summons for an OATH hearing, Michael Block can help. Please contact us today for a free consultation.