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Cyclists face ongoing safety challenges on the road, in the justice system

New York City, like many metro areas, is a hotspot for cyclists. Cycling, of course, continues to remain a popular sport and commuting method for many people, and its popularity continues to increase as Americans try to reduce dependency on motor vehicles. In fact, the number of cyclists in the United States increased over 62 percent between 2000 and 2013, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

Sharing the road has always been and continues to be a challenge for motorists and cyclists. When an accident occurs, of course, it is cyclists who are most at risk of injury or death. When an accident does occur, one of major challenges cyclists face is ensuring law enforcement conducts a fair investigation. On top of that, the justice system doesn’t deal consistently with motorists who cause cycling accidents. 

Generally speaking, the justice system will tend to deal more aggressively with motorists who cause an accident with a cyclist when there is drug or alcohol use involved. When no such aggravating factors are present, the justice system is more inconsistent in dealing with negligent motorists.

It’s not that cyclists are never at fault. In some cases, cyclists get into accident due to failure to abide by the rules of the road. Both motorists and cyclists are obligated to share the road with one another rather. Too often, motorists have the mentality that cyclists take to the road “at their own risk.” Cyclists, for their part, too often tend to assume that because they are not operating a vehicle, they are not bound to the same rules. These mentalities are a recipe for disaster.

We’ll continue looking at this topic in our next post.