While New York state does not have a mandatory helmet law for bicyclists aged 14 and older, there is plenty of evidence supporting the fact that wearing one while riding a bike can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious head injury if you’re involved in a crash. A Norwegian analysis from 2018 reviewed the results of 55 studies that took place over 18 years and concluded that using bicycle helmets reduced head injuries by 48% and serious head injuries by 60%. A study published in the American Journal of Surgery in 2016 similarly found that bike riders who were wearing helmets when they crashed had a 51% lower chance of having a traumatic brain injury than those who were not wearing helmets at the time. Dozens of other studies have been published over the years, showing bike helmets can prevent some head injuries.
Helmets are not a magic cure-all, however. There is evidence to support the conclusion that they do not protect against concussions, for example. And they appear to provide much less protection when the cyclist is struck by a car going more than 20 miles per hour. Cycling advocates also argue that mandatory helmet requirements reduce the number of cyclists and that encouraging more cyclists to be on the roads means that vehicle drivers become more used to seeing – and avoiding – them.
Recovering if You’re Riding and Struck by a Vehicle
Generally speaking, whether you’re wearing a helmet or not should not affect your ability to recover if you were struck by a vehicle while riding your bike. You may be entitled to health and economic loss benefits under New York’s no-fault insurance laws. You may further be able to recover damages from the driver for your injuries and your pain and suffering.
Filing a No-Fault Claim Versus Suing for Damages
There are important steps you need to take if you want to receive benefits under the no-fault insurance policy of the driver who struck you, as well as if you want to sue the driver to recover damages for your injuries, pain, and suffering. It’s a complicated area, and speaking with one of the experienced and skilled attorneys at Campson & Campson can make all the difference between a claim that is accepted and paid and one that is denied. We have years of experience handling claims for cyclists and pedestrians who have been struck by drivers in New York, and we can help you understand what you need to do and when. Contact us at (212) 302-1180 or through our online form to learn more about how we can help.