Bike and Cycle Crashes
Street Defects, Pot Holes, and other Conditions
Street defects and other dangerous roadway conditions for cyclists include:
- Pot Holes
- Road Hardware such as Manhole Covers and Utility Vaults
- Construction Plates
- Road Cuts, Trenches, and other Temporary Paving
- Grates and Sewers
- Construction Debris and Negligently Placed Equipment
- Negligently Placed Dumpsters or Other Demolition Equipment
If you are a cyclist who suffers a crash as a result any of the above street conditions, we may be able to help. The most difficult case to prove is a case involving a pothole in a city street. In almost all cases in New York, you must prove that the City or Municipality had "prior written notice of the defect" before your accident occurred. However, if you can prove that the City of Municipality "affirmatively" created the condition, worked in the area, or otherwise had notice, you might be able to maintain a lawsuit.
If you were involved in a crash due to a road defect REPORT IT! Even if you were not hurt, by reporting it you help protect your fellow cyclists who may later face the same defect and not be so lucky.
Brand New- See a Street Defect, take a PICTURE or VIDEO and REPORT IT!!!!
The law is different when it comes to Road Hardware such as man holes and vaults that may be owned and maintained by private companies or Municipal Authorities like Consolidated Edison (Con Ed), the Transit Authority, or other Utility providers such as Verizon. These entities are required by the New York City Administrative Code to maintain the area 12" inches around the structure, flush with the road surface. (11 RCNY2-14) This is what we call the 12" Rule, and it create a basis for liability for the entity that owns and maintains the street hardware. This makes them liable for an injury caused by the defect.
The section now numbered §2-07(b) and provides as follows:
(1) The owners of covers or gratings on a street are responsible for monitoring the condition of the covers and gratings and the area extending twelve inches outward from the perimeter of the hardware;
(2) The owners of covers and gratings shall replace or repair any cover or grating found to be defective and shall repair any defective street condition found within an area extending twelve inches outward from the perimeter of the cover or grating.
(3) Street hardware shall be flush with the surrounding street surface. Street hardware which is greater than ½"above or below the street surface . . . shall be replaced or adjusted . . . ."
Street opening plates (traffic plates) are required to be "pinned" in place so that they do not shift or move from vehicle traffic and should ramped in order to keep them in secure positions as well as a smooth transition as one traverses the plate. If a street opening is made by a contractor and plates are used, the responsibly to properly pin and ramp the plate lies and to properly maintain the surrounding roadway lies with the constructor.
Also by statute, a contractor working on a city street or sidewalk is required to keep all areas used by the public in a safe condition and it "shall be maintained free from debris, equipment, materials, projections or conditions that may cause a slipping, tripping or other hazard" In addition "waste dumpsters and debris, debris boxes should be secured and those containing material or debris shall be covered at the end of each workday".
For example, we once represented a cyclist who was injured when the tarp on top of a dumpster was not properly secured, blew lose into his path, and caused him to lose control of his bike and crash. After the crash his ankle was run over by an unidentified truck. While we were never able to identify the van that struck our client, we were successful in our suit against the contractor and building owner in the claim for negligent placement of the dumpster and the failure to secure the tarp.
In the City of New York to report a Pothole, missing manhole cover, defective or open street cut or other road hazards, click here for the New York City Department of Transportation Customer Service Page.
If you are a cyclist injured by a road defect, pot hole, or other roadway hardware or construction debris, call us today at 1-866-Flanzig or email us at email@example.com