Ernest Holzberg & Associates Blog

New York City Personal Injury Lawyers

Ernest Holzberg & Associates FAQ

New York City Personal Injury Lawyers

New Cases Make It Easier For Injured Recreational Bicyclists To Win Claims

There has been some good news recently for recreational cyclists injured due to negligence in New York State. Several recent court decisions have ruled that the risk of an accident is not automatically assumed by someone who is simply riding his or her bicycle on a paved road.

Generally, the law states that someone who voluntarily participates in a sporting event or athletic activity, like bicycling, assumes the risk of injury and cannot receive money for an injury caused by normally expected conditions or risks. This is called the “doctrine of primary assumption of risk.”

However, the courts are now recognizing a distinction between bicyclists participating in “sporting” versus “leisure” or “recreational” rides. In several recent cases, New York courts allowed lawsuits brought by “leisure/recreational” bicyclists who were injured due to someone else’s negligence. The courts ruled that when it comes to leisure/recreational bicycle riding, the assumption of risk doctrine does not apply.

This new exception to the doctrine of assumption of risk for recreational cyclists is based on the principal that biking on a paved public roadway is similar to other leisure activities such as walking, jogging or roller skating on roadways, and it would not be reasonable to assume that participants in these activities consented to, or assumed the risk of, others’ negligence simply by participating in these activities.

However, if a cyclist was injured during a bicycle race, which would be considered a “sporting” activity, the assumption of risk doctrine would apply because, unlike “leisure/recreational” bicycling, bicycle racing is considered a sporting activity. Also, if a cyclist – whether “sporting” or “leisure/recreational” – is injured on an unpaved dirt path, the doctrine of assumption of the risk would apply since the existence of tree roots or holes is a hazard one might expect to find when riding on an unpaved path.

In more and more decisions, New York courts are beginning to recognize that the assumption of risk defense does not apply when someone is injured while simply riding a bicycle on a paved road (Cotty v. Town of Southampton, 880 N.Y.S.2d 656).

Bicycling is great exercise and can be a safe and economical means of transportation. With the courts now recognizing and expanding the legal rights of riders, it’s time to get on your bikes and ride!

If you have questions about an injury you sustained while cycling, please contact our Manhattan Bike Accident Attorneys at 212-391-1139.


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>