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No Lane For Recovery When Central Park Cyclist Gets Hit By A Truck (NY)

June 2, 2022

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<p style="text-align: justify;">The First Department Appellate Division granted a defendant summary judgment dismissal in a motor vehicle accident claim involving a truck driver and a pedestrian bicyclist. In <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Peter-Deutch-v.-City-of-New-York.pdf">Peter Deutch v. City of New York</a>,</em> 2022 NY Slip Op 03174 (1st Dept. 2022),  plaintiff was bicycling in Center Park East when he collided with a flatbed truck owned by defendants Hellman Electric Corp. The accident occurred on a three-lane roadway, with the left lane for pedestrian traffic, the middle lane for bicycle traffic and the right most lane for vehicular traffic. Plaintiff was using the middle lane as he approached the truck when he swerved to avoid pedestrians walking, and in doing so, collided with the flatbed truck sustaining serious injury.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In support of its motion, Defendant Hellman Electric provided photographs of skid marks on the road from the truck, testimony of three separate eyewitnesses, and the affidavit of an accident reconstruction expert, arguing the truck did not violate any traffic law and stayed in its lane up to and including the moment of collision. The First Department concluded the evidence sustained a prima facie argument by proving the truck did not change lanes and did not cause the accident. Plaintiff’s self-serving testimony that the truck crossed into the bicycle lane was considered speculative. The First Dept. was also not persuaded by plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert who opined, without any supporting case law, that a truck must maintain three-foot distance when passing a bicyclist.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This case demonstrate the evidence needed by a defendant to win summary judgment in a pedestrian/bicyclist knockdown.  Eyewitness testimony, photographs and utilization of an accident reconstruction expert sustained defense argument that their vehicle stayed in their lane of traffic at the moment of collision and did not violate any traffic law.  Defendant’s evidence was not outweighed by the speculative and circumstantial evidence submitted by plaintiff in his opposition.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Raymond Gonzalez for his contribution to this post.  Should you have any questions, please contact <a href="mailto:tbracken@wcmlaw.com">Thomas Bracken</a>.</p>

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