Q: A pedestrian is struck by a regular pedal bike in Prospect Park, and he sustains a fractured arm. The police come to the scene and take a police report identifying the bicyclist. Are the pedestrian’s medical bills covered?
A: Since regular bicyclists are not required to carry insurance, there is no automatic medical insurance from the bicyclist. This compares to the situation where a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle (car or motorcycle), and the pedestrian is assured medical coverage. In the bike accident, the injured person is responsible for the medical bills. If the injured party has health insurance, he must claim against his health insurer. If the injured pedestrian or rider has no insurance, then there is no source for recovery of the medical bills.
Q: In this situation, would the injured person be able to sue the bicyclist and recover?
A: Assuming that the bicyclist was negligent, the answer is “yes”, but the big question is whether the bicyclist is covered. If this bicyclist were delivering take-out food for the local diner, it is likely that the bicyclist will be covered under the restaurant’s insurance. If the bicyclist is biking on his own time for pleasure, then biking would be covered under that person’s homeowners or renter’s or condo insurance. Of course, this assumes that the biker carries this insurance because there is no requirement that the owner of a regular bike carry insurance. Unfortunately, we have seen many instances where the cyclist has no insurance and no significant assets.
Q: Let us assume that the bicycle is a motorized bike. Would things be different?
A: Probably not. Again, if this were a food delivery, then the restaurant should be responsible, and its insurance will cover. Also, if the owner were using the e-bike solely for pleasure, then there would be a recovery if the biker had personal insurance. In the area of motorized bikes, there is no insurance requirement.
If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident and have other questions, please call our office at 212-962-2626.