Bicycling will always be a preferred pastime for children, but it has also become an increasingly popular mode of exercise and travel for adults. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans who commute to work by bike has grown more than 60% since 2000. That surge has prompted numerous cities to add bike lanes on roadways, and forced states to sure up their bike laws. No matter how many accommodations are provided; however, bicyclists remain vulnerable to bicycle accidents.
Hundreds of bicyclists will die in car accidents this year. Thousands more will be injured. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) maintains that the vast majority of these victims will suffer a head injury, even though the use of a helmet is estimated to reduce such injuries by as much as 50%.
In New Jersey, bicycling is regulated under Title 39 of the Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation laws. Accordingly, a bicyclist must obey all state and local automobile driving laws, including the observation of traffic lights and stop signs, as well as hand-signaling before making a turn. The New Jersey bike law further provides that bicyclists will ride as near to the right side of the road as possible and exercise due care when riding alongside a motor vehicle. New Jersey bicyclists traveling in a group may ride two abreast so long as traffic will not be impeded; otherwise, they must ride single file.
At the same time, cars must respect a bicycle just as they would any other car or a truck. Drivers should yield to oncoming bike traffic before making a turn, and pass a bicyclist only when they can do so safely. The U.S. Department of Transportation also recommends that drivers leave bicyclists a three-foot wide stretch of the right-hand side of the road, and use extra caution before pulling out of a parking spot or opening a car door.
If you have been involved in an accident with a car while riding your bike, even when you do not believe you are injured, Monmouth County personal injury lawyers say it is important that you await the arrival of police and emergency medical technicians. Provide those officials with your version of events, and obtain from the driver their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number; license plate number; and insurance information whenever available. Take photographs of the scene, document your bicycle accident injuries and damage to your bicycle, and make a list of contact information for any potential witnesses.
Some bicyclists will be fortunate enough to walk away from a bicycle accident with a car, but others will not. In New Jersey, a personal injury lawsuit can yield substantial monetary damages for victims of bicycle accidents when the accident was caused by a negligent driver. Such damages can cover things such as lost pay, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Even if your actions contributed to the bicycle accident, under New Jersey law you may still be entitled to compensation so long as the accident was primarily the fault of the driver.
If you or a loved one was injured while riding a bicycle do not assume responsibility because of a mistaken belief that roads are meant for cars. Under New Jersey law, a bicyclist is just as entitled to use our roadways as motor vehicles. Monmouth County bicycle accident lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. represent New Jersey bicycle accident victims. We hold negligent drivers accountable, and will aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact us online, or call (732) 493-9400 to schedule a free consultation at our Eatontown, New Jersey offices, where we proudly serve personal injury clients in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Mercer County and the New Jersey towns of Long Branch, Asbury Park, Middletown, Ocean Township, Freehold, Wall, Belmar, Sea Girt and Neptune.