Start Seeing Bicycles!
Now that school is back in session, there are another segment of bike riders at risk. Therefore it's important for drivers, cyclists and parents to stay vigilant and to know the law regarding bike accidents. A collision between a bike and a car can cause significant injury. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant and know your responsibilities under New Jersey law.
A Refresher On New Jersey Bicycle Law
New Jersey statutes make clear that "every person riding a bicycle on a roadway is granted all the rights" of a motor vehicle. But drivers often fail to see bike riders or fail to give them a wide berth, and it's the cyclists who pay a heavy price in a collision with a two-ton car. And while the drivers feel badly when they injure someone, what if we could avoid those bike accidents in the first place?
· Bicyclists should travel in the same direction of traffic. Bikes should keep as far to the right as possible.
· Many accidents happen when bikes turn left. Bicyclists can use the left side of the traffic lane or the left turn lane to when turning left at intersections. They are subject to the same rules as cars regarding red lights, green arrows and stop signs.
· Many accidents occur when the bike is going straight and the car is turning right. Motorists must yield the right-of-way to a bike rider or pedestrian in the crosswalk.
· Bike lanes are for bikes. Cars should not drive in the bike lane or crowd bicyclists who are in a designated bike lane or riding on the shoulder.
· Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Bikes are not strictly prohibited from riding on the sidewalks, but it puts both the cyclist and pedestrians at risk.
· Getting "doored" is always a danger for cyclists. A driver should check their side mirror before opening the car door to exit their vehicle. These collisions cause very serious injuries, and the driver is at fault (liable) for such accidents.
· Any bicyclist under the age of 17 must wear a helmet. It's a good idea for adults too. Helmets save lives and prevent many head injuries.
Bicyclists are often blamed for accidents, even when the driver was distracted, speeding or otherwise negligent. Even the police often get it wrong in their reports. If you are injured in a bike accident, get the driver's information, witness information and call police. Seek medical attention and contact the attorneys at Smith + Schwartzstein LLC at 973-532-2962 for a free consultation.