Riding a bicycle is a healthy, eco-friendly transportation option. It’s also a great way to enjoy New Jersey’s outstanding views.
Because more and more people are choosing to ride bikes, roads are becoming increasingly bike-friendly, and bike lanes abound. Regardless of this, cyclists remain vulnerable to road accidents.
Careless drivers can cause severe and extensive harm to cyclists.
Any cyclist injured in a traffic accident should contact an experienced New Jersey bicycle accident lawyer immediately. A bike accident attorney will help them build a solid case and make sure that their claim is as strong as possible.
What are the Bicycle Laws in New Jersey?
In New Jersey and most other states, bicycles are legally considered vehicles. Cyclists are afforded the same duties and rights as other motorists. They’re required to observe the same traffic regulations and enjoy an equal right to be on the road.
Other motorists are required by law to provide adequate space for cyclists on the roadways. If a bike lane is not available, a cyclist is entitled to use a full lane.
According to Title 39 of New Jersey Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations laws, cyclists are required to stay as close to the right side of the road as possible and practice proper care.
Cyclists and their passengers are also required to wear properly sized and fastened safety helmets that meet the federal standards set by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
What are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Most accidents involving bicycles are caused by drivers of motor vehicles. These accidents can be triggered by various factors, including:
- Distractions: Drivers can cause catastrophic accidents when their attention isn’t fully on the road. They might be distracted by the cellphone, food, or passengers inside the vehicle. These distractions make it difficult for them to see if there’s a cyclist near them.
- Unsafe Turns: When a motorist forgets to check if a bicycle is in their path and takes a turn too quickly, they can either cause a rear-end collision or end up sideswiping the cyclist.
- Road Hazards: Unfortunately, not all roads in the state are safe. Road litter, potholes, and other obstructions can endanger the life of an unwitting cyclist.
- Aggressive Drivers: Some drivers may see a cyclist on their path, but refuse to slow down and wait for a chance to pass the latter safely. They’d rather put the other person’s life at risk by driving closer and faster.
What are Some Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Even the most careful cyclists aren’t completely safe while they’re on the road. There’s still a high risk that they’d get involved in a motor vehicle accident. After all, they can’t control how other people around them drive.
On top of that, bicycle accidents can result in serious—and even fatal—injuries as cyclists don’t have the level of protection necessary to withstand a collision with a motor vehicle.
Here are some of the common injuries that cyclists suffer from when they’re involved in traffic accidents:
- Muscle and ligament tears
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal organ damage
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Brain injuries from a mild concussion to traumatic brain injury
- Neck injuries and spinal cord damage, including paralysis
Some of the effects of these injuries can be long-lasting, and even permanent. The likelihood of suffering from disabling injuries is quite high for cyclists
What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?
Any cyclist who has been in an accident should know how to protect themselves and prepare for litigation if the accident was the other party’s fault.
Here are some steps to keep in mind:
- Keep calm, call the police, and don’t leave the scene of the accident. No matter how minor the accident may be, it should be followed up with a police report. Remember, some injuries don’t manifest until some time after the incident. A cyclist may have suffered an injury, such as a concussion, and may not realize it until it is too late. With a police report, it’ll be easier for them to pursue compensation for the damages they’ve suffered.
- Speak to the police officer and provide an account of the accident as well as details about any injury they may have sustained.
- Document the accident, including the time, place, road conditions, and even the weather. Take photos of the scene and any injuries.
- Preserve evidence until the case is completely resolved. If the bike is broken, avoid getting it repaired or junked. This is also true for any clothing or protective gear worn during the accident.
Who is Liable in a Bike Accident?
Although each bicycle accident is different, most of the time, the incident is caused by the negligence of the person who crashed into the cyclist.
That said, many factors may come into play and affect the liability of each party. A bike accident lawyer can help determine liability, establish negligence, and help make sure that the cyclist can recover the monetary compensation that they deserve.
A cyclist who has been injured can pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
- Medical bills
- Costs of in-home care or rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lower quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Bicycle Accident Claim?
Yes. A bicycle accident lawyer will help you obtain just compensation for your injuries. They’ll aggressively fight for your interests and make sure that you get the amount of compensation that can sufficiently cover your medical bills, lost wages, and any other damages you may have suffered.
Contact an Experienced NJ Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been in a bicycle accident caused by the misconduct, carelessness, or negligence of another party, you need to contact a capable and experienced New Jersey bike accident lawyer as soon as possible.
A bicycle lawyer will be there for you during this difficult time, providing legal guidance and assistance so you can focus on recovery.
Our team at Grossman Law can review your case, address your questions, and determine whether you have a valid claim. Contact us now at (732) 625-9494 to schedule a free consultation.