Many people ride their bicycles for a variety of reasons, including the rising price of auto gasoline, environmental concerns, and the desire to incorporate more exercise into their daily route. However, putting aside the car keys to commute on a bicycle can be tragic when a cyclist is involved in a road accident.
A 58-year-old Spring Lake cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run accident on a rural Monmouth County road in Howell around 3:30 p.m. on March 12. Charles McHugh, 58, was riding his bicycle on Herbertsville Road near Blewetts when an unidentified vehicle traveling south hit him from behind. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene and headed toward Brick or Wall. The crash caused authorities to close both directions of Herberstville Road including Monmouth County Road 549 through Howell Township as police investigated the accident.
Police said witnesses described the offending car as a four-door 1990s black Toyota with silver accents on the fender. The car’s hood, passenger side headlight, and windshield should be damaged and it would show yellow paint transfer from the bicycle from the impact.
The fatal bicycle accident illustrates just how dangerous biking can be. Often, drivers who hit cyclists claim they didn’t see the cyclist. In many cases, drivers hit them because they were distracted, texting and driving, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which impedes the ability to drive safely. Usually, drivers who flee the scene after a cycling accident don’t carry insurance, have been engaged in criminal activities, or are they simply in a panic after a crash.
Like motorists and pedestrians, cyclists have the right to be safe while using the roadways. Drivers who don’t pay close attention to their surroundings are considered negligent and can be held responsible for the wrecks they cause. The consequences of a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle can be disastrous, especially for the cyclist. Without an outer shell to provide protection, they are at risk for serious, even fatal injuries.
Drivers who flee the scene instead of providing aid to an injured victim can face criminal charges. Police are still looking for the car that struck and killed cyclist Charles McHugh. There’s no guarantee that the driver will be found or identified. If the driver is eventually found or turns himself in, the victim’s family may pursue a wrongful death claim. The at-fault driver may be held legally liable for the victim’s death and family’s losses under the driver’s auto insurance policy.
If the at-fault driver is never identified, the victim’s family may seek compensation through his uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Even if the driver in a hit-and-run accident is never found, there is almost always some insurance recovery plan for the victim. An experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney will help the victim’s family seek compensation for their losses.