What Everybody Ought to Know about Bicycle Accidents
There are all kinds of reasons you might love the idea of hopping on a two-wheeler. Riding a bike is not only fun and healthy. In fact, more and more people are choosing to bike to work. However, New Jersey can be a dangerous place for bicyclists, and accidents can result. Congested roads and driver distractions can increase the danger. Unfortunately, drivers do not always know how to share the way with cyclists.
Imagine it is a beautiful sunny day and you decide to go for a bike ride. You put on your helmet, get on, and start pedaling. You are biking in the designated bike lane when a motorist comes out of nowhere and fails to see you. You see the car coming at you and swerve to get out of the way, but it is too late. The car has already entered into your path and hit you. You crash to the ground.
As you are waiting for the police and medical treatment to arrive, you notice that you are having a hard time getting up and also turning your head. As it turns out, you have sustained leg and neck injuries. Also, your bike is damaged beyond repair.
Bicycle Accidents: Some Background
Riding a bicycle can be hazardous and even fatal. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 818 bicyclists and other cyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2015, an increase from 729 in 2014. These are the latest available statistics. Meanwhile, the numbers seem consistent year after year.
Many factors contribute to bicycle accidents. Despite the increase in bicyclists in both urban and rural areas, many New Jersey public roadways are not designed to always safely accommodate bicycles. No doubt you already know that bike riding is not permitted on either the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike. That said, the New Jersey Department of Transportation asserts that only select portions of Route 1 are off limits for bicyclists.
Heavy congestion can put bicyclists in danger, particularly at heavily trafficked intersections and turn lanes. Narrow bike paths can be problematic, and often cars pass bicyclists too closely. In their defense, the motorist may cite visibility issues affecting them, such as sun glare, rain, fog, darkness, or a bending road.
Of course, there’s also the issue of driver distraction, such as texting. This can increase the risk of injury to cyclists. A motor vehicle operator might be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, poor road conditions, such as potholes, can lead to collisions between bicycles and cars.
According to N.J.S.A.39:4-14, bicyclists have the same right to use the road as cars: Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”
Bicycle accident victims can experience injuries that may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Damage to internal organs
Recovering from these injuries can takes several weeks, months, or years.
If you have sustained losses in a bicycle-motor vehicle collision, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death, and other damages.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident due to negligence, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law can help you seek compensation for your injuries and suffering.