Biking is more popular today than ever before in New Jersey and across the country. For instance, since 2008, the share of people commuting by bicycle has increased, on average, by 46 percent in each state, according to The League of American Bicyclists. However, the increase in bicycling has been accompanied by a high number of bicycle-car accidents.
As Governing.com reports, New Jersey ranks No. 23 in the nation for bicycle accident fatalities. Every year, on average, 1.7 people die in bicycle accidents per every one million residents in the state. In 2012, 14 people died in bicycle accidents in New Jersey, accounting for 2.4 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities.
Statistics show that most of these fatal bike accidents occur in urban areas such as Teaneck and surrounding communities in North Jersey.
If you have joined the bicycling trend in New Jersey, you need to know the rules of the road, including the fact that you are required by law to follow the same rules that govern motorists.
For example, you must:
- Signal before you make a turn
- Stop at all red lights and stop signs
- Give pedestrians in crosswalks the right of way.
By following these rules, you can help to make yourself and others safer.
You should also familiarize yourself with other laws that apply specifically to bicyclists in New Jersey. These laws include:
- Any individual under the age of 17 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or being towed by a bicycle.
- Bicycles must be equipped with bells or other audible devices – but not sirens or whistles – which can be heard at least 100 feet away.
- Like motorists, bicyclists must keep to the right and ride in a single file line when on the road.
- Bicyclists who ride at night must equip their bikes with front headlamps that emit white light that can be seen at least 500 feet away and rear lights that emit red light for the same amount of distance.
- Bikes must have red rear reflectors.
- Bicycles must be equipped with brakes that make their wheels skid when braking on dry, clean pavement.
Certain municipalities in New Jersey have outlawed bicycling on the sidewalk. You should check with your city’s local ordinances to determine if you are permitted to ride on the sidewalk.
If your city has not outlawed riding on the sidewalk, use your judgment to determine whether it would be safer for you and others for you to ride in the roadway or on the sidewalk.
In areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, bicycling on the sidewalk can be dangerous. In towns that feature busy highways, the sidewalk may be the safer choice for a bicyclist.
Obeying these laws – combined with using common sense – is important when it comes to safe bicycle riding in New Jersey.
Additionally, if you are a parent, you should talk to your children about the importance of wearing a helmet and observing other safety procedures while riding a bicycle.
You should supervise young children on bicycles at all times. You should you’re your older children clear boundaries about where they may and may not ride.
Get Help from an Experienced New Jersey Bicycle Injury Lawyer
Even if you follow the laws and take all necessary safety precautions, bicycle accidents can happen.
In the event you are involved in a bicycle crash involving a motor vehicle, knowing what to do in the days, weeks and months that follow could be the key to securing a full and fair recovery of your damages.
After your accident, seek medical attention right away in order to get your injuries diagnosed and to receive any medical care you need. Then, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the next steps in filing a claim.
You can speak with a member of our team of New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., by calling us or reaching us online. We can provide a free, immediate consultation about your case.