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Over the past few decades, the sport of bicycling has grown exponentially. Now that warm weather is finally here, cyclists are everywhere. As the number of riders increases, so does the risk of injury.
The most obvious danger is being hit by a car. It can be due to cyclist error or the fault of the vehicle’s driver. If the bike rider wanders into the driver’s lane or moves erratically or unsafely, the driver can be caught off guard and hit the bicyclist. Conversely, if the vehicle’s driver does not give the cyclist enough room, blocks a lane, or is speeding, these can result in accidents.
There are other dangers on the road, too. A New Jersey bicycling club president was hurt when he was pedaling past a parked car. The woman inside did not see him, opened the car door, and the cyclist slammed right into it. This could have been prevented if he was riding slower, or if she had looked in her rear-view mirror before opening the door.
Road obstacles like trashcans and branches can also cause crashes. After such a bad winter, the roads are full of potholes. If a cyclist traveling fast hits a pothole, the consequences can be fatal. Riding a bike at night, especially in traffic, should be avoided. Also, many cycling clubs ride in packs, so hitting another rider is a very real hazard.
New, inexperienced riders should learn the rules of the road before buying a bike. It starts with buying a bike that fits properly. If the pedals are too far to reach, you could fall when coming to a stop. Always wear a helmet, brightly colored cycling clothing, and bright head and taillights when riding in the dark.
Bike clubs and shops offer safety courses for both new and experienced riders. Learning to stay on the correct side of the road, using hand signals for turning and stopping, and recognizing the proper way to stop at a traffic signal are all critical for cyclist safety. Vehicle drivers should keep their distance from cyclists as much as safely possible and slow down around them. Above all, both cyclists and drivers need to respect each other on the road.
In New Jersey, there are laws that pertain to cyclists’ personal protective gear such as helmets and use of lights at night, but no specific law pertaining to drivers to protect bicyclists. Certain states have a clearance law where vehicles must allow a bicycle three to four feet of distance. In crashes involving bicycles and vehicles, liability can be either party’s responsibility; it must be determined if either was negligent. Reckless driving, like running a stop sign, speeding, or other traffic violations, could be the driver’s fault. Cyclists can be negligent, too. A sudden, unexpected turn into traffic, going the wrong way on a one-way street, or riding on the wrong side of the road can cause accidents.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you need the help of a highly capable, professional Cherry Hill bicycle accident lawyer at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. We represent drivers and cyclists, and we have successfully resolved many personal injury cases in New Jersey. Call 856-354-9444 or contact us online for a free consultation. With locations in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout South Jersey and the surrounding areas.