Bicyclists share the road with other motor vehicles and must follow the same traffic laws. However, when a bicyclist is involved in an accident, he or she is much more likely to suffer serious injuries than someone who is in a car. While things like designated bike lanes can reduce the risk of bicycle accidents, they are not widely available, so it is often up to the cyclists to be vigilant about protecting themselves whenever they are on the road.
One of the most important, life-saving things a cyclist can do whenever he or she gets on a bike is to always wear a helmet. Most bicycle fatalities are caused by head injuries, and wearing a helmet can reduce this risk by 85 percent. The following are additional precautions cyclists should take to protect themselves from being injured in a bicycle accident:
- Do not listen to music or use your mobile device as it can cause you to become distracted
- Install headlights and rear lights into your bicycle
- Obey all traffic laws
- Travel in the same direction as traffic
- Use the appropriate hand signals when turning
Even the most experienced, responsible cyclist can be struck by a car if the driver of the motor vehicle is not paying attention to his or her surroundings. Most bicycle accidents involving a collision with a car happen at intersections where the driver either does not see the cyclist, or fails to yield. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires all motorists to follow the guidelines below in order to help prevent serious bicycle accidents:
- Allow a minimum of three feet on the right side of the road to allow for bicycles to safely travel
- Always check for cyclists before opening your car door
- Be aware that cyclists have the right of way at intersections
- Before making a turn, look for cyclists in the vicinity
- Pull out of parking spots slowly, checking for cyclists in the area
If You’re Involved in a Bicycle Accident
If a cyclist is involved in an accident, it is important to try to remain calm and, depending on the nature of the injuries, follow these important steps in order to protect your rights in the event of a lawsuit:
- Contact the police. Do not leave the scene of the accident until police have arrived and you have filed a police report. It will be very difficult to collect compensation for injuries if you do not fill out a police report. Avoid engaging with the driver while you wait for police to arrive.
- Explain your version of the accident. A police report should include a statement from both parties involved in the accident. Even the most minor detail can prove to be significant at a later date. Do not omit anything.
- Exchange contact information. All parties involved, including witnesses, should exchange contact and insurance information.
- Document the details of the accident. The more information an accident victim has, the more helpful it can be in a lawsuit. It is important to list all injuries, no matter how minor, and note any changes or improvements, as well as medical treatment provided. Photos of the scene or any injuries can be particularly valuable to your case.
- Save evidence until case has been resolved. Do not throw away any evidence, or tamper with your bike until your case has been completely resolved. For example, do not make any repairs to your bicycle, or wash the clothing you were wearing, as it can jeopardize crucial evidence.
South Jersey Bicycle Accident Lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Represent Individuals With Personal Injuries
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident in New Jersey, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the driver. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, compensation could include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death if there has been a fatality. To schedule a free case review, call a South Jersey bicycle accident lawyer today at 856-354-9444 or contact us online. Folkman Law Offices, P.C. has convenient locations in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, allowing us to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.