Experienced NJ Bicycle Accident Lawyers Pursue Full Compensation for Cyclists Injured by Motor Vehicles
Riding a bicycle is great for your health and, when possible, makes for environmentally friendly commuting. Unfortunately, too few roads in New Jersey are designed and constructed with cyclists in mind, and too few motorists take adequate safety precautions when sharing the roads with cyclists. The too-frequent result is a collision between car and bike, which can be catastrophic for the cyclist whose body is full exposed to the vehicle and to the hard surface of the road. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, the accomplished personal injury attorneys at Brach Eichler are prepared to help. Bicycle accidents cases often turn on proof of fault. Our knowledgeable attorneys thoroughly investigate your accident to compile the evidence necessary to ascertain the defendant’s liability and protect you from allegations of comparative fault. Our comprehensive approach to litigating your case enables us to pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Bicycle accidents take a heavy toll in NJ and across the nation
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 840 cyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents across the nation in 2016, accounting for 2.2 percent of all traffic deaths. The most dangerous time for bicyclist deaths was between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (20 percent of fatalities) and the most dangerous locale was urban (71 percent). Fatalities were most likely to be male (84 percent of all deaths), and of male cyclists, the most likely to be injured were between 55 to 59 years old. Alcohol was a factor in 29 percent of traffic crashes in which either the cyclist or the vehicle driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
Keeping yourself safe as a cyclist on NJ roadways
As a cyclist, you bear primary responsibility for your own safety, so you must take decisive steps to improve your chances of avoiding an accident. You can start before you hit the road by:
- Choosing the right bike — Only ride a bicycle you can fully control.
- Maintaining your bike — A fully functional bike (especially when it comes to your brakes) gives you a solid advantage on the road. Equipping your bike with rearview mirrors is also a good idea.
- Making your bike visible — Reflectors during the daytime and lights at night are essential. Wearing bright clothes whenever you ride is also extremely helpful.
- Wearing safety equipment — New Jersey law only requires riders who are under the age of 18 to wear a helmet, but really, every rider should. Comfortable riding clothes including gloves can eliminate distractions and let you concentrate on the road. Riding clothes are also less likely to get caught in your bike chain.
- Balance any loads — If you are carrying anything (in a messenger bag, in a basket, or on a rack), make sure it is evenly balanced and doesn’t shift.
- Plan your route— Chart a course that avoids busy arteries and intersections and doesn’t force you to ride above your skill level. The safest routes will include a designated bike lane, preferable with a physical barrier from automobile traffic.
- Develop your skills — You should never ride in traffic until you are secure with your cycling skills, including your ability to signal, make eye contact with drivers, and make evasive maneuvers around obstacles.
You must also observe all the rules of the road and drive defensively. Important safety tips include:
- Anticipate what a car may do — Yes, you have a right to share the road, but now is not the time to make a political point. The car is going to do what it’s going to do, and you better be alert and get out of the way.
- Drive in the same direction as traffic — This is not just safer; it’s also the law.
- Obey street signs, traffic signals, and road markings — You are held to the same standards as a car.
- Never assume a motorist can see you — Drivers can be easily distracted. Cars have blind spots, and trucks have even larger blind spots.
- Look down the road for hazards — Debris in the roadway or grates, manhole covers and potholes that are no problem for a car can seriously injure a cyclist. Watch driveways and curb cutouts for vehicles coming out onto the street.
- Avoid distractions — Cellphone use or headphones piping in music put you at unnecessary risk.
- Ride predictably — Take your time with lane changes. Avoid weaving in and out of parked vehicles and stay off the sidewalk. A sudden, erratic move can take a motorist by surprise.
- Use hand signals — Establish your signal well in advance of the move you are planning to make. Make eye contact with an adjacent motorist to ascertain he or she has picked up on your signal.
These tips can help you avoid an accident, and the former can help you defend against allegations of comparative negligence if an accident occurs.
Common injuries for cyclists involved in motor vehicle collisions
A cyclist in motor vehicle traffic is fully exposed. In the event of a collision, the vehicle deals the first blow to the body, but the secondary collision with the road or a curb can be even more severe. Common injuries cyclists suffer include:
- Head injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones, especially collar bones, ribs, wrists and forearms
- Crush injuries from being pinned beneath vehicles
If you are severely injured in a bike accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for your medical bills, lost income, and your pain and suffering. But, you can only recover damages if you can prove the vehicle driver was at fault. This often requires assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer who can assemble the evidence necessary to make the case. At Brach Eichler, we have the knowledge and skill you can trust. We have recovered more than $225 million in compensation for injured clients in NJ, and we are ready to put our skill and determination to work for you.
Contact an accomplished NJ bike accident lawyer for your injury claim
A serious bicycle injury can be painful and costly and have long-term implications. The attorneys at Brach Eichler Personal Injury are prepared to pursue the full compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled and aggressive attorney, call us today at 973-364-8300 or contact us online.