New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawyers
Representing clients injured in bike and pedestrian accidents in NJ
Bicyclists and pedestrians in communities throughout New Jersey are afforded protections under our state’s traffic laws. Cars are required to yield to people entering a crosswalk or legally crossing at an intersection. Bikes are afforded the same rights on the road as any motor vehicle driver. Yet in a typical year, more than 150 pedestrians and cyclists die in accidents with drivers who fail to yield the right of way, or who simply do not exercise enough caution when driving near them.
If you or a member of your family suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident while riding a bike or walking in a community in New Jersey, call the NJ personal injury lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. From offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, we provide aggressive, effective legal representation for people injured in bike and pedestrian accidents throughout New Jersey.
Bicycle and pedestrian accidents in New Jersey and throughout the country
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that between 2007 and 2016, the number of pedestrian deaths increased by 27 percent, while all other traffic fatalities decreased by 14 percent. In 2016, pedestrian deaths accounted for about 16 percent of total motor vehicle crash deaths. In 2017, New Jersey had the 17th highest pedestrian fatality rate per 100k population of 1.85 compared to New Mexico at 3.45 and Nebraska was the lowest at 0.68. Bicycle and pedestrian accidents are most likely to occur on local streets after dark in non-intersection travel lanes.
The Insurance institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that about two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. About 835 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016. While studies have shown that helmet use reduces the odds of head injury in a bicycle crash by 50 percent, only 21 states in the U. S. and the District of Columbia have helmet laws applying to young bicyclists and none of these laws applies to all riders according to the IIHS, which also reports that in the past few years, no more than 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing a helmet.
New Jersey law requires bicycle riders under age 17 to wear a helmet.
Common causes of bicycle and pedestrian accidents
Bicycle accidents which involve a motor vehicle are often the result of driver inattention, or of the driver’s failure to yield the right of way to the bicyclist. The following are a few examples of some of the causes of bicycle crashes with motor vehicles:
- Motor vehicle rear-ends the bicycle. The driver may not have been paying close enough attention or may have been following the bicyclist too closely.
- Side-swipe. Side swiping occurs when the driver does not give the bicyclist enough space when passing them on the street.
- Making a right or left turn in front of an oncoming bicyclist. Also called a “right cross” or a “left cross,” these collisions happen when a driver crosses the bicyclists path in an intersection.
- Dooring accidents occur when a bicyclist crashes into a car door that suddenly opens in his or her path.
- Dangerous road conditions, which can be caused by poor weather such as ice and snow, large potholes, broken sewer grates, and other hazards.
- Defective bicycle equipment. Whether it is defective brakes or tires or other equipment failure, faulty or defective equipment can cause a rider to crash or make an accident worse.
Injuries from bicycle and pedestrian accidents
Being injured in a bicycle crash can be a harrowing experience. When a motor vehicle hits a bicyclist or a pedestrian, there is a vast potential for serious injuries. The following are a few examples:
- Head injuries
- Eye injuries
- Facial fractures and soft-tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Crush injuries
- Strained and sprained muscles
- Spinal cord injury
The prevalence of hit-and-run accidents for pedestrians and bicyclists
Many bike and pedestrian accidents become hit-and-run cases because the biker or pedestrian does not have insurance and the car driver does not know what to do at the scene. Because there is no auto damage to worry about, the car driver often takes off as soon as he or she sees that the biker or pedestrian is up and walking around without serious injury. The injured person may not know the extent of the injuries but can no longer locate the driver. There may be options for filing a claim against your own tort insurance, homeowner’s insurance or the insurance of the owner of the property on which the accident occurred. Our NJ injury lawyers have experience helping people find other avenues for financial compensation when the liable party is not found or does not carry sufficient personal injury insurance.
Bicycle safety in New Jersey
Just as you need to have your car inspected on a regular basis, always make sure that all the parts on your bike are secure and functioning properly. Here are some additional safety tips to always keep in mind before going on your next bike ride:
- Wear a helmet that is the proper size. A head injury can result in a serious brain injury, so wearing a helmet every time you ride your bike is crucial.
- Adjust your bicycle to fit your size. If riding a road bike, allow one to two inches between you and the top bar. If using a mountain bike, allow three to four inches. The seat height should allow for a slight bend at the knee when sitting on the seat and the pedal is in the lower position. The handlebar should be level with the seat.
- Check equipment. Make sure that tires are properly inflated and that the brakes are functioning properly.
- Use reflective lights, tape and/or clothing. You always want to be seen by others, especially at dawn, dusk, nighttime or during inclement weather. Flashing lights are helpful at night.
- Maintain control of your bicycle. Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars. If carrying books, groceries or other items, put them in a bike carrier or a backpack.
- Stay alert and watch for road hazards. Potholes, puddles, leaves, and/or gravel can result in serious crashes if you do not see them until it is too late. Alert other riders if you are in the lead by yelling out and pointing to the hazard.
- Avoid riding after dark. Bicycle riding at night is significantly more dangerous than riding during the day. If you must ride your bike at night, make sure your bike and your clothing have reflective gear in order to help others see you.
Like any other vehicle in the road, a cyclist must always obey all traffic laws and ride with the flow of traffic, not against it. Following these simple tips will help keep you and your family safe when enjoying this popular outdoor activity.
How can a NJ pedestrian and bicycle accident attorney help your injury case?
Whether the driver who hit you stuck around or sped away, if you were seriously injured in a bicycle or pedestrian accident with a motor vehicle, you likely have serious injuries. If you are looking to recover compensation to cover the medical expenses you have incurred from the injury, your lost time at work and other losses, then you need to contact a skilled NJ bicycle and pedestrian accident lawyer right away. Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow has been helping injured people throughout New Jersey recover the compensation they need to get back on their feet after an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence. We investigate the crash and determine who is at fault so that we can pursue compensation for you. Whether we settle your case, or take it to court, we are there with you every step of the way until your case is resolved.
While we make no promises about how much we might be able to recover for you, we can promise that our award-winning personal injury attorney team will be responsive and keep you informed about how your case is moving.
Experienced New Jersey bike and pedestrian injury lawyers
From offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, our lawyers advise and represent clients in personal injury and wrongful death litigation matters throughout New Jersey. From wherever you are, call our office at 732-384-1331 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer at an office nearest to you.