Top 6 Tips To Avoid A Bicycle Accident in New Jersey
New Jersey Bicycle Accidents Are Shockingly Common Occurences
Statistics paint a grim reality for New Jersey cyclists. The pastime enjoyed by many has the potential to cause serious injuries due to the congested roadways New Jersey residents must endure for commuting and recreational road riding. Between 2001 and 2011 the Tri-State Transportation Campaign has recorded 19,551 serious bicycle accidents in 13 northern counties alone, with 81 resulting in a fatality for the cyclist. It is imperative that every cyclist in New Jersey understands how to avoid an accident and what to do if an accident does occur.
1.) Ride a Properly Sized Bicycle
First and foremost, riding a properly sized bicycle is crucial to maintaining your safety when riding on the road. A bike that is too small or too large makes it difficult to maneuver and operate safely. If your bicycle does not fit you properly we recommend going to a local bike shop and getting fitted for a bicycle that fits you and your budget. Your life and wellbeing is not worth saving any amount of money.
2.) Follow All Traffic Laws
It is not uncommon for cyclists to blatantly disregard the rule of the road. It’s worth noting that a bicycle is a vehicle too and you should operate it the same way you would in an automobile. Be sure to respect traffic lights, stop signs, yields, speed limits, and other vehicles right of way. Following traffic laws is essential to maintaining your safety while riding your bicycle.
3.) Avoid Highways and Busy Roads
All cyclists should avoid congested roadways whenever possible. Highways typically aren’t very bicycle-friendly and in fact, most accidents tend to occur on busy roadways and intersections. Plan a route that takes you through residential or backroads as opposed to highways. Saving a few minutes on your commute is not worth enduring a catastrophic bicycle accident.
4.) Make Yourself Visible
Maintaining visibility is key to avoiding an unexpected bicycle accident, especially in New Jersey. Roadways are busier than ever, especially at night when visibility is an issue. All bicycles should come equipped with a front headlight and rear light that has the capability to flash. Even during the day time hours lights are essential to maintaining visibility. Likewise, cyclists should make an effort to wear bright colors and reflective materials whenever possible.
5.) Maintain a Safe Distance to Parked Cars
Always remain vigilant when riding alongside cars parked parallel to the road. Always assume any of those cars could potentially pull out in front of you or open their door in your path. Bicyclists who ride in urban environments must always be cautious as a “door prize” accident can cause severe injuries for the cyclists. We recommend riding at least 4 feet away from cars parked parallel to the road to maintain a safe distance.
6.) Avoid Electronic Distractions
Cell phones, headphones, GPS units, cameras, and other electronic devices should be avoided when you are riding. If you have an important notification on your phone always pull off to the side of road where safe and check it once you are stationary and away from danger. Never ride and use an electronic device at the same time. Both hands should be on the handlebars at all times and you should never take your eyes off the road. Headphones and music are a no-go, being aware and able to hear traffic coming behind you is key to riding safely.
James S. Braaten
Senior Litigation Counsel
James Braaten, Esq. is Of Counsel to Clark & DiStefano, and a Senior Litigation Counsel for the firm. Mr. Braaten has over 25 years experience in litigating Products Liability matters. He is an avid cyclist and bicycle collector. His passion for bicycling led him to take a strong stance on bicycle law and representing fellow bicyclist injured by cars and motor vehicles.
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