Do You Know The Laws For Bicyclists?

Posted August 7th, 2014 by .

Categories: Personal Injury.

bicyclists-personal-injury-attorneyWe see them everywhere.  In the warmer weather, people ride their bicycles to take advantage of the open air.  Some use their bikes to get to work, while others hop on with the hopes of burning calories.  Some have no other means of getting from one place to the next.  As with any other transportation mode, there is a risk for personal injury.  It is a good idea to know some basic rules of the road before taking to the pedals.

Although it may be tempting to ride facing traffic, this is actually against the law.  Bicyclists are required to stay on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic.  They should wear bright clothes to increase their visibility to other drivers.  People on bikes are also expected to follow all traffic signals and signs.  They are also expected to use appropriate turn signals.  It is just as illegal to zoom past a red light on a bike as it is in a car.

Under New Jersey state laws, there are certain situations when bicyclists may move to the left.  These include:

  • to make a left turn from a left-turn lane or pocket
  • to avoid debris, drains or other hazardous conditions that make it impracticable to ride at the right side of the roadway
  • to pass a slower moving vehicle
  • to occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic
  • “to travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded”

Despite following the law, bicycle riders can be extremely vulnerable to personal injury.  Many times, accidents are no fault of the person pedaling the bike.  Injuries can be quite severe and painful.  They can even involve traumatic brain injury and broken bones.  Medical bills are a potential issue.  Who pays them?

Bicyclists are considered pedestrians when it comes to New Jersey personal injury matters.  If a person on a bike is hit by a car and has automobile insurance, the policy’s own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits may apply.  This coverage is also available to family members who reside in the same household.

This may sound like an easy answer, but it is not a complete one.  What if someone  rides a bicycle to make a customer delivery and is struck by a car?  This would mean that the accident is work-related.  Workers compensation would then assume coverage.  What if there is no automobile insurance in the household?  What if a commercial vehicle causes the accident?

Personal injuries cases can become very complex.  It is often frustrating to determine the party responsible for paying the bills.  A claim may also involve some degree of permanent loss.  It is important to consult with an attorney who has knowledge of accidents involving bicyclists.  Jersey City personal injury lawyer Anthony Carbone has done these types of cases for over 25 years.  Please feel free to contact our office for a complimentary consultation.

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