What You Need to Know About New Jersey Bicycle Laws
Bicycle accidents can be extremely daunting and catastrophic. Imagine an accident involving two vehicles – sometimes people walk away from these accidents with pretty serious injuries and others end in fatality. However, consider a bicycle accident with another vehicle. The injuries will typically be much worse because a bicycle is a small piece of riding equipment compared to a fairly large, heavy vehicle going at fast speeds. This is why it is important to keep safety in mind when you are navigating a bicycle anywhere close to other vehicles. The likelihood of an accident is always a reality.
Just how big is the problem? You can take, for instance, the numbers regarding accidents – in 2013, approximately 900 bicyclists were killed in bicycle-related incidents. Injuries relating to bicyclists in 2010 resulted in lifetime medical costs and about $10 billion lost in productivity. It may be surprising to find that adolescents and young adults have the highest bicycle death rates. Many of these accidents occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations. Since 2000, the number of Americans who bike to work has increased by an alarming 60%. So what laws are a source of consideration in New Jersey and how do they protect riders?
Did you know that head injury is one of the most common causes of death among bicyclists? According to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, head injuries are one of the most serious injuries that a rider can sustain. In New Jersey, there are laws put in place to protect riders when they need it the most. For instance, anyone under the age of 17 is required to wear an approved helmet when cycling. This means that it must meet the standards to protect a bicyclist, or somebody who is partaking in other activities such as roller-skating, in-line skating, or skateboarding. Why is this? The law presumes that anybody under 17 is not mature enough to know the importance of wearing a helmet and staying safe.
Unfortunately, there are many people who are 17 or younger who do not understand the consequences of not wearing a helmet. Because of this, there is a major risk for them to sustain a traumatic brain injury. These injuries can happen anywhere including parks, bike paths, and even in your own driveway. This is why it is important for people of any age to wear a helmet at all times and stay safe.
Other Safety Laws Regarding Bicycles
Anybody who is riding a bicycle in New Jersey must also abide by the rules of the road just as a driver would. This means that you must be prepared to use turn signals, ride only on the right side of the road, and always obey traffic signs. Bicyclists should always remain to the right and ride single file when riding slower than the flow of traffic.
If you are riding at night, there are some things to remember, too. Your bicycle must be equipped with a lamp on the front that emits a white light and with a lamp on the rear, emitting a red light. Every bike should also have a mounted red reflector. This reflector must be visible from a distance of up to 500 feet. These reflectors can be very low in price and found at any department store. By learning and understanding the rules of the road, you will stay safe and always enjoy your journey.
Have you taken safety precautions but still ended up in a bicycle accident? We can help you. If you have sustained personal injuries as a result, we are there for you to help you with your case. Call us today at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi for more information.