May 2015 was designated “Bike Month” by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Garden State is ranked as the 11th friendliest in the nation for cyclists by the League of American Bicyclists, but the serious injuries suffered by a Gloucester County cyclist in an April hit-and-run accident are evidence that much can still be done to improve safety for those traveling on two wheels. The woman remains in intensive care connected to breathing and feeding tubes.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation is the state agency with the greatest influence on bicycle and pedestrian safety, and its Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs is tasked with assessing road construction projects in the state to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to protect the state’s most vulnerable road users. However, improving driving behavior is seen as the best way to lower accident rates.
Drivers can reduce the chances of a collision with a bicycle by providing cyclists with three feet of space when passing them and checking their mirror before opening a door. Motorists should also be on the lookout for cyclists or pedestrians when making a turn of any kind. Cyclists can do their part by wearing bright clothing and a helmet at all times, using hand signals before turning and avoiding congested roads whenever possible. If cyclists must be on the road at night, they should ensure that their bicycles are equipped with working front and rear lights.
The injuries suffered in auto-bicycle accidents are frequently catastrophic in nature, and these collisions are often caused by intoxicated, distracted or reckless drivers. A personal injury attorney may seek compensation for cyclists struck by negligent motorists by filing a lawsuit against the individual responsible.