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Since riding a bicycle has become a more efficient mode of commuting versus driving your car or even taking the train, the number of bicycle accidents in Mercer County increase each year. The State of New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety has dedicated a section of resources on their website to inform bicyclists of ways to stay safe on New Jersey roads.
If you are injured while riding your bicycle on the roads of New Jersey, contact an accomplished personal injury attorney today. A Mercer County bicycle accident lawyer will work tirelessly to see that you are awarded the damages you deserve.
Like motorists, bicyclists in and around Mercer County have rights and responsibilities that must be observed while on the roadways. Chapter four of Title 39 of the Motor Vehicle and Traffic Regulation Act dictates that every person riding a bicycle is subject to the same rights and duties as a motor vehicle driver. For example, while on the roads, bicyclists should ride as far to the right side of the road, while exercising due care, when passing a vehicle. However, they can move left to:
- Make a left turn from the left turn lane or pocket
- Avoid debris, drains, or other hazardous conditions in the road
- Pass a slow-moving vehicle
- Occupy an available lane while traveling at the same speed as other traffic
What Equipment is Required for Bicycles in Mercer County?
By law, bicycles must have a front headlight that emits a white visible light from a distance of at least 500 feet from the front and a red light visible from 500 feet to the rear. A red reflector light may be mounted from the rear. All bicycles must have the ability to emit an audible signal that can be heard at least 100 feet away, but cannot be a siren or a whistle, which could be confused with law enforcement sounds. Also, a bicycle must be equipped with brakes that can make wheels skid while stopping on dry, level, clean pavement.
There is a mandatory state law that bicycle riders in Mercer County under the age of 17 must wear a helmet. However, there is an exemption from the requirement when you operate or ride the bicycle on a road that is closed to traffic. This exemption does not apply if you operate or ride a bicycle that is adjacent to a road not closed off from traffic.
Proving Driver Liability for a Cyclist’s Injuries
Under New Jersey law, motorists have a duty of care to bicyclists while on the road. Because bicyclists have a much smaller footprint on the road, it can be a challenge at times to notice that a bicyclist may be riding next to you. Therefore, motorists have a duty to keep a proper lookout for bicyclists and to take reasonable care when switching lanes and making turns to avoid collisions.
To prove that the driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you must show that the motorist owed you a duty of care, that he or she breached their duty of care, the breach caused your injuries, and you have accident-related damages. A Mercer County bicycle accident attorney can go into more detail of how to apply the theory of negligence to your case.
Evidence in Mercer County Bike Accident Cases
If possible, call 911 immediately following the biking accident. Not only will this automatically create a record of the incident, but the 911 operator can send the police and an ambulance if you are not able to get to the hospital on your own.
Make sure you receive the necessary medical treatment for your injuries and obtain all medical records related to the accident. Moreover, prior to leaving the scene try to get statements of any witnesses and photos of the accident scene.
Also, make sure to take down the driver’s name, auto insurance, and other contact information, as this will help when filing a claim with your insurance company. More importantly, keep calm and refrain from the urge to argue with the other party.
Potential Recoverable Damages
In personal injury cases, you may be awarded economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those which can be quantified by a dollar amount, whereas non-economic damages have an emotional aspect to them.
Some of your economic damages may include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and on-going physical therapy costs. Compensation for non-economic losses may include pain and suffering, psychological anguish, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. Speak with a Mercer County bicycle accident lawyer to learn more about the damages that you could receive.
How a Mercer County Bicycle Accident Attorney Could Help
Call a Mercer County bicycle accident lawyer today to discuss the details of your case. The state of New Jersey only allows two years from the time of your accident to file a claim and have it heard by the courts. If your claim is not filed within this time, you may risk not having your case heard and not receive compensation for your injuries. Do not delay, call us today.