New Jersey Bicycle Accident Lawyers Discuss High Incidence of Bicycle Accidents in New Jersey
New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states in the country, and many of its residents enjoy riding their bikes, often on roads shared with motorists. Unfortunately, New Jersey also has the second-highest percentage of fatal car accidents. The percentage rose from 28.9% in 2012 to 32.4% in 2014, according to police reports.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Jersey is the only Northeast/Middle Atlantic state that does not provide bikers with roadside protection. Throughout most of the country, the safe distance motorists are supposed to allow while passing a bicyclist is three to four feet. However, because so many of the roads in Monmouth County and Ocean County are fairly narrow, doing so puts drivers in the opposite lane. The result is that bikers are at a much higher risk for bicycle accident injury and death.
With so many bicycle accidents occurring, it is surprising that there is currently no consistent, universal helmet law in place. Opinions about enforcing the use of bicycle helmets vary significantly. New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition supports the use of helmets, but they are opposed to a universal helmet law. The advocacy group believes it will discourage ridership as helmets are considered by some to be a barrier to riding.
While it may seem safe to assume that helmets protect cyclists, there is research that supports both perspectives. A 2013 Australian study examined over 6,000 bicycle accidents, which showed that the use of helmets lead to a 74% reduction of head injuries in bicycle collisions with a motor vehicle. Conversely, critics of bike helmets opposed the universal helmet law, citing research from a British psychological study. Results from the study showed that not only was there no reduction in bicycle accident injuries in countries where bike helmets are required, but drivers were often more careless when driving near helmeted riders, driving an average of three inches closer.
Political Pushback on Helmet Legislation
While a four foot passing legislation has been passed by the state Assembly, Senator Nicholas J. Sacco, D-Bergen, has no intention of approving the bill. According to a spokesman for Senator Sacco, the bill would not work in Counties like Hudson, where the streets tend to be very narrow. If a driver tries to give a cyclist the recommended four feet, they would be facing oncoming traffic. Sacco supports bike lanes in the North Bergen town where he serves as mayor, and believes that the four foot passing law could work in other New Jersey counties that are less densely populated.
New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore Represent Victims of Bicycle Accidents
If you or someone you know has been in a New Jersey bicycle accident as a result of another person’s misconduct or negligence, call New Jersey personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore. We will protect your legal rights and make sure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. We handle personal injury cases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Call our offices at 1-800-CANT-WORK (800-226-8967) for a free consultation or contact us online.