Following the Rules of the Road Can Help Prevent Bicycle Accidents


Cycling (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)

The agreeable weather of late summer and early fall brings a number of bike races to Hunterdon County. This, in turn, inspires the athlete in many of us to take to the roads on our two-wheelers. While this exercise is good for both the body and the environment, there are potential dangers with sharing the road with larger, faster motor vehicles. If, after reading the following, you need assistance with injuries suffered in a bike versus motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Ragland Law Firm in Lebanon, N.J.

While bicycling may be good exercise, a quick search of local, online news services can highlight the potential dangers of this recreational activity.

• Delaware Township bicyclist dies from injuries sustained in accident – June 18, 2012
• Clinton Township Police report crash between taxi and bicycle at Route 173 and Center Street – June 27, 2012
• Readington Township accident injuries 68-year-old bicyclist, prosecutor says – July 15, 2012

• West Amwell Police charge bicyclist injured in accident with motor vehicle – August 14, 2012 (1)

A recent incident in Tewksbury Township involving an alleged attack on a young woman by a group of bicyclists on the back roads of the township shows it isn’t just bicyclists who are in danger. According to reports, a woman tried to pass the group of bicyclists blocking the road, when they turned on her damaging her car and frightening her. (2)

Although not all accidents or confrontations can be avoided, there are precautions to help you safely enjoy an invigorating ride through the Hunterdon Hills. Knowing the rules of the road for bicyclists and motorists alike is the first step.

The State’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation laws included a section on bicycles, defined as “any two wheeled vehicle having a rear drive which is solely human powered. . .,” according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). These regulations stipulate, among other things, that:

• Bicyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities of other motor vehicle operators, including the responsibilities of obeying all traffic signs and yielding to pedestrians;
• Bicyclists must ride in the direction of the traffic, not opposing it;
• Bicyclists must stay as close to the right of the roadway as possible and use caution when passing a vehicle moving in the same direction or at a stop;

• Bicyclists should ride in single file, but may ride two abreast as long as doing so does not block traffic. (3)

NJDOT advises that on roadways which do not offer bike lanes or shoulders, bicyclists should ride several feet into the roadway making themselves clearly visible to motorists. On narrow roads, defined as ten or less feet wide, bicyclists may ride in or close to the center of the lane. In this way, the bicyclist is visible, and motorists wishing to pass know to move to the left when safe. (4)

Even knowing the rules of the road and being willing to share the space with others can’t prevent every accident. If you or someone you know has been injured while biking in Hunterdon County, contact the personal injury lawyers at Ragland Law Firm.



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