New Jersey is desperately attempting to find solutions that would reduce the high number of bicycle accidents throughout the state. According to cycling advocates and the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Jersey lacks the infrastructure and laws to protect cyclists.
Including the rest of the U.S., New Jersey is one of 17 states that do not require roadside lanes or protection for cyclists. Roadside protection includes things such as bike lanes and protected bike lanes. Bike lanes offer cyclists separation from other vehicles; however, physical protection is lacking. With protected bike lanes, planters, curbs, posts or even parked cars can provide a solid barrier between cyclists and motorists.
Some states have “complete street” policies, meaning the road design is safe for bicyclists and pedestrians.
From 2012 to 2014, the percentage of fatal bicycle accidents in New Jersey increased 32.4 percent. To stop the high number of accidents, the New Jersey legislature attempted to pass legislation that would fine motorists $500 for not giving four feet of room to cyclists. The legislation is very familiar to California’s “three-foot rule”, a law that stipulates motorists must keep three feet away from cyclists while passing.
However, the bill failed to become law, with critics claiming it was unfeasible in densely populated urban areas. Unfortunately, densely populated areas are where bicycle accidents are most likely to occur.
How Can New Jersey Cyclists Avoid Bicycle Accidents?
Cyclists in New Jersey cannot always depend on good infrastructure or laws that can protect them, but they can learn how to reduce the chances of a bicycle accident. Visibility is one of the most important safety aspects for cyclists.
Wearing electrical tape or putting it on a bicycle, wearing bright clothing, cycling in large groups and wearing a helmet can reduce the odds of a fatal bicycle accident. An old safety tip for motorcyclists is “Assume nobody can see you”, and the same advice can be applied for cyclists.
Cyclists hurt in bicycle accidents and surviving family members should contact an attorney, as they might have legal options to pursue damages.
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