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Law Offices of John Morelli
A Personal Injury Firm Serving All Of South Jersey

Advocating For Injured Bicyclists

In the past 20 years, many towns throughout New Jersey have gone through great lengths trying to integrate bicycles more thoroughly with traffic patterns. Separate bike lanes have commonly been set up on residential roads in an attempt to afford riders with an increased sense of safety. Generally, bikers have gained respect as it has become a more routine means of local transportation and exercise throughout most communities.

Bicycle Accidents With Automobiles

Statistically, it has been shown that riding a bicycle on the street is about as safe as being a passenger or driver in a car. But that doesn't mean that accidents don't occur. Despite making it easier than ever before for other drivers to acknowledge their presence, experienced cyclists still encounter negligent behavior, such as a properly signaled left-hand turn that goes ignored, not heeding to a rider when the road has no shoulder, or failing to yield to a bicycle as it crosses the street.

What To Do If A Collision Occurs

If you're on a bicycle and an accident does occur, should there be a police officer present, it's important that you give them your side of the story to ensure that it goes into the police report. If you are injured, your first course of action should be to get immediate care and visit a hospital. It's important, if you are able to, that you obtain the driver's information and note what kind of car they were driving: make, model, color and license plate number.

The driver that caused the accident may initially be very apologetic (or not), but it's important that you make sure they do not leave the scene. It's not useful to argue with them over who may have been at fault while in the middle of traffic, as in the future you will be dealing with their auto insurance company to handle any future claims. If the police do arrive and fill out an accident report (which they don't always do), it's a good idea to ask to review it to make any corrections that will go on the record. But, most importantly, even if you are feeling okay, it's crucial to get yourself checked out by a physician. Many types of injuries, especially those to the spine and the neck, are not always initially evident in the instance of a traumatic event.

Claims Handled Through Auto Insurance

It's recommended that you avoid giving any statements to the driver's insurance company without first speaking directly to a lawyer. The laws of New Jersey are vast and complicated, and it's best to avoid making any statements before you fully understand their legal ramifications. Should you decide to pursue a claim, it's possible that it could be done through each side's auto insurance carriers.

How American Bicycle Laws Compare Worldwide

Unfortunately, the way that cyclists are treated in the United States is nowhere near the same as in other countries, especially in Europe. Laws in Europe have been designed to make the roads more accommodating to riders, which in turn leads to a greater respect for them on the road. States like New Jersey have fewer bicycle-friendly roads and in turn, fewer people venturing out on bicycles. Despite having far fewer bikers out there, according to The Economist, the U.S. still averages 58 to 109 deaths per 1 billion kilometers cycled. Compare that to a country like the bicycle-mad Netherlands, with many more cyclists, but much stronger laws. They averaged, according to the latest statistics, only 12 deaths per billion kilometers rode on bicycles.

The Legal Consequences For Hitting A Cyclist

Motorists in New Jersey, like the rest of the country, who have struck a bicycle rider while driving generally face little to no criminal consequences for their actions. If they hit and greatly injure a cyclist, even with multiple people witnessing the event, it's unlikely that they will end up in front of a judge charged with a crime. While this may be infuriating for an injured bicycle rider who was properly obeying all traffic laws, it is the grim reality of the situation. At that point, their best option would be to obtain legal representation and file a personal injury claim against the driver through an attorney. With a personal injury claim, the rider can have his medical care covered and pursue punitive damages for the driver's negligent actions.

Talk To An Experienced Attorney

Law Offices of John Morelli, has been the law firm that victims and their families have been turning to for legal representation for more than 37 years. We use experience, skill and knowledge to represent our clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Individuals who have suffered injuries in pedestrian accidents throughout New Jersey are often confused about their options to recover monetary compensation for their losses. We are here for you to find financial and emotional relief. We will fight to make sure you will receive the best medical care available, while we negotiate a fair settlement or prepare the evidence for trial.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident while riding a bicycle, contact our law firm by calling 856-528-3205. At Law Offices of John Morelli, in Cherry Hill, we have over 37 years of experience in helping cyclists, riders and drivers alike.

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