New Jersey Bicycle Accident and Helmet Laws
Bicycle Accidents & Head Injuries
Bicycles are becoming a more popular way to travel in New Jersey. Unfortunately, New Jersey is also a very dangerous place for bike riders. The Garden State has the second highest number of bicycle accident deaths in the country. Last year, more than a third of all bike riders struck by cars dying because of their injuries.
New Jersey state law requires children under the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. The law also covers any kids riding in seats or trailers attached to bikes. According to the New Jersey Head Injury Association, 40% of all bicycle deaths involve children under 14. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 85% and the risk of brain injury by 90%. Helmet laws are helping, but bike riders are always going to be in more danger because they're not as protected as drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a NJ bicycle accident, you may be able to get financial compensation to cover lost wages from missing work, medical fees and pain and suffering. The New Jersey bicycle accident attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. are ready to help, so please call (609) 240-0040 today.
New Jersey Helmet Laws
New Jersey is one of 17 states that don't have laws about giving bikes a "safe distance" of at least 3 feet on the road. In New Jersey, bikes are considered vehicles, and bicyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as cars and trucks. New Jersey traffic code 39:4-10.1 states that all children under the age of 17 must wear an approved bicycle helmet while riding a bicycle. The law also applies to any child in a restraining seat which is attached to the bicycle, or in a trailer being towed by the bicycle.
Traffic code 39:4-10.2 enforces fines for breaking the New Jersey helmet law. Children under 17 who don't wear helmets while biking can be fined $25 for their first offense and up to $100 for each ticket after. Fines have to be paid by the child's parent or guardian. New Jersey is very serious about helmet laws. Code 39:4-14.4a even makes it a law that any store selling bikes in New Jersey have to put a sign promoting helmet use on any bike for sale.
New Jersey Bicycle Accident Facts
New Jersey is one of 21 states that have a bicycle helmet law in place for children. Anyone under the age of 17 riding a bike in New Jersey has to wear a helmet. But, the law doesn't apply to anyone over 17. In New Jersey, adults over the age of 17 DO NOT have to wear a helmet while riding a bike.
New Jersey state law requires children under the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.
Causes of Bike Accidents
According to the League of American Bicyclists, car accidents involving bikes are most often caused by the following reasons:
- Failing to stop or yield coming out of a driveway or parking lot
- Not completely stopping at a traffic light or stop sign
- Crossing into the bicycle lane
- Speeding or distracted driving
- Passing other cars recklessly
- Turning corners or merging into lanes without signaling
- Driving too close to bikes
- Bad weather or visibility
- Bad road conditions (uneven surface, pot holes, fallen trees)
Of course, not all accidents are caused by bad driving. Some accidents are accidents. But, when the crash is caused by drivers being careless or breaking the law, the experienced NJ bike accident attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. can help.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Here are some tips that can help reduce the possibly of a bike accident or injury:
- Remember the saying "Use your head, wear a helmet." A helmet is the best thing available to lessen head injuries and possible death
- Don't pass on the right Cars may not see or even be looking for a bike on the right side
- Never ride with headphones Not being able to hear what's around is dangerous
- Scan the road behind you Look over your shoulder or put in a rear-view mirror on your bike to see cars behind you
- Tell your kids to ride with traffic, not against it Going against traffic is dangerous.
- Be bright and use lights in the dark Make yourself visible to cars. Being seen is safer.
- Watch for road hazards Bumps, cracks, loose gravel in the road can cause accidents
- Obey traffic rules Don't forget cyclists need to follow the same rules as motorists
- Ride single file Riding next to another bike is dangerous. Each bike needs space.
- Make turns and cross intersections safely Signal turns before the intersection, using correct hand signals (left arm straight out for left turn, forearm up for right turn)
- Have the right safety equipment Headlights, rear reflector, front reflector, spoke reflector, pedal reflectors, a horn or bell and a rear view mirror help keep you safe.
Choosing a Top New Jersey Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicylce collisions can be devastating because the bike is no match for a car. Even minor-looking accidents can leave people with broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries or even kill bicyclists. Injured victims can pursue financial compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Other related damages
An experienced New Jersey biker injury lawyer will be able to advise injured crash victims and their families about their legal rights and options. Contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. at (609) 240-0040 today to discuss your situation and your next steps.
- New Jersey Bicycle Helmet Laws
- Head Injuries and Bicycle Safety: Know the Risks
- New Jersey Helmet Law
- Bicycle Helmet Laws for Children - CDC
- Heads Up Helmet Fact Sheet - CDC
- Pediatric Bicycle-Related Head Injuries: a Population-Based Study in a County Without a Helmet Law
- Helmet Guidelines - Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
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