Bicycle Safety in Winter Weather
Cycling is a growing activity in communities across America, and New Jersey is no exception. But whereas cities in southern locales have pleasant biking weather year round, cyclists in New Jersey are faced with hazardous conditions during the winter months that make biking a dangerous proposition.
Improvements in bikes and gear, as well as warmer, more breathable apparel, have boosted the popularity of winter cycling. But winter poses a number of challenges that bicyclists need to be aware of. Evening comes earlier in New Jersey, forcing commuters to pedal home in the dark. Snowdrifts encroach into bike lanes and onto shoulders, forcing cyclists further into traffic. That’s not to mention that frozen extremities and hypothermia are common dangers for those who are unprepared.
With the right equipment and a healthy amount of caution, these hazards can be properly dealt with. Unfortunately, there is an even greater threat to safety that often gets overlooked by cyclists and drivers alike. Winter weather is also difficult for drivers of motor vehicles to deal with, and many of the same hazards that affect cyclists, such as decreased visibility and icy surfaces, affect motorists as well.
No matter how careful a cyclist might be, there’s no safeguard against a reckless driver who disregards the hazards and behaves in a dangerous manner. That’s what makes collisions with motor vehicles one of the gravest dangers for cyclists in inclement weather.
Any of the following common causes of bicycle accidents can be exacerbated in winter months:
- Distracted or impaired driving;
- Opening the door of a parked car without first checking (dooring);
- Defective bicycle products or parts;
- Dangerous road conditions;
- Failure of motorists to yield right of way.
The liability for a bicycle accident in New Jersey generally falls on other motorists who do not know how to safely share the road with bicyclists. Anytime a driver violates traffic laws or is otherwise negligent it endangers everyone else on the road and increases the risk of a serious injury.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a negligent driver, that driver can be found liable for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages you have suffered. It might also be possible for liability to fall onto the city, county, or state if the roadways haven’t been properly maintained, after a snowstorm for example. Or perhaps your accident was caused by a faulty bike part, which was worsened by the poor winter conditions.
Whatever the circumstances, if you have suffered a bike accident on New Jersey roadways, you need the help of an experienced New Jersey bicycle accident lawyer who will advocate on your behalf. The legal team at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. will work tirelessly to secure you the best possible outcome. Call (609) 240-0040 today to schedule a free consultation.
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