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Princeton, Make Sure You Bike-Share Safely

By Lependorf & Silverstein on March 26, 2019

The “environmental benefits” are only one reason that biking has become the most popular alternative to driving a motor vehicle in Princeton. The ability to avoid a great deal of traffic, get some exercise, and traverse the campus quickly are all appealing to students, staff, and visitors alike. And all of these benefits pale in comparison to the huge savings over the cost of owning and operating a car.

And thanks to the continued support of Princeton University, everyone in the neighborhood now has access to a total of 70 8-speed Breezer bikes.

The program in Princeton is operated by Zagster, a bike-share service that operates via a smartphone app. Riders 18 and over can create an account and pay a one-time fee of only $20 to gain access to the entire fleet of shared bikes. The membership provides up to two hours of free use with each “rental” and additional hours at a rate of only $2 per hour. There are nine bike-share locations located strategically around the campus area.

As more and more riders take to the streets on these shared bikes, it is important to remember a few basic tips when partaking in this community.

  1. Each time you use a shared bike, take a few moments to look over the bike to make sure it is in a safe condition and fully functional. Check the tires for sufficient air pressure, make sure the handlebars are secured, and that the seat is in a fixed position. Also, check the pedals for damage.
  2. As you take off on your ride, start out slow and test the brakes as well as the steering and function of the pedals to be sure that the bike is responsive.

It is each rider’s responsibility to determine if the bike is in good operating condition. If there are safety issues or damage to the bike, relock it and select another bike.

Also, all rideshare bikers must ride responsibly. This means complying with all of the rules of the road, which apply to both motor vehicles and bikes. In addition, cyclists must follow the rules that specifically govern bikes, such as riding near the right side of the lane and having the appropriate light when riding at night.

You should also understand that not all vehicle operators are aware that bikes are required to follow the same laws as cars. Granted, this is their lack of knowledge, but in the case of a car versus bike, it is always the bicyclist who suffers the majority of the injuries. Ride defensively to protect yourself and avoid accidents whenever possible. This can mean yielding your right-of-way to a car or being prepared to stop quickly to avoid being hit by a careless driver.

After a Bicycle Accident in Princeton

If you are in an accident while riding a bike from the bike-share program, the first concern is for your safety. Seek any needed medical attention right away. Even if you think your injuries are minor, never refuse medical attention when offered. Head trauma and internal injuries are often masked by shock or adrenaline after an accident. In addition, your medical records could be important documentation of your injuries if you need to pursue legal action against the driver who was at fault for the accident.

Unfortunately, not all drivers and insurance companies are willing to face their financial responsibilities. In many cases, a large legal team from the insurance company will attempt to overwhelm the victim into admitting guilt or partial responsibility for the accident. It is always in your best interests as a bike accident injury victim to seek out a local personal injury attorney before speaking to anyone about the accident or your injuries. Insurance companies are in business to make money and not to pay out claims. But your bicycle accident lawyer will work to protect your rights as a victim and help to secure the compensation that you deserve.

Contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., at (609) 240-0040 to schedule a free consultation and to learn how our decades of experience (as both attorneys and cyclists!) can help to protect your rights.

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Posted in: Bicycle Accident

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty years.

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