To share the road safely with bicyclists, drivers must follow certain steps.
Bicycling is popular in Shrewsbury, Newark, and throughout New Jersey. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. But some drivers think of bicycles as little more than an annoyance and don't act responsibly. The result is often a bicycle accident that can leave the cyclist with serious injuries.
Sharing the road with bicyclists can be a challenge for some drivers. But aside from the legal responsibility to drive safely, it's often just a matter of common sense.
Here are some steps that drivers can take to share the road safely with bicyclists:
1. Give bicyclists a lot of space.
When passing a bicyclist, drivers must leave at least three feet of space between the car and the bicycle. This helps prevent accidents, keeping both the driver and the bicyclist safe.
2. Yield when turning.
It's important to always look for any bicycles on the road when driving. When you are turning, yield to any bicyclists in the intersection or on the road.
3. Signal your turns well in advance.
This gives bicyclists time to anticipate your movements and adjust their position on the road. Put on your turn signals well before turning to help avoid a collision.
4. Slow down when passing.
Passing too quickly can take the bicyclist by surprise and cause them to lose control. Instead, maintain a safe speed as you pass the bicycle, and only pass when it is safe to do so.
5. Check your mirrors before opening the car door.
This is especially important if the car is parked on the side of the road. A door opening suddenly can cause severe injuries to a bicyclist in a dooring accident. Always check your mirrors first to make sure a bicyclist is not approaching.
6. Respect the bike lanes.
Many roads in New Jersey have designated bike lanes. Remember, these are intended for the use of bicyclists to help keep them safe. Be aware of these lanes, and don't drive in them.
7. Avoid distractions.
Any kind of distraction – such as texting, using a phone, adjusting dashboard controls, eating, or drinking – takes your attention away from the road. If you look away for even a few seconds, you might not see a bicyclist near you.
8. Take extra care at intersections.
Intersections are particularly dangerous for bicyclists, as cars travel in many directions. So be on the lookout for bicycles as you make your way through.
9. Be patient.
Bicycles may travel slower than cars, but bicyclists have the same right to use the road that you do. Driving recklessly or too fast can easily result in a collision.
10. Be courteous.
Everyone needs to remain calm and courteous toward other road users, including bicyclists. They are only trying to get to where they're going, just as you are.
Because bicyclists have almost no protection, they can be seriously injured in a bicycle accident. Medical expenses for treating their injuries can add up very quickly, and a bicyclist may not be able to work. Recovering financial compensation can be complicated, as drivers deny doing anything wrong, and insurance companies look for excuses to pay as little as possible.
If you've been hurt in a crash, you need an experienced New Jersey bicycle accident lawyer. The attorneys at Shebell & Shebell, LLC build strong cases that get results and are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.