Bicycling is a fun and healthy way to get around. Unfortunately, even if you are the safest bicyclist on the road, you can still end up in a crash.
Navigating a crash: Any bicyclist’s worst nightmare
Regardless of whether it is a minor crash or a major collision, you should be certain to ensure you have taken appropriate action to protect your rights and your health.
- Take photographs of the accident. You can use your smartphone or some other camera to get pictures of the crash scene. Take pictures of your bicycle. Photograph the other vehicle(s) involved. Get images of the roadway or surroundings. Take pictures of any injuries or torn clothing. Having photographic evidence can play a major role in proving what happened later. If you were using a GoPro camera or a similar device, save any video recorded before, during, and after the crash.
- Talk with the others who were involved. Exchange your information with the driver of the car. Just like in any accident, take down their contact information, including name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number. Take down the vehicle make, model, and license plate number and get down all the pertinent insurance information.
- If there are any witnesses to the crash, take down their names, addresses, and phone numbers in the event they need to be contacted later to give their recollection of the crash. Also make sure the police officer is made aware of these witnesses when he is gathering information for the accident report.
- Talk with the police. A police officer should be called to the crash scene to write an accident report. Be sure you talk with the officer and make sure they take a statement from you as well as any car driver. Make sure the police get your side of the story, see the damage to your bike, and are aware of any injuries. Many police will only speak with the car driver and neglect to take a statement from a bicyclist.
- While you may be inclined to get your bicycle repaired right away, don’t. Get an estimate for bike repairs, keep any ruined clothes, and keep your scratched up helmet.
- Get medical treatment. This is the most important step to take! After leaving the crash scene, you should go to a hospital. Even if you don’t think you are injured, you could have suffered internal injuries. Some medical problems may not be evident until later, so it is important that you get checked out.
Bicyclists should be especially careful when bicycling through intersections
New Jersey is a “no fault” insurance state, so you will be filing a claim with your own insurance company to cover your medical expenses and the costs of repairing your bicycle and equipment.
Being in a bicycle crash in New Jersey can be traumatizing. The main focus should be on healing after the accident. You need to take time to recover physically and emotionally after the crash. Be sure to seek all the appropriate medical care so you can recover from your injuries and enjoy bicycling once again.
As a reminder, you can stay safe by following traffic laws. Here are some of the laws specific to bicycling:
- Any bicycle being driven at night requires a headlamp that emits a white light visible at least 500 feet to the front and a rear lamp emitting a red light visible from at least 500 feet to the rear.
- All bicycles in New Jersey must be equipped with a bell or other audible device that can be heard from at least 100 feet away, but it cannot be a siren or a whistle.
- Anyone younger than 17 operating a bicycle in the state, or just riding one as a passenger, must wear the proper safety helmet.
Motorists must also pay close attention and remember to share the roads with bicyclists as they travel to and from their destinations. When bicycling, you should ride in the bicycle lane if one is available and it is safe to do so, but if cars or other objects are in the way, you can legally ride in a vehicle lane. You should always signal appropriately so others will be aware of which direction you are heading.
*This article was provided by Personal Injury Help and not written by an attorney, and the accuracy of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. If you wish to receive legal advice about a specific problem, you should contact a licensed attorney in New Jersey.