We’ve Stood Up For The Injured Since 1927

Whether it’s biking the Jersey Shore, enjoying any of the bike paths deeper into Monmouth or Ocean County, or just getting around Freehold or Shrewsbury, cycling is a great way to enjoy our area. New Jersey surprisingly has numerous roads and trails frequented by cycling enthusiasts. Bicycles have just as much right to be on the road in our State as motor vehicles, but too many motorists don’t see it that way – and when they cause accidents, the consequences can be devastating.  In an instant, your life, your career, and your future change forever.

You have recourse under New Jersey law. We can help. For generations, Shebell & Shebell, LLC has been standing up for injured people in New Jersey.  We know the law, we know the system, and we have the experience and resources needed to build strong cases. If you’ve been hurt, contact us to speak with a bicycle accident attorney today.

Bike accidents are very personal to us. Attorney Thomas F. Shebell, III, our managing partner, is an avid cyclist who experienced life-changing injuries when he was hit by a motorist on his bicycle in 2001. After dozens of surgeries over the years, he still wakes up with the pain of that accident every single day. He’s walked in your shoes, and Tom and our entire team are dedicated to helping injured cyclists recover.

Biker rides with traffic

In New Jersey, cyclists have the same rights as motorists

Bicycles have a somewhat odd legal status in New Jersey: in many respects they are considered in the same way as vehicles. When riding on roadways, cyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers, to the extent those rights and responsibilities can apply to a non-motorized vehicle. For instance, our State’s laws discuss when cyclists are required to signal before making a turn or stopping. They also need to obey traffic signals and signs just as other vehicles do.

So long as traffic is not impeded, cyclists are allowed to ride two abreast and to use any part of the lane. If traveling slower than the speed of the traffic, they must ride single file and generally ride as far to the right within the lane (but not on the shoulder) as possible, but may move left to make a turn, avoid a hazard, or pass another vehicle. Note that New Jersey does not require cyclists to use bike lanes or paths when available, though it’s certainly still a good idea to do so.

Cyclists are generally free to ride on any road in New Jersey, except for specific roads that have bicycle traffic restricted by regulation. Some such roadways include the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike, Atlantic City Expressway, interstate highways, and much of the Route 18 Freeway including the Monmouth County and Ocean County portions.

There are also restrictions that detail whether it is legal to ride bicycles on sidewalks. Many municipalities have passed laws prohibiting cycling on some or all sidewalks. However, NJDOT recommends (and we agree) that cyclists should stay on the road, not on the sidewalk, to avoid causing pedestrian accidents.

Cyclist turning

Motorists need to exercise caution around cyclists

Motorists have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely with respect to other road users. There are several steps drivers need to take to share the road, including:

  • Pass safely and give the cyclist room. The NJ safe passing law specifies that you need to move over a lane to pass a bicycle if possible. On a single-lane road, pass with at least four feet of room between the vehicle and the bicycle. Motorists also need to follow all no-passing laws, including not crossing a double yellow line.
  • Yield to oncoming bikes. Failure to yield to a bicycle while turning left is a major cause of bicycle accidents at intersections. Remember, a cyclist has just as much right to use the road as a motorist – and that includes the right of way.
  • Don’t underestimate a bicycle’s speed. A bicycle may have a slower top speed than a car, but on local roads, advanced cyclists may be just as fast as some cars and motorcycles. Don’t underestimate their speed when determining whether it’s safe to enter the road or make a turn in front of an oncoming bicycle.
  • Check your blind spots. It’s easy for a cyclist to slip into your blind spot right before you make a turn or change lanes. Don’t just depend on your mirrors – always turn your head and look around first.
  • Always look before opening a car door. One of the best ways to protect cyclists is to use the “Dutch reach” – that is, reaching across the body with your far hand to open your car door. That forces you to turn and look over your shoulder for approaching bicycles.
  • Don’t follow too closely. Bicycles have a shorter stopping distance than cars and may need to brake suddenly to avoid road hazards. Tailgating a cyclist is extremely dangerous.

How motorists cause bicycle crashes

Unfortunately, too many drivers fail to appropriately share the road, whether due to inattention or aggressive driving. When that happens, they can cause serious accidents, including:

  • Left hook or left cross: a car fails to yield the right of way to an oncoming bicycle at an intersection and turns left, either in front of or into the cyclist. This is the most common type of bicycle accident and one of the most devastating.
  • Right hook: a motor vehicle passes the bike on the left, then makes a right turn in front of or into the bicycle. This type of collision can also happen when a car and a bicycle are stopped side by side at a red light and the car makes a turn as soon as the light turns green.
  • Right cross: a car pulls out from a parking lot or driveway on the right side of the street and fails to notice an oncoming bicycle, causing a collision.
  • Dooring: a driver or passenger opens a car door into the path of a cyclist trying to pass their parked vehicle on the left. The cyclist either hits the door itself or swerves into traffic to avoid it, causing a collision with another vehicle.
  • Rear-end: a car driving behind the bicycle crashes into it from behind. Rear-end crashes involving bicycles often happen when the car is following too closely, because bicycles can stop much faster than cars.

Every bicycle accident is different, but most can be attributed to one common factor: the motorist didn’t see the cyclist. Texting while driving, for instance, is incredibly dangerous for cyclists because it not only takes the motorist’s eyes off the road but also contributes to “situational blindness,” meaning the driver may see something with their eyes but it doesn’t register in the brain. Because bicycles are so much smaller and quieter than cars, it’s easy for an inattentive driver to overlook them until it’s too late to avoid a collision.

Motorists also cause bicycle accidents when they are driving under the influence (alcohol affects perception, which can make it easier to miss a bicycle) or when the driver falls asleep at the wheel, or is simply lost in thought. Regardless of the cause, injured cyclists have recourse under New Jersey law, and our experienced team can fight for your legal rights.

Injured bicyclist

We understand the high stakes in bicycle accident claims

Even with helmets and other protective gear, cyclists are exceptionally vulnerable to injury when their unprotected bodies are hit by cars. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are common, as are broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries. In addition to sky-high medical bills, you may be looking at long-term effects on your active lifestyle and your ability to do the things you love. You may be out of work for some time or even permanently disabled. Each of those losses deserves fair compensation in a personal injury claim.

The insurance company knows this, of course, and when they see “bicycle accident” on a claim, alarm bells start going off. They will take immediate action to protect their bottom line, which means paying you as little as possible. Their adjusters and attorneys will look for any excuse to reduce or deny your claim. For them, it’s nothing personal, it’s just their business model – but that’s little comfort for an injured cyclist looking at mounting medical bills and other expenses.

We’re on your side, and we know how to stand up to the insurance company. Our attorneys will launch a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the accident and hold the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries. We know New Jersey law, we know the courts throughout the State, and we know what it takes to get meaningful results in bicycle accident claims. Throughout negotiations and, if necessary, trial, you can count on us to take care of the legal matters while you focus on healing and rebuilding your life.

Attorneys for injured cyclists

Put experience on your side after a bicycle accident

If you’re worried about whether you can afford a bicycle accident lawyer, don’t be. We work on a contingency fee, which means you don’t pay us out of pocket. We take on all the costs to move your case forward, and if we win, our fee is a percentage of the recovery. If we don’t win your case, you don’t pay us a cent. You can afford to put experience on your side. The only question is whether you can afford not to.

The accident changed your life, but you can take back control of what happens next. You have rights, you have a voice, and we can help. We will listen to your story, answer your questions, and explain your legal options. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced bicycle accident attorney today.

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(732) 663-1122

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