Finally summer has arrived with that warm weather we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s high time we all spent some time outside and enjoyed the fresh air. The possibilities for getting involved in fun summer activities are almost endless – hiking, running, swimming, sports – are all in the cards for New Jersey residents this summer. Perhaps one of the most common outdoor activities to be enjoyed during the summer is cycling. Of course, summer activities are not all fun and games, and there are important safety precautions that should be taken into account before going out to enjoy the nice weather.
They say it takes two to tango, but when one of the partners outweighs the other by twenty times, it doesn’t take an M.I.T. physicist to know that cyclists will usually fare worse. NJ bicycle accident attorney, Edward C. Lutz quotes the infamous statistic of 50 thousand annually recorded auto/cyclists injuries in the U.S.A, which nearly equals the total fatalities of the US military during the entire Vietnam War.
The actual number of cyclists’ casualties may in fact be ten times higher due to under-reporting. Most motorists are cautious and courteous around cyclists and respect the greener lifestyle in which they themselves often indulge. However, this is not always the case and the result can be tragic for cyclists. Of course, motorists are not always at fault.
Recent events illustrate the point all too well. A boy in New Castle, Pennsylvania was
recently injured while riding a bicycle when the five-year-old drove his bicycle onto East Main Street, straight out of an alleyway, only to be struck by oncoming traffic. The boy suffered head injuries not only due to his impact with the vehicle that struck him, but also because he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. This incident raises key aspects of cycling and safety; young children should always be supervised when riding a bicycle and bicycle riders should always wear a helmet. It also raises another critical bike safety tip; always stop to look for oncoming traffic before riding a bike across a street or through an intersection.
Bicycle riders and pedestrians may technically have the right of way, and the automobile driver that hits them may be in the wrong, but being “in the right” may not save you from a serious or fatal injury. Such an injury could easily ruin your summer, and could possibly result in something more serious.In other circumstances, fault is not immediately clear and only becomes evident through the legal process. On June 3 2013, a 24year young Paramus, NJ man was tragically cut down by a motorist in Woodland, NJ as he tried to make a U-turn on his bicycle on a two-lane country road. He was struck by a vehicle and declared dead at the scene. The motorist was treated at a local hospital for neck and back pain, and as of this date, has not been charged. Many tragedies such as this one can only be avoided by prudent precautions by both parties.
Summer is a great time to have fun, to enjoy great weather, and to engage in a host of enjoyable outdooractivities like riding a bicycle. Yet such enjoyable activities cannot come without paying heed to the important safety tips that we have heard time and again, and that we probably know by heart at this point. Wear your helmet, look both ways before riding a bike through streets or intersections, and make sure you bicycle is working properly before taking it out on a ride.
For motorists, exercise extreme caution around cyclists and recognize that they do not possess the same acceleration or rear vision capabilities as automobiles, but have equal access to the roads and should be respected. These and other common-sense tips will make for a safer, enjoyable experience, and for a better summer!