In July 2022, a Jersey City councilwoman driving an SUV struck a bicycle rider at an intersection and fled the scene. A recording by a nearby surveillance camera shows the cyclist being knocked off his bike and thrown to the ground as the vehicle speeds away. Miraculously, the rider escaped with only minor injuries. However, the hit-and-run accident highlights the ever-present threat of harm faced by bike riders on New Jersey’s city streets.
According to news accounts, Uber Eats deliveryman Andrew Black was heading south on Martin Luther King Drive when he was hit by Councilwoman Amy DeGise’s SUV at the intersection of Forrest Street. Black apparently ignored a red light, but the video recording shows DeGise’s vehicle moving at a fast speed through the intersection and not slowing down even after hitting the cyclist. DeGise was charged with leaving the scene of the accident and failing to report it until six hours afterward.
Over the last few years, fatal cycling accidents have been increasing in New Jersey. The state police reported 12 cyclists killed on the roadways in 2019 and eighteen in 2020. Fatalities then increased sharply as 26 cyclists died in 2021. As of mid-August of 2022, there have been 14 cycling fatalities. Despite the state having a variety of traffic safety initiatives, there is as yet no indication of a significant improvement in the accident rate.
Bicycling on city streets is particularly risky. Due to their small size, bicycles can be more difficult for drivers to see, especially at night or in adverse weather conditions. Another risk factor is that cyclists who do not obey traffic laws may cause or contribute to collisions, as in the Jersey City accident. While the injuries to the cyclist in that case were minor, the chances of serious injury or death are increased when a cyclist ignores the rules of the road. Motor vehicles are much larger and heavier than bicycles and tend to be moving at much higher speeds compared to bicycles. Since bicycles offer no impact protection for the rider, even a glancing blow by a car can badly hurt or kill a cyclist.
If you or a family member has been injured in a bicycle accident, an experienced attorney can determine whether you have a viable case for seeking financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and other costs.
Seigel Law in Ridgewood is one of northern New Jersey’s premier personal injury law firms. Our attorneys represent victims in all types of accident cases. Call us at 201-444-4000 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.