When bikes are riding on the streets and roads in New Jersey, who has the right-of-way? Can a bike just ride in the middle of the road? Does a car have to ever yield to a cyclist?
In New Jersey, a cyclist has all the rights and duties a motorist has (NJS 39:4-14.1). This means that a bike can ride in the streets along with the cars and must be treated the same for purposes of rights-of-way. However, another NJ law says that if a bike can’t keep up with traffic, it has to ride on the right side of the right-hand lane. The cyclist can also ride in a bike lane if one exists but is not required to ride in the bike lane.
Traffic Lane Right-of-Way
This means that if a cyclist is riding in traffic in the center portion of a lane and is going roughly the same speed as traffic, then a motorist can’t pass them in the same lane or force them over to the right. Also, anytime a vehicle is riding in its designated lane of traffic, another vehicle has to give that vehicle the right-of-way regarding that lane.
Thus, if a cyclist is riding in a bike lane, then it has the right-of-way when a car wants to cross the lane to make a turn or to park.
Narrow Road Right-of-Way
NJS 39:4-14.2: Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; provided, however, that any person may move to the left under any of the following situations:
- to make a left turn from a left-turn lane or pocket;
- to avoid debris, drains or other hazardous conditions that make it impracticable to ride at the right side of the roadway;
- to pass a slower moving vehicle;
- to occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic;
- to travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded.
In b above, the law states that if riding on the right-side is impracticable, then the cyclist can move to the left. This applies when a road is too narrow for the cyclist to safely ride on the right side of the right lane.
Contact a South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer.
After any accident involving a serious injury, contact a South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer such as Edith Pearce. Unlike the huge firms with dozens of attorneys and many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case that we handle. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file.
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