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Cops: Cranford Man Seriously Injured Will Receive Summons

A Cranford man allegedly struck the rear of a vehicle while riding his bicycle. He was transported to Morristown Medical Center Tuesday and police plan to issue him a summons.

A Cranford man was transported to Morristown Medical Center Tuesday afternoon after police said he "suffered serious injuries" when he allegedly crashed into an moving car.

According to a press release sent by Chatham Borough Police Lt. Brian Gibbons, the crash occurred around 2:20 p.m. The bicyclist, Jose Batista of Cranford, was traveling east in the shoulder on Main Street when the driver of a Ford Freestyle, Patrick McVeigh of Chatham, was making a left turn into the CVS parking lot from the westbound lane.

Gibbons said Batista struck the rear passenger side of the car. Batista was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, the press release said, and was transported to the hospital for his injuries.

Chatham police will be issuing Batista a summons for failure to exercise due care when passing a standing or slow-moving vehicle proceeding in the same direction, Gibbons said.

Donald December 19, 2012 at 08:04 PM
This is a great story. Although we often hear bicyclists complaining about motor vehicles, it has been my experience that bicyclists frequently ride in an unsafe manner, such as failing to use appropriate signals for turns and dangerously cutting in front of moving cars. Sometimes I find them riding in groups down the middle of the road, apparently taking some delight in blocking the flow of other vehicular traffic. From time to time, I have TAPPED on my horn to warn a bicyclist of my presence, so that the rider does not veer in front of me, only to receive the international digital signal of displeasure. And as a pedestrian in a crosswalk, I have had a number of near misses with fast-moving bicycles. So it is good that at least the Chatham police will finally ticket a two-wheeled offender, and that Patch reported it here (although I regret the bicyclist was seriously injured). One could only hope it has some deterrent effect, which I suspect is the reason for the press release sent by Chatham's finest.
Camilo H. Smith (Editor) December 19, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Donald, Thanks to Chatham Patch for originally posting this story earlier today. You're right that it's not often we hear about bicycle riders getting the ticket after an accident with a motor vehicle. I'm not taking sides on the matter, but as communities look to be less car dependent and more bicycle friendly, we're all going to have to respect each other's right-of-way more.
Donald December 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I certainly agree, Camilo.
John C December 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM
As written, the article makes absolutely no sense. The bike was eastbound, the car was westbound. The car turning left cut off the bike and hit him. Reckless drivers do this all the time. Bikers call it a "left hook." "Passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction" ? Are east and west now the same ?
Donald December 20, 2012 at 03:50 PM
John, you raise a fair point, which also gave me some pause. A similar article ran on Chatham Patch, where the comments raised the same issues you and I did; however, they included some interesting local perspective. I tried to embed the link here, but for some reason I am getting a message from Patch saying, "This comment has been rejected." If you Google "Chatham Patch" and "bicyclist", you can get there. Some of the comments on Chatham Patch agreed the article was confusing as written. However, several surmised the ticket was for the bicyclist passing the stopped and/or slow-moving vehicles in his OWN lane -- failing to exercise due care -- thereby hitting the Ford attempting to make the turn through that lane. By the way, the foregoing search will also reveal other recently reported instances where the Chatham police ticketed bicyclists for traffic violations (e.g., ignoring a stop sign). I wonder when the Cranford police last cited a bicyclist.
Michele December 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Actually it cuts both ways. Often it is the driver who is at fault. On a number of occassions I have seen and been the victim of a driver who will not stop when I am walking my bike or riding it across a street. A case in point is the light at Walnut and North. I wait for the light so I can cross with my bike but drivers wanting to make a right hand turn do not wait they just try to drive around me (or practically run me over) and I am forced to wait. Sorry but many, many drivers are disgustingly impatient.
Donald December 20, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Michele, I entirely agree with you, apropos of Camilo's point above. There are several marked crosswalks in Cranford that I have found particularly dangerous -- I am sure other local pedestrians have their "favorites" -- with apparently little attention normally paid by the police. One dangerous location is the four-way stop at the post office, which many drivers ignore (or treat as a "yield" rather than a stop). I see a policeman has been posted there for the year-end holiday rush. But my wife and I have had some near misses there throughout the year. As a longtime commuter to NYC, another bad location is at the several crosswalks between the town's parking deck and the railroad station -- just south of where you mentioned -- which few drivers even treat as a yield, let alone a full stop, when pedestrians are present. Although some have blamed the railroad bridge north of that location for impairing visibility, I have seen many close calls -- as well as one or two actual hits -- with cars coming from BOTH the north and south side of town on Walnut.
Americo December 23, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Jose Batista is a member of the Cranford Bike Club for several years. As such he rides his bike thru NJ towns all time. He is well aware of other vehicles and pedestrians so it is hard to believe that this happened to him. Accidents do happen, no matter how careful you are, I suppose. Just last summer he rode his bike all the way from NJ to California to raise money and awareness for children with cancer. Jo Batista is a great member of Cranford and of NJ 's Portuguese community in particular. He is an American citizen and fought for our great nation in Vietnam. He is a father and a husband. Right now, he is battling the serious injuries sustained from the accident and we are all praying that he will ride again thru our streets very,very soon.
Steve December 23, 2012 at 06:17 PM
As the article notes, "Batista was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, the [Chatham Police] press release said." Although not required by law for an adult, virtually every careful rider I have seen wears one.
John December 23, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Joe is an experienced cyclist, with more miles ridden by bike than some people have done with a car. The only thing he is guilty of is the bad decision not to wear a helmet. He is an adult, and he can make his own decisions. The driver of the car on the other hand is guilty of causing the accident. Left turn right in front of him.
Steve December 23, 2012 at 11:48 PM
This is what was posted by someone on Chatham Patch about the accident that occurred in that town: "McVeigh, who made a left from the Westbound lane, as the oncoming Eastbound traffic stopped for him, was already three quarters of the way into the CVS parking lot when the cyclist hit the back of the vehicle, breaking the rear glass window of the right side of the vehicle. Cyclist was passing stopped cars as he traveled in the shoulder." If accurately reported, the foregoing details entirely support a violation by Mr. Batista of NJSA 39:4-14.2, for a "failure to exercise due care" by passing on the shoulder stopped and slow-moving vehicles. For this, Mr. Batista was apparently cited, and correctly so, if the reported facts are correct. The foregoing is also consistent with the summons violation made out by Police Lieutenant Brian Gibbons. And there would be no violation on the part of McVeigh.
John December 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM
So you saying that traffic stopped dead in the road so the SUV could make the left into the parking lot? I highly doubt it. More believable would be the SUV made a quick left in front of oncoming traffic. As a club cyclist and avid motorcyclist I've had more close calls like this than I can remember. I don't believe it.
John December 24, 2012 at 01:28 AM
By the way, left hand turn traffic must YIELD to oncoming traffic. So the driver of the SUV should have received a ticket.
kls December 24, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I witnessed this accident and still feel extremely upset over the injuries mr. Batista sustained. I pray that he makes a full recovery. It was a horrible and unfortunate accident. From my innocent bystander view, mr. Mcveigh did not cut the bicyclist off and there was no way he could have seen the bicyclist coming. There was a long line of stopped traffic traveling east. Mr mcveigh was traveling west and made a left into the CVS parking lot. The bicyclist was passing the line of traffic (also going east) on the shoulder. The bicyclist hit mr mcveigh's car after mcveigh had turned into to the parking lot, blowing out the rear window located in the trunk (very back of the car). It was not a SUV. I'm not sure mr mcveigh could have even seen what hit his car as it happened behind his line of vision - the bicyclist hit the very rear of the car. I also don't know how mr mcveigh would have been able to see bicyclist coming in advance as bicyclist was bent over not visible behind a very long line of cars traveling east.
Steve December 24, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Thank you, kls. Your eyewitness account completely corroborates the account given by another person on Chatham Patch, as well as that implied by the citation given to Mr. Batista by Officer Gibbons for the bicyclist's failure to exercise due care. It also demonstrates why Mr. McVeigh received no summons, notwithstanding the fabrication of events and the law by some cyclists here and on Chatham Patch who were not present at the scene, and who appear to be generally biased against all car drivers and the competency of police officers. In any event, kls, I join you in wishing Mr. Batista a complete recovery, with no permanent injury. I also hope he wears his helmet in the future, and cycle more carefully.
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Donald December 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM
By the way, it is illegal for bicyclists such as Mr. Batista even to be riding on the shoulder of a road (and especially passing slower or stopped traffic on the roadway to the bicyclist's left, for which he will receive a summons). As held by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Polzo v. County of Essex (January 18, 2012): "Bicyclists do not have special privileges on a roadway’s shoulder. Indeed, a bicycle rider is directed to ride on the furthest right hand side of the roadway, not on the roadway’s shoulder. The Motor Vehicle Code does not designate the roadway’s shoulder as a bicycle lane."

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