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SUV Strikes Bicyclist on Millburn Avenue

An SUV hit a 30-year-old Maplewood resident and drives away

A Maplewood resident was struck, riding his bicycle to work on Millburn Avenue, around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, by a black SUV that left the scene, police said.

John Cain, 30, said he was heading toward downtown Millburn when the SUV made a right-hand turn on Wyoming Avenue without a turn signal.

Cain said he managed to jump off his bicycle after it was hit, avoiding any injuries. 

He said, after the accident, he exchanged words with the driver before the SUV drove off.

"The guy in the SUV said he had the right of way," Cain said. "I said you just hit me dude, I'm calling the cops and he took off."

The Maplewood resident said his front tire was ruined and he was upset because he just replaced the back tire. 

Cain said he was riding to work in Berkeley Heights. His wife, who is 7-months pregnant, was picking him up.

Millburn First Aid Squad responded to the accident and released Cain. 

A police officer on the scene said, they were given the license plate number of the SUV from "a good samaritan," and are following up the accident. 

unleb August 17, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Hey GarageRock, we disagree, simple as that. you stated your opinion, which I disagree with, the courts will surely decide one way or the other. The idea that the cyclist should ride away, "thankful that he wasn't run over." is what bugs people most (at least it did me). A far more powerful vehicle, with the ability to kill a pedestrian (or cyclist), should bear a larger burden of responsibility on the roads, in my opinion. You are free to disagree, of course. Most of my posts have referred to incorrect statements about the traffic laws in NJ. And to answer your question in the extreme, does your signalling to make a turn absolve you of any guilt for running over, say, a child in a stroller? Would you sleep better at night knowing that you had signaled? The idea that you have signaled and therefore are in the right seems particularly arrogant to me, particularly given what is at risk. Again, we just disagree, you are entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine.
GarageRock August 17, 2012 at 09:33 AM
Again, my point wasn't that the cyclist "should ride away thankful etc..", but that confronting the motorist in a hostile way was wrong, and just plain stupid. You never know who you're dealing with, and to attack another person verbally just makes you more vulnerable to being attacked yourself. As for "a child in a stroller" darting out in front of you, I doubt that would happen, but if it did it would be the person pushing the stroller's fault. Bottom line is, who would enter an intersection without checking to see if a car was coming? Both parties are responsible...that's my point.
Brian Hurrel August 17, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Seriously? I mean, really. Are you just joking around? If you're actually serious and actually believe what you've just written... I'm speechless at this.
Brian Hurrel August 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM
No matter who was at fault, the driver has now committed a crime by leaving the scene of an accident.
Robert Dunne August 17, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Did bicyclist run into car or car into bicyclist? The bicyclist said he jumped from bike after being hit and landed on curb/sidewalk to his right. If the bicyclist had forward momentum he would have landed diagonally forward to the right possibly hitting car. It appears the bicyclist had little if none forward momentum therefore he must have been close to no speed to the right of the cars front window or front fender. Anyone disagree.
Robert Dunne August 17, 2012 at 06:38 PM
How is "I said you just hit me dude, I'm calling the cops" considered hostile?
GarageRock August 17, 2012 at 08:07 PM
How about don't confront the person at all, hostile or otherwise...is that better, Robert Dunne?! Let the police handle it. Also, since when is it legal to pass a car on the right, or on the shoulder?
unleb August 17, 2012 at 09:48 PM
GarageRock, as I posted earlier, it is not only legal for a bicycle to ride to the right of a vehicle on the shoulder, it is in fact recommended by the State of NJ in their bicycle safety manual.
Erin August 17, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Wow So not John's fault. I hope none of you get hit by a car and have to defend yourself against ridiculous criticism.
Mandeville August 18, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Something seems to happen to some people when they get behind the wheel of an SUV; the physical power & size of the vehicle seem to bring out the latent brutishness & barbarism lurking in their nature. Why don't we require SUV drivers to submit to a more rigorous DMV training & testing, say to the same level as a CDL license. Demanding more from drivers of these behemoths might make them think twice about approaching an intersection with too much speed & too little precaution.
Mandeville August 18, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Further, the SUV driver in this case behaved reprehensibly & should be severely punished: jail time; financial penalties; loss of license; hours & hours of community service, viz., sweeping Millburn's gutters & cleaning out public toilets; & mandatory attendance at various rehab programs & driver re-education classes. The combination of the driver's brutality with his cowardliness is so repellent, it offends so thoroughly every notion of human goodness or kindness. It is anti-kind.
GarageRock August 19, 2012 at 12:36 AM
How about regardless what the "law" states, just use some common sense! How much good is it going to do you when you're dying in the hospital because, technically, you were "in the right"?! When the law is counter to basic intelligence and common sense, then the law needs to be changed. I bike all the time nearly year round, and I never just assume the driver sees me. I value my health more than that. As I stated repeatedly, the driver in is case was clearly wrong and shouldn't have acted the way he did, but that doesn't absolve the cyclist from taking responsibility for his own safety. When you approach an intersection, you make sure it's safe to proceed...period. That goes for all vehicles and pedestrians. Never assume the other person is paying attention to you, because that could be a fatal mistake.
Trevor heather August 19, 2012 at 02:54 AM
O.K. SO I bike to work everyday rain, sun, snow, freezing rain. And I can say first hand that it is a 50/50 blame game. There are cyclists who put them selves at risk and there are drivers who put everyone at risk. Everyone throwing around who's to blame about this event is ridiculous. I narrowly missed getting hit yesterday by someone who "right hooked" (sped up passed me and immediately turned right in front of me. The driver stopped halfway around the corner inches from pinning me to a telephone pole. When I got off my bike and said to him you almost killed me his response was "not now pal I'm on the phone" I can honestly say that everyday someone either throws their door open directly in front of me, or pulls out of a intersection in my path or generally puts my life in immediate danger. I lived 6 years in NYC, one in L.A, one in Seattle, 3 in Toronto, and one in Chicago. Not to mention 3 in the Caribbean but NJ is by far the worst area for bikers to mix with motor vehicles. There is no respect what so ever. Slow down, give me an extra foot if you can, I want to make it home to see my kids too. I don't care who's fault it was I hope Mr.Cain is o.k and the jerk that left the scene of an accident is held accountable, cyclist or not.
Brett Kaiser August 19, 2012 at 03:56 AM
UnFreakingbelievable YOU Hit something, YOU Are Wrong. Then to STOP and ARGUE with the Person you hit and then SPLIT Burn the MOTHER DOWN
Mandeville August 19, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Trevor Heather is right about NJ being the worst area for barbaric drivers. NJ just keeps getting thuggier & thuggier every day. Enlightened activities such as bicycling are threatening to these brutes, which may be why they seem to go out of their way to target bike riders ... maybe not enough to kill the cyclists, just enough to wreck the bike, & to rough up the bike riders. Maybe we need more of those closed circuit cameras at intersections & along roads to catch these thugs in action.
kathryn thompson August 19, 2012 at 05:39 PM
GarageRock, if you had been in John Cain's shoes that day, I sincerely doubt you (or anyone, for that matter) would have refrained from confronting the driver (hostile or otherwise).
unleb August 19, 2012 at 11:44 PM
"How about regardless what the "law" states, just use some common sense!" *SIGH*, well yes, of course. My citing the law was in response to some comments that incorrectly framed the law. But here's the thing. First off, the bicyclist was doing what the State of NJ suggests he do in terms of operating his bicycle on the road, and second, a vehicle has a FAR greater ability to do harm (have you ever heard of a driver killed after having his vehicle struck by a bicycle?), and should therefore exercise MORE caution... at least that's what common sense would suggest.
GarageRock August 20, 2012 at 02:00 AM
You're right, kathryn thompson (sic). Maybe if I had been in your friend's shoes that day, I would have acted irresponsibly too. Maybe I would have beaten the crap out of the driver, and then I would be the one in trouble. But then again, I would never be in that situation to begin with. I respect the cars when I bike. I don't assume the drivers are paying attention to me.
kathryn thompson August 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM
I can appreciate your awareness and restraint, GarageRock. I'm curious though... why do you consider John Cain's words to the SUV-driver an act of irresponsibility? The SUV-driver spoke to John too. By this logic, wouldn't the SUV-driver's comments (and ultimate departure from the scene) be considered acts of irresponsibility too? I'm sure you've never struck a bicyclist with your car, but if you ever did, I'm certain you would remain at the scene until the police arrived, wouldn't you? Possibly even check to make sure the rider (guilty or not) was okay?
Sasquatch August 20, 2012 at 04:54 PM
cycle commuter here- my 1st feeling is relief that Mr Cain survived the SUV encounter, it sounds like he's got serious cat-like agility!!! a problem with cycling on NJ roads are drivers just not understanding how the speed of a bike relates to the speed of their car. this is the classic "right hook" where a driver, once past a moving cyclist, will make their right turn assuming the cycle is now as far behind them as a stationary object would be. That's pretty much a universal human problem only compounded by "jersey drivers"... solutions anyone? PS, can we talk about those crazy cyclists when the event relates to one?
GarageRock August 20, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Of course I would. The only difference is that I would not mouth off to anyone, because you never know who you're dealing with. Trust me, I understand the entire situation, and this whole conversation has gotten out of hand because some people just have to have the last word, I guess. If I hit someone with my car, regardless of the situation, I would call the police myself and stay there until help arrived, as I'm sure most non-lunatics would do. My only point since the beginning, was that the cyclist shares responsibility for being hit, regardless of what the law says, and that they should bite their lip until the police arrive, rather than risk getting hurt even more. Being "in the right" or having "the law on your side" isn't going to matter much to you if your skull is crushed, or if the moron that hit you decides to shoot you. I'm done with this story...it's gotten ridiculous.
kathryn thompson August 20, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I agree with you, GarageRock... your points are well-made and well-intentioned. The only reason I care so much is because John Cain is my brother-in-law, and his wife (my sister) is 7 months pregnant with their son. John was riding his bike to work that day (as opposed to driving) because my sister had an ultrasound appointment, and needed the car. I was just being a protective (read: meddling) older sister. Peace.
Sasquatch August 24, 2012 at 05:02 PM
let's go political!!! If the cyclist was legitimately hit, he would have ways of shutting the whole getting run over thing down, I think... PS- this comes from someone who's survived being driven into 4 times and a few to many close calls because I ride my bike way too much. I'm not trying to be funny, just pointing out the reality-less mentality some people have...
unleb August 24, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Sasquatch, completely hysterical!
GarageRock August 25, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Since "Sasquatch" brought this ridiculous thread into my mailbox again, and I read it in it's entirety, I have to ask the cyclists who claim to have been hit: does "Cain said he managed to jump off his bicycle after it was hit, avoiding any injuries" seem in the least bit credible? Now I'm getting a little annoyed at this whole incident and article. There is absolutely no way you can "jump off" your bike after being hit by anything, period. I'll assume, based on the fact that he was commuting from Millburn to Berkley Heights, that he was an experienced rider. I'll also assume, that a rider accustomed to commuting those distances by bike, is not riding a box-store Pacific or Huffy. That means he probably has toe clips or straps on his pedals, and there is not a chance he is "jumping" out of them, regardless of the circumstances. I now suspect that John Cain hit the car because he was not paying attention, and was completely at fault himself, and was looking to pass the blame on the motorist by saying they hit him instead. After re-evaluating this entire story, I'm actually siding with the driver, even though I bike constantly. The whole jumping off your bike thing is a bunch of crap...it's nearly impossible to pull off, and I think this guy is full of sh**.
Brian Hurrel August 25, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Garage, you should have quit while you still seemed sane.
kathryn thompson August 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM
LOL!
unleb August 25, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Classic. After a long thread of exchanging opinions (most of which the Millburn police seem to agree with, given that they issued summonses to the driver of the SUV for careless driving, leaving the scene and failure to report an accident), this devolves into cursing and calling someone a liar... really classy... if you can't get someone to agree with you, just scream louder and call them names.
Robert Dunne August 27, 2012 at 04:39 PM
GarageRock: Wrong assumptions: If you zoom in on the bike you will see normal pedals, no clips, Also asked John and said normal pedals and bike is far from pro.
Mandeville September 05, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Garage Rock must actually be the hit & run driver, what's his name? Marc Somebody. He's just way too rabid.

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