The warm weather has finally arrived and that means more people are leaving their cars behind and opting for pedal power to get to their destinations. Not only is this a fun way to explore the sights and sounds of the GardenState, but it also incorporates physical fitness into your day. And for many NJ residents, bicycling is the only form of transportation to get to and from work.
If you’re an avid bike rider, you’re probably aware of the rules of the road, but if you’re not very experienced, or just prefer to drive in the comfort of your car at all times, it’s important to remember that the road belongs to both bicyclists and automobiles. We need to practice mutual respect and follow all state and local traffic laws in order to reach our destinations safely.
New Jersey’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations laws recognizes bicycles as a vehicle and grants bicyclists all the same rights and responsibilities as any other automobile traveling along our state’s roadways. This means, that bicycles are permitted on all roadways, unless expressly stated otherwise, and must follow the same traffic rules and patterns as motor vehicles.
According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, there are an average of 173 reported bicycle accidents in MiddlesexCounty every year. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission reported 12 fatalities related to bicycle accidents throughout the state.
So what can we do to prevent bicycling accidents and fatalities? Bikeleague.org offers these common sense tips to bicyclists and motorists:
Obey all vehicle traffic laws, lights and signs
Use hand signals to signify stops and turns to other vehicles
Stay to the right of the road and always ride in the same direction as traffic
Wear bright colored/reflective clothing and a proper fitting helmet
Use front and rear lights when riding at dawn and dusk
Make eye contact with the driver of other vehicles and proceed with caution.
Reduce speed when approaching bicyclists
Do not tailgate or follow too closely; Give the bicyclist space
Yield to bicyclists and give them the right of way, do not try to beat them to the intersection.
When passing, leave four feet between you and the bike rider
Do not blast your horn next to a bicyclist, as this may startle the rider and cause them to lose control.
Make eye contact with the bicyclist and proceed with caution.
Remember the road belongs to everyone. Following these simple rules will ensure we all have a safe and happy trip.