you for visiting the Division of Highway Traffic
Safety’s website. Charged with ensuring
the safety of all who use our roadways, the
Division sponsors comprehensive public education
and awareness campaigns, as well as law enforcement
initiatives to address a broad array of traffic
spring ’09 well underway, and summer rapidly
approaching, there’s no better time to
remind all New Jerseyans about remaining safe
while enjoying what is now becoming one of the
most popular alternative forms of transportation
in our state, bicycling.
year, while traffic fatalities across the state
dipped to a 45 year low, the number of individuals
killed while bicycling nearly doubled. In 2008,
a total of 22 people lost their lives in bicycle-traffic
crashes, up from 12 in 2007 and 12 in 2006.
Across the nation, more than 700 people die
and nearly 500,000 people are taken to hospital
emergency rooms each year as a result of bike-related
staggering statistics tell us that there is
still a critical need to educate bike riders
and motorists about the importance of safely
sharing the road. Under New Jersey law, a bike
is considered a vehicle, so riders must obey
the same laws as motorists when on roadways.
Motorists, as well, must also recognize that
bicyclists have a right to be on the road. To
reinforce this safety message, the Division
recently produced bike “hang tags,”
with information in both English and Spanish,
for distribution to bicyclists through traffic
safety organizations and agencies, police departments,
bicycle retailers, transportation management
associations and college campuses. Designed
to hang on bike handlebars, the tags are highly
visible, and provide succinct information on
the safe operation of a bicycle.
ensure that all bicyclists, regardless of age,
ride safe this summer and throughout the year,
the Division offers these safety tips:
Never ride a
bike without a helmet. While
the law requires anyone under the age of 17
to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet,
all riders are strongly encouraged to use
one. Head injuries are the most common cause
of death among cyclists, but this trauma can
be reduced by as much as 85 percent simply
by wearing a helmet. Parents and older friends
can be a great role model for younger riders
by always wearing a helmet when they ride.
This simple action can help reinforce the
life-saving value of this law.
Make sure your
helmet fits properly. The
helmet should be placed over the forehead
and the strap secure enough to ensure that
it does not move forward or backward. To test
if your helmet fits properly, place two fingers
under the chin strap. If you can fit less
or more than two, the fit should be adjusted.
clothing to ensure that you’re
visible to motorists and pedestrians.
sure your bike is equipped with reflectors.
If you plan to ride at night, install a white
light on the front and a red light on the
rear of the bike.
Under New Jersey
law, all bikes must have a horn or a bell.
This safety equipment can help alert both
drivers and pedestrians to your presence.
Use proper turning
and stopping hand signals.
More than 70
percent of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes occur
at driveways or intersections.
When approaching an intersection, proceed
with caution, looking left, right and left
Make sure your
bike is regularly maintained
and all equipment is working properly. Tires
should be properly inflated and the wheels
straight and secure. The handlebars should
be firmly in place and turn easily, while
the seat should be properly adjusted.
on the right side of the road,
with traffic. Ride no more than two abreast
(as long as it does not impede the flow of
traffic,) in a straight, predictable path.
the time to become familiar with these simple
rules of bike safety will ensure that all New
Jerseyans are kept safe on our roads not just
this summer, but every season. Additional information
is available on the Division’s bicycle
safety page, at www.nj.gov/oag/hts/bike.html.
The website also has a wealth of information
on a wide array of traffic safety programs.
Be sure to visit often, since new information
is posted regularly. Feel free to download our
educational materials, as well. Enjoy the summer.