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July 2018 - NJ Bike Laws and Safety - Here's What You Should Know

Traffic Stop

Cycling is a great form of exercise but you need to take precautions.

There were 818 bicycle fatalities in the U.S. in 2015, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation. That represents 2.3% of all U.S. traffic deaths that year. Steps that can help you avoid becoming a statistic include obeying traffic laws, keeping your bike in good repair, wearing bright clothing, and wearing a safety helmet.

Know the Bike Laws:
  • Bicyclists must obey the same laws as other motorists (using turn signals, riding on the right, obeying traffic signals)
  • Bicyclist may ride side by side when there’s no traffic but must ride single file and keep right otherwise
  • Nighttime bicyclists must have a light on the front of their bike and a red reflector on the back

Bicyclists 17 and younger are required to wear a helmet in New Jersey, but the numbers say others should also:

  • non-helmeted bicyclists are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash;
  • helmet use is estimated to reduce the odds for serious head injury by 50%
  • 53% of children 8 to 12 say they’d more likely wear a helmet if their parents enforced it.

It’s important that helmets be worn properly and fit correctly.

  • Helmets should sit no more than an inch above your eyebrows. (Helmets worn pushed back on the head pose a 52% greater risk for head injury.)
  • Front and back straps should form a “V” just below and to the front of each ear.
  • Helmets shouldn’t move back on your head when the chin strap is fastened; if it does, tighten the strap.
  • The helmet should press down on the top of your head when you open your mouth halfway.
  • The skin at your temples should wrinkle when you push your helmet from side-to-side, back-to-front.
  • The front of the helmet should not slip down when you try to move it over your head by grabbing the back tip.

Remember, helmets are designed to withstand only one crash and should be replaced after any accident. Happy riding and stay safe!

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