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New Jersey Bicyclists’ Rights

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Bicyclists’ Rights in New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the few states in the nation that does not define bicycles as vehicles. Nevertheless, under Title 39 of the state’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation Laws, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles and must obey all local and state driving laws. Our attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. are avid cyclists and zealous proponents of bicyclists’ rights.

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Legal Requirements for Bicyclists in New Jersey

Mandatory Equipment

Under state law, bicycles must be properly equipped with:

  • A bell or other audible device (not a siren or whistle) that can be heard at least 100 feet away
  • Brakes that can make the wheels skid when stopping on clean, dry, level pavement
  • When used at night: 1) front headlight emitting white light visible at 500 feet to the front; 2) rear lamp emitting a red light visible at 500 feet to the rear; 3) a red reflector may also be mounted on the rear

Prohibited Bicycling Behavior

  • Bicyclists are prohibited from riding with their feet removed from the pedals or with both hands removed from the handlebars, and from practicing any fancy tricks in the street.
  • Passengers are limited to only the number the bicycle is equipped to carry or the number of seats on the bicycle.
  • Hitching a ride on a streetcar or a motor vehicle is prohibited.

Bicycle Operating Regulations

Anyone under 17 years of age operating a bicycle or riding as a passenger in New Jersey must wear a helmet. An exemption from the helmet requirement for minors applies when riding on a roadway closed to motor vehicles, or on a trail, route, path, course, or boardwalk set aside exclusively for the use of bicycles. A person traveling on a bicycle must be riding in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. Bicyclists are required under state law to ride as near to the right roadside as practicable while exercising due care when passing a vehicle that is standing or moving in the same direction. A cyclist may only move left:

  • To execute a left turn from a left turning lane or pocket
  • To avoid hazardous conditions on the road, such as debris or drains
  • To pass a slower-moving vehicle
  • To occupy any available lane if traveling at the same speed as the flow of traffic
  • To travel two abreast (no more) when traffic is not impeded, and otherwise, ride in single file

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is not authorized or prohibited under state law. Although vehicles and horses are not allowed on sidewalks, bicycles are not considered vehicles in New Jersey.

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Bicyclists’ Right to Share the Road

All people who ride bicycles on New Jersey roadways have the same rights as motor vehicle drivers, and that includes having their right-of-way respected. Cyclists are entitled to share the road with motorists under the law. Drivers should look carefully for bicycles before turning left or right, moving into bicycle lanes, or opening car doors adjacent to moving traffic. Failure to do so is negligent driving behavior that can lead to serious bicycle accidents.

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What Recourse Do You Have If Your Rights as a Bicyclist Are Violated?

If a motor vehicle driver violates your right-of-way, causing a bicycle accident, you have a right to seek compensation from the negligent driver. Our experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., can investigate your accident to determine fault and liability, negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf, and fight for your rights in court.

We have been awarded membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum because of our history of success in recovering compensation for our clients. Contact us at (609) 240-0040 for dedicated legal representation in your bicycle accident case.

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The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty five years.

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