New Jersey Summer Bicycle Safety Tips
Originally published August 1, 2016. If you are a bicycle enthusiast, you are probably looking forward to the impending summer months. The plentiful sunshine, fresh air, and warm weather will certainly be too tempting to avoid this year. Biking is a fun and healthy activity, but it is often dangerous in New Jersey. Unfortunately, many New Jersey drivers are not used to sharing the road with bicyclists. This inattentiveness is a deadly threat to bicyclists everywhere, so if you are planning on riding down your favorite bike path or trail this summer, be sure to read the following safety tips first.
Wear a Helmet
Out of all the safety tips on this list, wearing a helmet is probably the most important. The head and neck are extremely susceptible to injury during New Jersey bicycle accidents, and a helmet can protect them from sustaining serious, life-threatening damage. Under New Jersey Statute 39:4-10.1, all riders under 17 years of age are required to wear a helmet while riding. However, it is in the best interest of New Jersey riders of all ages to wear a properly fitted, Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved helmet. While they cannot prevent all head injuries, wearing a helmet will significantly reduce the degree of head trauma suffered in a crash and can prevent debilitating neck, spinal cord, brain, or skull injuries. When choosing a bicycle helmet, be sure to find one that fits properly, and make sure that it is secured tightly before venturing out.
Make Sure the Bike Is the Right Size
When you stand over your bike, there should be space between you and the crossbar. Your handlebars should be the same height as the seat and your knees should be able to fully extend as you pedal.
Increase Your Visibility
If you plan to ride your bike alongside major highways or roads, you will definitely want to make sure that you are visible to motorists. You can reduce your chances of being hit by wearing bright clothing, installing a headlamp on the front of your bike, placing reflectors on your seat and pedals, and by putting reflective tape on your helmet, jacket, and bag. Do not wear headphones – this can make it difficult to hear potential threats. It is also advisable to install a horn or bell to notify drivers when you are near. By increasing you and your bike’s visibility, you can drastically reduce your chances of being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.
Obey Traffic Laws
When riding your bike on a major roadway, please be sure to obey all traffic laws. These laws are in place to keep both drivers and bicyclists safe. It is also a good idea to stay as far to the right as possible without putting yourself in danger of hazardous shoulders and parked cars. You have the right to travel on the road, but it is not advisable to ride right in the middle of the lane. Additionally, riding in an unpredictable manner will only increase your chances of being struck by another vehicle.
We Care About Your Safety
If you intend to ride your bike this summer, please keep the tips above in mind. Here at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., we want you to stay as safe as possible this summer in Princeton. If you have any questions about bicycle safety or accidents, don’t hesitate to contact our office directly. We can be reached at (609) 240-0040.
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