With regard to bicyclists and helmets, the law in the State of New Jersey states the following quite clearly: All riders under the age of 17 must wear a helmet.
The “helmet law,” as it is known, was formerly applicable to cyclists under 14 years of age, but in 2006, the law was updated to apply to all cyclists under 17. This law comes into focus quite often in New Jersey and violation of the law comes with a price tag: $25 for a first offense. A second offense can possibly result in a fine as high as $100.
There are also several other laws regarding bicycling that all cyclists should be aware of. They are found under Title 39 of the New Jersey Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations, most of which have been active since 1951. Here’s a breakdown of some of those laws:
• While cycling at night, your bicycle must have lights and reflectors. Specifically, the bike should have a white light in the front and red light in the rear. The lights must be visible from at least 500 feet by vehicles that are approaching or following. A red reflector should also be attached to the rear so that a vehicle’s headlights will be reflected from a minimum of 300 feet away.
• A bicycle must have a horn, bell, or another type of audible signaling device that can be heard from at least 100 feet away. It is important to note that neither a siren nor a whistle is allowed by the law.
• Check your brakes regularly. Properly functioning brakes are easily taken for granted, so checking the brakes is key to preventing a brake malfunction that can have devastating results.
• A law that seems obvious is that your bike should have a seat and you must use that seat. Also, your feet should be on the pedals and your hands should be on the handle bars.
• A bike should never be “hitched” or “towed” by another bike or another vehicle.
• Always ride to the right of traffic and maintain a single file with other cyclists.
While New Jersey law states that cyclists under 17 must wear a helmet, it’s important to note that in most cycling accidents; the vast majority of serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a helmet. It’s good, common sense to wear a helmet while cycling and failure to do so can result in fines and accidents. In the event that you or someone you love suffers a head injury while cycling, the team at Lependorf & Silverstein can help. Give our New Jersey bike accident lawyers call at (609) 240-0040.