Most riders learn the fundamentals of bike riding from their parents, but moms and dads are largely focused on keeping you upright and out of heavy traffic. Unless you have cyclist parents, you probably haven’t been taught how to safely make a left turn down a busy road or maneuver past parked vehicles. Most bikers don’t even know if they can ride on some sidewalks in New Jersey. If you regularly bike for work or pleasure, then taking a safety class could be the key to avoiding a catastrophic accident.
What You’ll Learn
There are a variety of bike safety classes in New Jersey that are operated by local bike clubs, city governments, or community safety organizations. Which class you choose will differ based on the city you live in, but most will provide classes for kids and adults. Depending on the age requirements, kids’ classes will focus primarily on basic safety skills, from how to ride a bike to the importance of wearing a helmet, to more advanced lessons on traffic safety guidelines.
Adults, on the other hand, will receive more in-depth instructions on:
- How to ride around motor vehicles
- Local New Jersey bicycle laws
- Your rights as a cyclist
- Riding in various weather conditions, such as rain or snow
- Dealing with difficult terrain
- Proper balance and maneuvering
- Gear-shifting, braking, steering, lane-changing, controlling your speed, and other advanced cycling techniques
- Keeping visible to drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists
- How to pick a bike
- Bicycle maintenance and repair
- The essential equipment to have when riding
- Health benefits to cycling
- Proper stretching before and after a ride
Some programs also offer instructions for drivers. These classes will detail the risks of reckless driving and how drivers should handle themselves around cyclists and pedestrians.
Picking a Class
What a bike safety class provides will depend on the intended goal of the instructions. Some classes will focus heavily on basic training and helping kids and adults get used to riding. Others will provide information about traffic laws and keeping safe on the road. There are also advanced classes for riders who want to take part in races or ride with groups, which are often the most in-depth and advanced classes.
When picking a class, you will want to keep an open mind to all the lessons you can learn. You may never intend on training for a race, but you may learn how to handle your bike at high-speeds or what to do when you get to a steep hill. You may also realize that you haven’t been stretching properly before a ride, which can help prevent future injuries.
Alternatively, basic courses will also fill in the gaps in the lessons your parents gave you and provide a well-rounded instruction on bike safety. Which class you pick may depend on where you live and your schedule, but it is always helpful to check with your city’s website, community centers, and bike shops for more information.
In addition to bike safety classes, there are several online resources for bike enthusiasts, such as AAA Safe Bike Ride and the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s Bike Safety Guide, that provide short-and-sweet instructions on bike safety in New Jersey.
When the Unfortunate Happens
Sometimes, all the training in the world cannot prevent an accident. Just as cyclists need to be educated about how to handle themselves on the road, drivers should also be fully aware of how their actions can affect cyclists. Drivers generally focus on their own safety and convenience and will drive recklessly without regard for anyone around them.
If the careless actions of a driver result in injuries to you or a loved one, contact the New Jersey bike accident attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. Our lead attorneys, Gabriel Lependorf and David Silverstein, are both avid cyclists who have a thorough understanding of the risks negligent drivers pose to bikers. They practice a compassionate, personalized approach to personal injury claims, ensuring that victims of bike accidents receive fair treatment from insurance companies and proper compensation. Call us at (609) 240-0040 to learn about your rights as a cyclist in New Jersey.