Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Bike Month 2022

Across the United States May is recognized as Bike Month – both bicycles and motorcycles!

While the goal of Bike Month is to raise awareness about riding and being safe, it's also the perfect time to highlight New Jersey's new safe passing law, which requires drivers to move over four feet – an entire lane if possible – or slow down to at least 25 mph when passing vulnerable road users, like cyclists and pedestrians.

Here’s some background on what these campaigns aim to do:

National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month serves as a reminder that motorcyclists and other drivers need to do their part to keep our roads safe for all users. In 2020, there were 5,579 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, an 11 percent increase from 2019 (5,044), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In contrast, an estimated 82,528 motorcyclists were injured, a 2 percent decrease from 83,814 motorcyclists injured in 2019. Motorcyclist deaths accounted for 14 percent of the total highway fatalities that year.

Motorcyclists are more at risk for fatal crashes. Motorcyclist deaths occurred 28 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, according to NHTSA. Visit NHTSA's Motorcycle Safety page to learn more.

The League of American Bicyclists sponsors National Bike Month every May to showcase the many benefits of cycling and to encourage more people to ride. This year's theme is #BikeThere, with a focus on individual and community wellbeing. National Bike to Work Week is May 16-22 this year and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20. Visit the league’s website to learn more about Bike Month and related events.

New Jersey traffic law accords bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. In general, you are best served if you operate your bicycle as you would a vehicle, following the rules of the road and obeying all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings. Check out the New Jersey Bicycle Manual to learn more.

A man rides a bike down a suburban streetBicycle Safety Tips

  • Go with the Flow – While pedestrians should walk against traffic, cyclists should always follow the flow of traffic.
  • Avoid Distractions – Just as you shouldn’t drive or walk while using your cell phone, you should hold that call or text until after you’re done cycling. Remember: Heads Up, Phones Down.
  • Obey the traffic laws and lights – Just as pedestrians must wait for the walk, wait until you have the green light before entering an intersection.
  • Wear a helmet – It could save your life.
  • Stay alert – Be aware of obstacles and look out for turning vehicles that may not see you.
  • Signal – Use hand signals when turning.
  • Make noise – NJ requires that cyclists be equipped with a bell or other audible device that can be heard at least 100 feet away.
  • Riding at night? Use a light – it’s the law in NJ.

A man rides a motorcycle down a crowded street in Union City, NJ with cars behind him.Motorcycle Safety Tips

  • Wear a helmet and consider using a Department of Transportation-compliant one, they’re more likely to protect your head.
  • Avoid Distractions – Hold that call or text until after you’ve parked your motorcycle. Remember: Heads Up, Phones Down.
  • Obey traffic lights, signals, speed limits and lane markings.
  • Check behind you and signal before changing lanes.
  • Proceed cautiously at intersections and yield to pedestrians.
  • Wear reflective materials when riding at night.
  • Ride sober — 37 percent of riders who died in single-vehicle crashes were alcohol-impaired.
  • Before you ride, check your tire pressure and tread depth, breaks, headlights, signals and fluid levels.