Attention Cyclists

The Bicyclist's Manual

Rules of the road

In September and October, volunteers organized by Sustainable Highland Park and the Complete Streets Task Force took pedestrian and bicyclist counts at two locations in Raritan Avenue over the course of two week days. They found that most bicyclists (over 75%) use the sidewalks to get around, when it is perfectly legal to ride in the road. This presents a significant safety concern for walkers given our narrow sidewalks, especially for senior citizens and young children walking to school. If more people learned to cycle on our roads safely and responsibly (including high school students) there would be more room for everyone.

Here are some guidelines cyclists should pay attention to:

  • Be predictable. Avoid sudden swerves between cars and use turn signals to minimize confusion.

  • Obey the law. Cyclists share the same responsibility as drivers. Always obey traffic signals and street signs.

  • Be conspicuous. Especially when visibility is poor, wear bright clothing and use a front white light, red rear light, and reflectors. Communicate with other drivers through hand gestures and eye contact.

  • Think ahead. Practice defensive biking. Anticipate the actions of others to prevent collisions. Look out for road hazards and wild children. Be aware of opening car doors (and drivers should be aware of bicyclists with this as well)!

  • Bike Maintenance. Before you ride, test your brakes, tires, and chains. Don't forget to wear a gnarly helmet!

  • Keep your head clear. Do not bike under the influence. If necessary, call a friend. Safety comes first!
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Sharing the Roadway- Sharrows

You all may have noticed the symbols along Raritan Avenue with a bike and two arrows. These are called "sharrows" and have been installed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. A sharrow is a "shared lane bicycle marking" and is an alternative to a full-on bicycling lane, meant for narrow roads like ours. They are intended to raise awareness that cyclists and motorists must share the road, and that cyclists are permitted to use the full lane. They also guide cyclists to the best place to ride- in the middle of the road, away from the threat of opening car doors.

1) They are not bike lanes, only reminders to motorists that they must respect the rights of cyclists.

2) Cyclists are permitted to ride on all streets in Highland Park, including those without sharrows.

3) They were installed as part of an effort to raise awareness and make it safer to cycle, and to encourage cycling.

For more information on sharrows visit:

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State Bike Laws

In New Jersey, the law states a bicyclist must obey all state and local automobile driving laws. A parent may be held responsible for the child’s violation of any traffic law.

Bicycling in New Jersey is regulated under Title 39 of the Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation laws.

Title 39:4-10.1

In New Jersey, anyone under 17 years of age that rides a bicycle or is a passenger on a bicycle, or is towed as a passenger by a bicycle must wear a safety helmet.

39:4-14.2, 39:4-10.11 Operating Regulations.

Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right roadside as possible exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. A bicyclist may move left under any of the following conditions:

1) To make a left turn from a left turn lane or pocket;

2) To avoid debris, drains, or other hazardous conditions on the right;

3) To pass a slower moving vehicle;

4) To occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic;

5) To travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded, but otherwise ride in single file. Every person riding a bicycle shall ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic.

39:4-12 Feet and Hands on Pedals and Handlebars; Carrying Another Person.

Bicyclists should not drive the bicycle with feet removed from the pedals, or with both hands removed from the handlebars, nor practice any trick or fancy driving in a street. Limit passengers to only the number the bicycle is designed and equipped to carry (the number of seats it has).

39:4-10 Lights on Bicycles.

When in use at nighttime every bicycle shall be equipped with:

1) A front headlamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front;

2) A rear lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear; 3) In addition to the red lamp a red reflector may be mounted on the rear.

39:4-11 Audible Signal.

A bicycle must be equipped with a bell or other audible device that can be heard at least 100 feet away, but not a siren or whistle.

39:4-14 Hitching on Vehicle Prohibited.

No person riding a bicycle shall attach themselves to any streetcar or vehicle.

Taken from the Department of Transportation of NJ.

For more information go to:

Work your legs!

Aside from walking, biking is the greenest mode of transportation. Not only is it inexpensive, it is super fun. Save your money on gas and work those quads!

Highland Park installed these awesome blue bike racks around town- so fear no more cyclists, your bikes are safe with us.

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New Jersey Department of Transportation

Biking in New Jersey: Frequently Asked Questions

Highland Park High School Environmental Club

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