Bicycle Safety
In order to prevent and reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to bicycle accidents, wearing a bicycle helmet is not only a necessity but also a law in the State of New Jersey. Head injury is the most serious type of bicycle injury that can very easily lead to permanent damage or death. Bicycle helmets have been proven to help prevent this type of injury; it is essential to wear a helmet at all times to protect yourself.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle injuries in the United States are becoming much more severe and require a much longer hospitalization period. In 2008, 718 individuals were killed in bicycle-related accidents in the United States. Ninety-one percent of those bicyclists killed reportedly weren't wearing helmets. While that number went down 12% - to 630 fatalities in 2009 - bicycle-related injuries are still high, at over 51,000 injuries in America in 2009. Middlesex County hopes to see that figure drop significantly by educating our constituents on proper, safe cycling.

Middlesex County Bicycle Rodeos

Towns within Middlesex County host "bicycle rodeos." The purpose of a bicycle rodeo is to educate residents on bicycle safety and how to ride intelligently. The primary focus group for rodeos is young cyclists - up to age 14. Bicycle inspections will take place, followed by chalked up riding courses where the cyclists will apply the rules and skills they have learned. To find the closest bicycle rodeo near you, see our Events page.

Tips for Bicycle Accident Prevention

(source: New Jersey Divison of Highway Traffic Safety)
Always wear a helmet. As stated previously, helmets are a necessary preventative measure against brain injuries. Make sure that your helmet fits your head properly - meaning it does not slide off (too big) or hurt your head (too tight).

Inspect your bicycle before leaving. Tires must have enough air in each of them. Make sure that reflectors are on your bicycle (especially at night). Make sure that your seat is at the right height and is not loose.

Avoid busy streets and intersections. The simple fact here is that busier streets translate to a higher risk for an accident. The roads you take when driving are not always the best roads to take when cycling.

Obey all traffic signs and laws. Ride with traffic, on the right side of the road. Make sure you are using proper hand signals when turning and stopping.

Do not attempt stunts or tricks. This can refer to a variety of different actions, i.e. carrying more people than the bicycle is designed for, jumping over objects, "hitching" rides by holding onto a vehicle and letting them carry you, etc. All of these actions can lead to injury easily.

Helmet Law in the State of New Jersey

Title 39:4-10.1

"A person under 17 years of age shall not operate, or ride upon a bicycle as a passenger, unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet. This requirement shall apply to a person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat which is attached to the bicycle, or in a trailer towed by the bicycle."

Wheels Under Your Feet? Helmet on Your Head!
Think Positive Campaign

The Think Positive Campaign is a four-month program aimed at reducing head injuries through educating and promoting education awareness in our youth. Middlesex County, partnering with the trauma center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, designed this campaign in the hopes of bringing awareness to the new extended helmet law, which raises the limit to age 17. Local police forces issue "reward summonses" to children they encounter who are wearing their helmets. These summonses are redeemable at local merchants for items such as ice cream, a soft drink etc. as a positive reinforcement for properly wearing their helmets. Middlesex County hopes to expand this campaign throughout the entire County. Anyone interested in learning more about this campaign or other safety programs should contact Safe Kids Middlesex County at 732-418-8026.

Materials for download: (click image to view PDF)