New Jersey Bike Laws
“Bicycle” means any two-wheeled vehicle having a rear drive
which is solely human powered and having a seat height of 25 inches or
greater when the seat is in the lowest adjustable position.
Source § 39:4-14.5
New Jersey Helmet Law
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. All helmets must be properly fastened and fitted.
The definition of bicycle with reference to the helmet legislation is a
vehicle with two wheels propelled solely by human power and having pedals,
handle bars and a saddle-like seat. The term shall include a bicycle for
two or more persons having seats and corresponding pedals arranged in tandem.
- Bicycle helmets must meet the federal standards developed by the Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) effective March 10, 1999 that ensure
the best head protection and strong chin straps to keep the helmet in
place during a fall or collision.
- Also acceptable are helmets meeting the Snell Memorial Foundation’s
1990 Standard for Protection Headgear.
Exemptions from the Helmet Requirement:
- Persons who operate or ride a bicycle (as a driver or a passenger) on a
roadway closed to motor traffic
- Persons riding on a trail, route, course, boardwalk, path or area set aside
only for the use of bicycles
These exemptions do not apply if the areas of operation are adjacent to
a roadway and not separated from motor vehicle traffic by a barrier that
prevents the bicycle from entering the roadway. Bicyclists or passengers
operating in an area where helmets are not required who need to cross
a road or highway should
walk with the bicycle.
Penalties for Failing to Wear a Helmet:
- Initial violators of the helmet law will receive warnings.
For minors, the parent or legal guardian may be fined a maximum of $25
for the 1st offense and a maximum of $100 for subsequent offense(s), if
lack of parental supervision contributed to the offense.
Source § 39:4-10.1
Lights & Reflectors 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.
Source § 39:4-10
A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that can make wheels skid while
stopping on dry, level, clean pavement.
Source § 39:4-11.1
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.
Source: NJ Rev Stat § 39:4-11 (2013)
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).
Source § 39:4-12
Hitching on Vehicle Prohibited
No person riding a bicycle shall attach themselves to any streetcar or vehicle.
Source: NJ Rev Stat § 39:4-14 (2013)
Rights and Duties of Persons on Bicycles
Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway is granted all the rights and
subject to all the duties of the motor vehicle driver. Regulations applicable
to bicycles apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any highway or upon
any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles subject to those
exceptions stated herein.
Source § 39:4-14.1
Operating Regulations: Keep to right; Exceptions; Single File
Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right
roadside as practicable 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.
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.
Source § 39:4-14.2; § 39:4-10.11
Areas Not Expressly Addressed by NJ State Laws:
Riding on Sidewalk - Although New Jersey does not prohibit riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, some
municipalities have passed ordinances prohibiting bicycle traffic on certain
sidewalks (and is usually posted) In New Jersey, sidewalks are for pedestrians
and bike traffic can lead to crashes. Except for very young cyclists under
parental supervision, sidewalks are not for bicycling.
Using Headphones - Current NJ state law does not expressly prohibit riding a bike with headphones.
Safe Passing Laws - Current NJ law does not have a safe passing law as it relates to bicycles.
For More information on New Jersey Laws related to Cycling: