Many bicycle deaths result from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. But injuries can happen anywhere, including parks, bike paths and driveways. Often they do not involve motor vehicles or roadways. Head injuries are the most serious injury type and the most common cause of death among bicyclists. The most severe injuries are those to the brain that cause permanent damage. Never ride a bicycle without a helmet. New Jersey law states that anyone under the age of fourteen riding a bike, even as a passenger, must be wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmets which meet the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Through education, enforcement, outreach, and legislation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety and the Long Hill Township Police Department Bicycle Safety Program have set goals directed toward reducing bicycle-related fatalities and injuries, particularly for young riders under 16 years of age. Additional goals include: Increasing the use of bicycle helmets, increasing awareness about sharing the road with cyclists and motorists and promoting safe bicycle practices.
This goal is being implemented through these programs:
- Purchasing Equipment and Safety Helmets. The police union (PBA) of Long Hill Township has vowed to purchase helmets for any child who does not have one after the proper notification is made to a parent or caregiver.
- The Police Mountain Bicycle Units patrol the streets of Long Hill Township promoting safe riding and rewards young cyclists whom are wearing helmets and displaying good safety practices while riding. Safe riders are rewarded with items such as police badges, key chains and erasers.
- Riders under the age of 17 who are not wearing a helmet and are stopped by a police officer are given a written warning. The officer also places a phone call to the parent or caregiver advising them that their child was riding without a helmet.
- The second time a child is stopped a second warning is given and another phone call is made.
- The third time the child is stopped he or she will be issued a traffic summons for failing to wear a bicycle helmet.
- As a reminder, a law requires children under the age of 17 to wear a helmet if they are either on roller skates (roller blades) or a skateboard on the street or other public property. This law has been interpreted to include the use of the manual scooter. Motorized scooters, commonly referred to as "Go-Peds" have a motor attached and the driver stands on a platform. In New Jersey, they fall within the definition of a motorcycle. This requires that they meet all federal and state motorcycle standards. Because they are unable to meet Department of Transportation equipment guidelines, they cannot be certified as a legitimate vehicle. "Go-Peds" are then restricted to operation solely on private property, provided permission of the owner has been secured. Operation on any public road is strictly prohibited.