Stay Seen, Stay Safe: A Cyclist’s Guide to Avoiding Traffic Accidents

Stay Seen, Stay Safe: A Cyclist’s Guide to Avoiding Traffic Accidents

Stay Seen, Stay Safe: A Cyclist’s Guide to Avoiding Traffic Accidents

Author: Thomas F. Shebell, III

Date: May 14, 2024

Category: Blog

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The roads of New Jersey aren't just paths of asphalt; they're lifelines, weaving through our communities, connecting us to work, home, and adventure. But for those of us who experience these roads on two wheels, they're often filled with more risks than rewards. That's why, since March 1, 2022, New Jersey has put its heart into protecting its most vulnerable road users with the Safe Passing Law (NJSA 39:4-92.4). This isn't about control; it's about caring. It's about ensuring that every cyclist who sets out can return home safely to their families.

Suit Up to Show Up - Visibility is Vital

Imagine you’re a beacon on the road, a guiding light in the twilight. Dressing in neon or fluorescent colors isn't just about style—it's about survival. Here’s how you can light up your life:

Wear Your Brights

Choose gear that screams to be seen, whether it’s your jersey, jacket, or pants. Bright yellow, fluorescent green, bright pink -- rocking these colors may not win you fashion points, but may save your life.

Reflect Your Intent

Add reflective tape to your bike, helmet, and clothing. Shine like you mean it—because your life depends on it.

Flash Your Path

Equip your ride with flashing front and rear lights. Make sure they know you’re there and where you’re headed.

Riding Right - The Road is a Stage, Not a Battlefield

This road we share is a stage for stories, not a battlefield for supremacy. Here’s how to write a story that ends with you rolling into your driveway, safe and sound:

Always Obey the Beat of the Traffic

You’re part of the rhythm of the road. Stick to bike lanes, signal your intentions, and respect the reds and stops.

Lock Eyes, Not Wheels

Make eye contact with drivers. Let them see your humanity, not just your helmet.

Steer Clear of the Shadows

Stay out of blind spots. If you can’t see a driver’s eyes, they probably can’t see you.

Predict Your Plot

Signal clearly and early. Make your next move obvious—surprises are for birthdays, not for bicyclists traveling with cars and trucks.

Claim Your Chapter

Sometimes, the safest place to ride is right in the center of the lane. Own it if you need it.

Love Your Ride: A Well-Tuned Bike is a Safe Bike

Treat your bike like it’s part of your family. Keep it in tune, and it will look out for you.

  • Brakes: They’re your best friends. Keep them tight and responsive.
  • Tires: Keep them full and firm. They’re the only thing between you and the road.
  • Lights and Reflectors: Keep them clean and bright. They’re your voice in the darkness.

Protect Your Brain

No matter what you do, always wear a good helmet that fits just right. Make sure you buy the highest quality helmet you can possibly buy. Do your homework by researching the Virginia Tech Star rating system.

You only get one brain.

In Closing: A Shared Journey

Riding a bike isn't just about moving from point A to B; it's about feeling the wind, owning your journey, and being present in every moment. But it’s also about coming home. Every pedal you push is a promise to someone waiting for you, expecting you back as you left, whole and happy.

Let's respect each other on the road. Let's make every journey safe, and let every story have a happy ending. Because on these roads we share, every turn you take is a choice—and I hope you choose safety, choose respect, choose life.

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