More on Safety

Jul 03, 2019

To the Editor:

In response to “Obey the Laws and Stay Safe This Summer” (6/26), by David Biggy, we all need to be aware and follow the rules to stay safe this summer, and always. However, there are some inaccuracies in this article.

Mr. Biggy says that crossing Long Beach Boulevard outside of a designated crosswalk is illegal. Likewise, he says that not wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle is a “law-breaking maneuver.” He is not accurate on either count.

First, regarding crossing only at designated crosswalks: New Jersey law states that there are crosswalks at every intersection, whether marked or unmarked (NJ R.S. 39:1). What do the rules about crosswalks say? State law separates controlled and uncontrolled intersections.

For pedestrians: If there’s a traffic signal or officer, obey the signal or officer (NJ R.S. 39:4-32). And if it’s controlled, you must use the crosswalk (NJ R.S. 39:4-33). So if there’s a traffic signal or an officer there, it’s easy. Follow the signal or officer. How about when neither is present? At uncontrolled intersections, pedestrians should use the crosswalk or cross at right angles to the roadway (NJ R.S. 39:4-34).

For motorists: Drivers “shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing ... within any unmarked crosswalk” and “shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross ... within a marked crosswalk” (NJ R.S. 39:4-36).

Mr. Biggy says, “If there is no crosswalk, a pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to vehicles.” The laws quoted above show that statement is not accurate. His statement is only true if a pedestrian wants to cross in the middle of a block (NJ R.S. 39:4-36).

On to helmets for bicyclists: New Jersey law (NJ R.S. 39:4-10.1) states “a person under 17 years of age (must wear) a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.” Am I safer wearing a helmet? Yes, I can say that I am – I’ve been through a couple of crashes that would have caused significant trauma had I not been wearing a helmet. But it’s not illegal for me (I’m well over 17 years of age!) to ride without a helmet.

Officers Tretola and Keller put it well. Be aware of what’s going on around you at all times. And follow the law. But please, Mr. Biggy, make sure to report the laws accurately.

Les Leathem

Surf City


Comments (1)
Posted by: Jean D Ragone | Jul 04, 2019 11:17

Les’ post is correct.  Many townships will gladly provide people with a copy of the laws as they pertain to pedestrians and bicyclists.  Even though a number of the townships have the electronic displays urging bicyclists and pedestrians to obey the laws, far too many do not. Unfortunately, because we rely so heavily on tourism, I am afraid the the officers are not enforcing those laws. I have watched cyclists blow through red lights, pedestrians walking/jogging with traffic, etc. as officers are nearby.  Drivers also seem to be unaware of the laws but at least the PDs are ticketing them.

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