Can I Ride my Bike on the Freeway in New Jersey?

The popularity of cycling is increasing in many cities across the country including many cities in New Jersey. One question many cyclists have is whether riding on the freeway is allowed? The answer is mostly no, but there are exceptions.

New Jersey law gives cyclists access to all the roads and highways that cars are allowed to travel. This states that a cyclist has all the rights and responsibilities that the driver of a motor vehicle has in Jersey (NJS 39:4-14.1).

This means a bike can ride in the traffic lanes with other vehicles; however, another New Jersey law says that if the cyclist can’t keep up with the flow of traffic, then it must move to the right side of the right-hand lane or ride in a bike lane if it exists.

At first blush, it looks like a cyclist can ride on any road in the state, however, the law also gives the state Department of Transportation the right to restrict certain non-motorized vehicles from riding on freeway and highways.

Highway and Freeway Riding

According to the NJ DOT website, the following highways and freeway are off-limits to bicycles:

NJ Bike Laws Freeway Restrictions

Why Allow Riding on any Freeway?

It may seem odd to some that riding a bicycle on any freeway or divided highway is allowed at all. The cars are moving fast and there is no real place for cyclists to ride. However, since many people use their bicycles to commute and as their sole mode of transportation, then they need to be allowed to access some places that would be difficult to get to without allowing freeway riding. Most of the highways where riding is prohibited are divided by a median or even a concrete wall, and the speed limits are typically higher.