New Jersey law allows cyclists to ride their bikes in the lanes of traffic with other vehicles so long as they can keep up with traffic. If they can’t then they need to ride in a bike lane or on the right-hand side of the right traffic lane.
A bike has all the rights and duties as a motor vehicle for operation on the roads of New Jersey (NJS 39:4-14.1). This means a bike can ride in the traffic lanes with other vehicles, however, another statute 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.
Keep to the Right
NJS 39:4-14.2: Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; provided, however, that any person may move to the left under any of the following situations:
- to make a left turn from a left-turn lane or pocket;
- to avoid debris, drains or other hazardous conditions that make it impracticable to ride at the right side of the roadway;
- to pass a slower moving vehicle;
- to occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic;
- to travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded.
Exemption d above means that if a cyclist is unable to keep up with traffic, then he or she must move to the right or ride in a bike lane if one exists.
Motor Vehicle Driver Responsibilities
New Jersey Law does not directly address the right-of-way of a bicycle in a bike lane. However, since a bike has all the rights and responsibilities of a motorist, and a cyclist is allowed to ride in a bike lane or on the right side of the right-hand lane, then by implication, a motorist should be required to give a cyclist the right-of-way when occupying the bike lane or narrow strip of road.
Also, when a road is too narrow for a cyclist to ride safely on the right side of the right-hand lane, then the cyclist is allowed to ride in the traffic lane even if it can’t keep up with traffic, and the motorist is to yield to the cyclist.
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