🔵 The important bike safety tips people of all ages need to follow in New Jersey

🔵 Careless bike riding, riders disregarding helmets, vehicle traffic a big problem

🔵 There needs to be ways to find common ground and share NJ roads

Whether it's doing tricks or stunts on a bike, riding without a helmet, or riding a bike while texting with no hands on the grips, many youngsters are taking inherent risks out there.

It's scary to think about let alone continue to see so many kids, teenagers, and even adults not following the most basic bike safety measures here in New Jersey.

The rising concern is leading to a call for action.

One of the key safety measures many may not be taking is wearing a bike helmet.

Paul Mickiewicz, program director for New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, feels there are a few reasons kids and teens don't wear helmets including that it's not 'cool'.

"Essentially, there's a lot of people - especially kids - they don't want to follow the rules, they don't want to do what they're told, it's uncomfortable to wear a helmet so they don't wear a helmet and it is concerning," Mickiewicz tells Townsquare Media News.

(Bud McCormick)
(Bud McCormick)

When it comes to doing wheelies or other tricks on your bike, Harvey Cedars Police Chief Robert Burnaford explains that it's best to do those at a safe location and not on the road.

"If you're one that thinks that you can do these different tricks and what not, there's a time and a place for everything," Burnaford said recently on Shore Time with Vin and Dave on 94.3 The Point. "Perhaps, if your community has a skate park or some venue where you can perform those acts, then that's great, that's probably where you can do that."

Mickiewicz explains that a lot of kids don't have the bike skills and experience riding to be able to handle various stunts.

"Those that do are risky, they take a lot of chances just like skateboarding - it's a good idea to wear a helmet, because, if you're going to hit your head, you're going to be much more protected," Mickiewicz said.

Bike at Spring Lake Beach
Bike at Spring Lake Beach (Bud McCormick)

Chief Burnaford explains that it's not just bike riders who need to be aware of their surroundings and what they're doing but vehicles as well.

"It's kind of a two-way street where, yes, the driver of the vehicle has to be alert but also same thing goes with the pedestrian and the bicyclist," Burnaford said. "You just have to know your surroundings, know where you should be acting and performing stunts and riding in different ways or just ride in an exercise format."

Are there kids and teenagers, even adults not wearing a helmet while riding their bike in your neighborhood or town?

Some of the reasons many have for not doing so relate to optics, comfort level, or ego.

"It might be uncomfortable, it might mess up their hair - particularly for women, that's a big thing - maybe it doesn't look cool because the other cool kids aren't wearing a helmet," Mickiewicz said.

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He explains though that whether it's on a bike or a skateboard, there are a good number of responsible youngsters who do wear a helmet when they're doing tricks or stunts, "because they know they're taking risks."

While motor vehicles and drivers need to be aware and mindful of people riding their bikes this summer, the riders themselves play the most critical role in staying safe.

Mickiewicz explains that riders being smart and behaving appropriately are the biggest concerns right now.

"When we're talking about the safety of riders, we can hurt ourselves by going down," Mickiewicz said. "In fact, most bicycle crashes are cyclists going down on their own - it's their own fault, they hit a slippery patch, they're going too fast around the corner, whatever it is, most crashes are solo crashes going down on their own."

Two unlocked pick beach cruisers at the beach

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He adds that those types of incidents outnumber ones involving motor vehicles.

"There's a very small percentage that are actually crashes with motor vehicles - those are the crashes where people could die and those are the ones that we're most concerned about," Mickiewicz said.

There are police departments across the Jersey Shore including Harvey Cedars and Toms River who are driving up to kids with helmets on this summer and giving them a gift certificate for a free ice cream treat to reward them for making the safe decision to wear a helmet.

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