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Every day in the United States one child dies and 50 others suffer permanent brain damage from bicycle accidents. A head injury means a child who is completely healthy one minute can be completely different the next. A head injury also means a parent can wind up spending the rest of their life taking care of that child; the child may no longer be able to walk, or talk, or take care of themselves.
A properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk by as much as 85%. Helmets are inexpensive and should be worn by all bicycle riders, skateboarders and rollerbladers. Current New Jersey law requires that anyone under the age of 14 must wear a helmet when rollerblading, roller skating, skateboarding and/or riding a bicycle.
NJ 39:4-10.1 requires that no one under the age of 14 shall operate or ride upon a bicycle as a passenger in any public area unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened helmet which meets the standards of ANSI or Snell. This also applies to any passenger who rides in a restraining seat attached to the bicycle or in a trailer towed by the bicycle. 39:4-10.2 holds the parent or legal guardian responsible for ensuring that helmets are worn.
A warning system has been instituted for those who fail to comply with the law. Any children under the age of 14 found to be riding without a helmet will be issued a written warning advising them of the law and possible penalties for failure to obey the law. A copy will be retained by the police for follow up contact with the parent. Subsequent violations may subject the parent and child to a court appearance where they will have to speak to the judge about the failure to comply with the law. Fines may range from $25 to $100 dollars.
Bicycle safety is not just about wearing a helmet. It's about wearing it properly and following safety rules and using good common sense. Make sure that all equipment is in good working order. Pay attention to your surroundings. Ride on the right side of the roadway. If you must ride after dark, wear light and reflective clothing.
Amendment May 1998: As of May 1998, the helmet law has been amended: anyone under the age of 14 must wear a helmet when roller blading, roller skating, skateboarding and or riding a bicycle. 39:4-10.5b
These laws are strictly enforced within the Township of Old Bridge.