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Summit discusses bicycle safety, Bergen County riders speak out

A safety summit was held this past weekend on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 in New Jersey and the topic was bicycle and pedestrian safety. Those in attendance included legislators, transportation planners, biking advocates and others who wanted their voice heard. Much of the discussion at the New Jersey Bike and Walk Summit focused on ways to make the streets friendlier to bikers and pedestrians.

When it comes to bicycle accidents or pedestrian accidents involving a vehicle, there is no doubt who is more at risk for injury. That is why bike advocates are not opposed to making roads safer for both, but some bikers, many from Bergen County, say that some of the restrictions leave them stranded. Specifically, many oppose the prohibition that bans them from getting on trains at all platform locations.

The current policy instituted by New Jersey Transit and the New Jersey Department of Transportation allows bike riders to carry their bikes onto trains at stations that have high-level platforms. When there is a low-level or ground-level platform they are prohibited from doing so.

There are currently 96 stations across the state that are considered low-level or ground-level and only 60 stations with high-level platforms. The main argument against amending the policy was that carrying bikes at head level posed a risk to other pedestrians.

But what about the risks involved with leaving the cyclist stranded? Being forced to ride to a location that allows the cyclist to bring their bike on the platform subjects them to injury risk. Many areas in New Jersey are not necessarily bike friendly, which is why another topic at the summit focused on proposed traffic legislation. The proposed legislation would force motorists to leave at least three feet between the vehicle and a bike.

Source: philly.com, "NJ Transit bike policy riles cyclists," Karen Rouse, Feb. 27, 2012

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