Jersey City currently boasts more miles of on-street bike lanes than any other city or town in New Jersey, and Bike JC had a lot to do with that.
Since our founding in 2009, we’ve advocated with city leaders for bike infrastructure, including bike lanes. Early attempts were met with skepticism, but in time our persistence earned us a seat on the city’s official committee to plan a bike system. Early and pilot efforts included lanes along Grove Street downtown and on Fulton Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue in Greenville, and “sharrows“ (painted symbols indicating that bikes and motor vehicles should share a lane) on other roads, with plans for more lanes and sharrows around the city.
In 2013, as the administration of incoming Mayor Steven Fulop rolled out several bike-related initiatives, city officials decided to focus first on installing a larger set of bike lanes, over 25 miles’ worth, on dozens of streets, and the City Council appropriated $551,000 to create them. In 2014 city contractors Statewide Striping of Parsippany laid down durable thermoplastic white striping to mark the lanes, and also put down solid green, specially textured lanes on parts of Christopher Columbus Drive and Montgomery Street as a pilot.
Bike JC’s current bike lane priorities are to get the existing lanes better marked with directional arrows and dotted-line connections through intersections; to add more lanes that will better link the existing ones in a coherent network; and to provide bike lanes in areas that currently have few of them.
But ultimately, we believe strongly that Jersey City also must do as our urban neighbors New York City and Newark have done, and as Hoboken is currently doing—create separated, protected bike lanes, removed from car traffic, as part of more thorough “Complete Streets” overhauls of our busiest, most dangerous streets.
Important Facts About Jersey City Bike Lanes
- You’re required by city law to ride in the bike lane on any street that has one, unless you’re biking as fast as the car traffic, in which case you may blend into line with the cars. (That can happen when you’re just a fast cyclist, or when you’re going downhill. It can also happen when car traffic is slowed by congestion—though at that point, riding in the bike lane is probably faster!)
- You’re also allowed to leave the bike lane temporarily when it’s blocked or made dangerous by intruding cars, big potholes, debris, or slower cyclists. Use the car lane to get around the obstruction, then return to the bike lane. Remember to use hand signals before making each of these movements, just as you would when changing lanes in a car.
- Unless you’re riding very slowly, it’s usually safest to ride toward the side of the bike lane that’s closest to the car travel lane, and farthest from any parked cars. That makes it easier to avoid getting “doored”—running into the doors of parked cars when occupants open them suddenly. Always scan the parked cars ahead of you, to spot opening car doors.