JSTS Advocacy Letter

Our Bike Advocacy Committee presented the plan and strategy to embark on a campaign to help make the roads a safer place for bicyclists. Developed under the auspices of the Bike Advocacy and Community Outreach Committee, the campaign will encourage town officials to generally promote bike safety and to especially post signs directing motorists to maintain a four-foot distance when passing cyclists and pedestrians as required under New Jersey's Safe Passing Law. The campaign will also seek to urge town governing bodies to pass a resolution requesting that the county do the same on its roadways, upon which we often ride.

In order for this campaign to be successful, the club needs your help. We the Board, are asking every member to sign and send a copy of this letter to your town's mayor and police chief. Here is a link to each town's website for addresses.

Highlight the body of the letter shown below, copy/paste it into your favorite document editor (MS Word, Google Docs, etc.), make the necessary customizations before sending it out.

Dear [Mayor or Police Chief]:

I am a resident of [xxxxxxx], and like many of our neighbors, enjoy riding a bicycle throughout our town and county. No doubt, with the warmer weather approaching, motorists will be sharing the local roads with many more adults and children who will be cycling, jogging and walking. And out of an abundance of caution, I am writing to you as a local resident and an active member of the Jersey Shore Touring Society (JSTS), one of the largest bike clubs in the state, to share some observations and thoughts on how we can make the roads safer for everyone – as well as to offer some assistance.

Unfortunately, as we all have observed, too many motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians do not know all the rules of the road or choose to ignore some of them. For example, two years after its implementation, many motorists are not aware of New Jersey’s Safe Passing Law, which requires them to change lanes or pass at least four feet away from bicyclists and pedestrians, and if not possible, to reduce their vehicle’s speed to 25 mph and be prepared to stop until they can pass non-motorists safely. In other cases, bicyclists ride on the wrong side of the road. [And especially during the warmer weather, large groups of teenagers frequently ride their bikes down the middle of the road in front of vehicular traffic.]*

Before someone else is injured or killed, my fellow cyclists and I urge you to take action. We suggest that that the town:

  • Installs road signs on town roads instructing motorists to move over 4 feet, where appropriate. Guidance for these and other bicycle safety signs can be found in the new version of the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways” from the Federal Highway Administration;
  • Passes an ordinance requesting that the county also installs these signs on its roadways;
  • Uses electronic signage around town to convey information about the Safe Passing Law;
  • Posts information on road user safety, including the Safe Passing Law, on municipal websites and convey such information to local residents through municipal newsletters and other existing communication channels. Links to videos from various road safety organizations such as EZ Ride on the safe passing law, riding too close to parked vehicles and other safety-related issues can be included; and
  • Considers the creation of a comprehensive safety action plan that identifies the most significant roadway safety concerns in our community, including bicyclist safety. The cost of developing and implementing this plan may be paid for through a U.S. Department of Transportation Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant. Monmouth County has been awarded a grant in partnership with Bradley Beach, Highlands and Holmdel.

JSTS would like to help the town educate residents on safe cycling. Among other things, our members, along with representatives from EZ Ride and local bike shops, can work with the town’s recreation department to help create and run an annual community bike ride. During this event, or existing community fairs and festivals, Night Out and other events, we can conduct free bicycle safety checks and provide safety-related information.

If you would like to discuss this issue, please feel free to contact me at [xxxxxx]. I appreciate your time, concern and understanding.



*Add this language only if appropriate for the member’s town. Or substitute another local-related bike safety concern.

Jersey Shore Touring Society is a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization.  P.O. Box 8581, Red Bank, NJ 07701

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