Police Seek Parental Assistance with Operation of Bicycles, Scooters and Low Speed Electric Bicycle
Fairfield (NJ) The Fairfield Police Department has received an increased number of complaints regarding juveniles operating manual and low speed electric bicycles and manual and low speed electric scooters throughout the township in what is a dangerous and concerning manner. This includes operating these means of conveyance without wearing helmets, operating with passengers on board, riding on sidewalks and at the recreation complex in places not meant for them to ride like the turf field and tennis courts, and simply not being courteous to pedestrians and operators of other vehicles.
As recently as April 4, 2023, on Hollywood Avenue near Francavilla Drive, a pedestrian who was properly on the sidewalk, was knocked to the ground by an electricscooter, causing injuries that required a trip to the hospital. This condition and disregard of the law can no longer be allowed to continue.
The police department is seeking the assistance and cooperation of all parents and juveniles as it relates to correcting this critical condition before someone gets seriously injured and before we have to take any enforcement action. New Jersey motor vehicle law clearly states that operators of low speed electric bicycles, scooters and low-speed electric scooters must follow all laws applicable to bicycles (reference Title 39:4-14.16.g). This means riders must:
• Wear a helmet if 16 years of age or younger
• Operate on the street, NOT on sidewalks
• Operate the means of conveyance in the same direction as the flow of traffic
• Operate as close as possible to the right side of the roadway (not in the middle of the road or lane of travel)
• Passengers are prohibited
• Remember – all traffic laws governing moving violations and the right-of-way apply to bicycles, scooters and low-speed bicycles and electric scooters
To help ensure the safety of everyone enjoying our streets and sidewalks, here’s a friendly reminder regarding pedestrian traffic:
• Pedestrians must use sidewalks when available. It shall be unlawful for pedestrians to walk in the roadway if a sidewalk is available.
• Where no sidewalk is available, pedestrians must walk opposite the flow of traffic on the extreme left side of the roadway when practicable.
Starting this week and continuing into the summer months, officers have been instructed to stop juveniles found in violation of the provisions of these motor vehicle laws and to either contact the juveniles’ parents and request they respond to the scene to correct the action and/or they will drive the offending juveniles to their homes in order to correct the action. Warnings will be initially issued, however, repeat offenders may receive a summons.
“I am sure every parent is equally concerned about this dangerous situation, and I am really counting on their help to correct it before something tragic happens.” Said Chief Anthony G. Manna. “Our children need to understand the importance of operating these means of conveyance in a responsible and safe manner and in accordance with the law,” said the chief.
In further research, it has been determined that electric scooters are deemed as “low-speed electric scooters,” and may be ridden on the sidewalk, along with bicycles. The Fairfield Police Department strongly discourages this due to the fact that pedestrian accidents can occur.
A plan is in place that the Fairfield Police intend to recommend the implementation of local ordinances which in turn will disallow both from being ridden on the sidewalks, creating a safer environment for pedestrians. All traffic laws still must be followed when riding or biking on the roadway.
Authorized by: Chief Anthony Manna