• A Guide to Riding a Bike in Hoboken + Jersey City

    Written by:

    Bike riding in Hudson County — to some, it’s the usual, to some it’s a totally foreign concept. To others a routine {perhaps daily} occurrence. But like it or not, it’s becoming a bigger part of the community, especially Hoboken, as the population becomes denser and more and more traffic ensues. We’re breaking down biking in Hoboken + Jersey City {and to be clear — editor’s note: I’m actually on the fence; I never was a fan of biking in the city as it scares me and drive most places, but then I decided to give it a shot and am sharing the details + pros and cons. And please note: I still love driving my car and do it on the regular so this post is not a “you should bike in Hoboken or else” post, but is merely serving to give you more information about biking in general, so please read it with that in mind}. So without further ado, here’s your guide to riding a bike in Hoboken + Jersey City:

    First, The Accolades:

    The City of Hoboken is recognized as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Cyclists, making Hoboken the only municipality in New Jersey with the distinction of being recognized as both bike-friendly and walk-friendly. Granted, it has some room for improvement, but that’s a pretty decent accolade.

    Jersey City does not have the same awards, but we’ll allow it. To be fair, Hoboken is 1-mile square, and Jersey City is HUGE.

    Pros of Cycling:

    Bicycling is green.

    Bicycling is way easier than driving {aka you can actually find a spot}.

    Bicycling is super convenient, especially if you take part in the Jersey Bike Share — the Hoboken bike rental service. In Jersey City, they have CitiBike, which is a similar program {also found in NYC}.

    Biking is faster than walking and good exercise — you may get sweaty {also see cons}.

    Biking is a fun and relaxing way to experience the waterfront.

    Cons of Bicycling:

    Bicycling is not fun in bad weather.

    You will most likely sweat on a bike ride — not ideal if you’re on your way to work.

    You can’t take a ton of packages or bags on your bike.

    Bicycling can be dangerous {let’s face it – no matter how safely you ride, cars are bigger and metal machines that can run you over}.

    Helmets are not cute.

    Biking is not as fast as driving or a cab {usually – but in traffic, not the case!}.

    Bike Facts and Timeline

    According to the City of Hoboken’s website, since 2009, bicycle parking capacity has increased by more than 50% and now exceeds 1,000 bikes. Bike parking near the PATH has more than doubled during that time.

    In December 2011, the City of Hoboken installed its first self-service bike repair station, becoming one of the first municipalities on the east coast with a public bike repair facility. The bike repair service station behind the Bus Terminal adjacent to the PATH has a stand to hold a bike, a hand-operated air pump, and basic tools including wrenches, screwdrivers, and tire lever for minor repairs.

    In 2009, Hoboken began to expand its bicycle lane network by designating and striping streets as Class II {five foot wide striped lanes} and Class III “sharrows” {sharing arrows} bike lanes. Sharrows are used on streets that are too narrow to accommodate a striped bike lane and they communicate to drivers and bicyclists that a street is meant to be shared by both groups. As bicycling increases in Hoboken, drivers will continue to become more familiar with bikes sharing the streets, and these markings act as a way to remind drivers to expect to see bicyclists.

    In 2011, Hoboken passed an ordinance designating an additional 10 miles of streets with striped Class II bike lanes. Striping for these lanes began in Spring, 2012.

    Class II bike lanes on one-way streets with parking on both sides are typically located on the left side of the street because when an exclusive lane is designated for bicycles on one-way streets, studies from other cities have shown that bicyclists are 66% less likely to be hit by a parked car’s door opening if that lane is on the passenger side of the car, rather than the driver’s side. Placing the lane on the left also minimizes conflicts with buses and shuttles that pick up and drop off passengers on the right-hand side of the street.

    See More: A DIY North Hudson County Waterfront Walkway {or Bike} Tour

    In addition, a Class I fully-separated off-street bike lane exists parallel to Sinatra Drive between Newark Street and 4th Street.

    Bike Laws + How to Not Bike Like a Jerk

    There are so many cars on the road that combining bikes can be a daunting task.

    We broke down the rules of biking so that you can get the gist without all the jargon:

    1. You must obey official traffic signals and anything that applies to vehicles unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
    2. If you’re riding a bike, you must follow turn signals and signs. If you’re walking your bike, you follow pedestrian rules.
    3. Always follow vehicle traffic on the SAME side of the roadway.
    4. You *MUST* stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
    5. Stay on the right-hand side of the road, unless there’s a bike lane and it’s a one-way {where there are painted signs to show your bike route}.
    6. On a bicycle lane, you must ride within the bike lane at all times UNLESS you are passing a bike, vehicle, or pedestrian and need to go out of the lane, turning to another street, or avoiding debris/hazardous conditions.
    7. Your bike should only have one person on it at a time {unless there are two seats or a designated spot for a passenger aka children’s attachment}
    8. You must go at or under vehicle speed limit {has to be reasonable under conditions}.
    9. In Hoboken, you are allowed to ride your bike on the sidewalk…but you must stay at a speed no greater than the walking speed of pedestrians.
      1. You must also yield to pedestrians and give signals to pass them safely. Keep as close to the curb as possible to avoid pedestrians.
    10. If you are carrying things while riding your bike, you must keep at least one hand on handlebars at all times.
    11. Bicycles in use at nighttime need a lamp on the front with a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear, visible from 50 feet to 300 feet to the rear. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
    12. Bikes should not be equipped with a whistle or siren.
    13. Bikes must have brakes that work on all forms of pavement.
    14. Bikes should have a bell to help with signaling and passing pedestrians or other bikes.
    15. Ride nicely and act like a good driver. Ride in a straight line, obey traffic signs and signals and don’t weave in and out of traffic.
    16. Look, signal, and look again before changing lanes or making a turn.

    In summary, cyclists must:

    • Ride in the direction of traffic, not against it.
    • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
    • Stop at stop signs and red lights.
    • Use marked bike lanes if riding under the speed limit
    • Yield to pedestrians and ride no faster than pedestrian walking speed while riding on sidewalks.
    • Use safety and visibility equipment: front white light, red rear reflector, and bell.
    • Wear a helmet if under 17 years old.

    How to Not *Drive* Like a Jerk Around Bicycles

    1. Don’t park in a bike lane. Or double park. Or triple park. {We’ve seen it all.} Blocking the bike lane isn’t cool.
    2. Do yield to bikes as much as you can – and give riders as much space as possible. It’s pretty nerve-wracking to be driving right next to a car, regardless.
    3. Don’t drive in a bike lane – unless you’re trying to park.
    4. Know that *most* cyclists want to stay out of your way, they’re trying to move fast and let you by, but be patient with them.
    5. Beeping isn’t nice unless the cyclist is weaving or appears to not know you’re there.

    See More: Hoboken Fitness in the Park 2018: Schedule of FREE Workout Classes Released!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I ride my bike on the sidewalk?

    In Hoboken, you may ride your bike on the sidewalk, but you must ride slowly — no faster than pedestrian walking speed — and you must always yield to pedestrians. Keep in mind that sidewalks are primarily intended for walking, and unsafe riding on sidewalks can lead to crashes.

    Should bikes ride with or against traffic?

    You must ride in the same direction as cars. A bicyclist has the same rights and duties as motorists, including stopping at red lights and stop signs.

    Where should I ride if there is no shoulder or bike lane and the travel lane is too narrow to share?

    Many streets in Hoboken, especially many of the numbered streets, are very narrow and may not provide enough space for a motor vehicle to safely pass a bicycle. On these narrower lanes, a bicyclist might actually “take the lane”, i.e., position themselves at or near the center of the lane. In this way, motorists will see you and not be invited to unsafely squeeze by in the same lane.

    Designated Roads for Bikers in Hoboken + Jersey City

    While most of Hoboken + some of Jersey City are marked for biking routes, some are more popular and used than others.

    In Jersey City, you can find a map of various biking routes here.

    In Hoboken, Observer Highway and Maxwell Lane have bike lanes that are green and very well-marked. The waterfront stretch from Pier A to uptown also has marked bike lanes that are designated for riders. Here’s a map of various biking routes.

    The waterfront is a wonderful place to ride a bike in both cities. The only issue is you must make a choice if you’re renting a bike — CitiBike or Hudson County Bike Share? Regardless, here is a 14-mile loop created by the State of NJ that shares how to do a waterfront biking tour.

    Where to Buy a Bike

    Flo on Wheels – 1222 Washington Street, Hoboken

    Grove Street Bicycles – 172 Christopher Columbus Drive, Jersey City

    Jersey Cycles – 510 Central Avenue, Jersey City

    Where to Buy a Cute Helmet

     

    Let’s face it: Most helmets aren’t cute, but Bike Pretty has a list of a few that are tolerable.

    Bikes for Rent

    This post is not sponsored whatsoever, we’re just sharing with our readers some of the biking tidbits that will make city living more convenient and eco-friendly, and therefore sharing about bike rentals. Unfortunately for us, Hoboken + Jersey City have two different bike rentals companies, making it a bit complicated to cross city lines. Nevertheless, here’s the deal on rentals:

    hudson bike share hoboken

    Jersey Bike Share {Hoboken + Weehawken}

    Jersey Bike Share continues to grow not only on the map but in rides and membership as well. Since its inception in October 2015, Jersey Bike Share has provided over 375,000 rides in Hudson County. The majority of bikes are in Hoboken, but they have 5 other cities around the area.

    Pay as you go: $2 plus tax {30 mins of riding, every additional 30 minutes is $3}

    Monthly membership: $12.95 plus tax {unlimited 45-minute trips, every additional 30 minutes is $3, 3 months minimum commitment}

    Annual membership: $95 plus tax {unlimited 45-minute trips, every additional 30 minutes is $3}

    Convenience:  In October 2017, they added 260 new bikes and 35 new stations throughout Guttenberg, North Bergen, Weehawken, Bayonne and West New York. The program is growing from its initial 250 bikes and 29 stations at launch to 560 bikes and over 65 stations across six cities {unfortunately for now *NOT* including Jersey City}.

    As of May 1st, Liberty State Park will have two virtual stations—one on the north side of the park (Central Railroad of New Jersey—1 Audrey Zapp Drive) and one on the south side of the park (Flag Plaza—200 Morris Pesin Drive). Bikes will be available to rent and return during park hours, 6AM – 10PM.

    Plus: They’ll be giving a free code to all Hoboken Wellness Crawl participants — find out more here.

    Citi Bike {Jersey City}

    Day pass: $12 {unlimited 30-minute rides in a 24-hour period}

    3-Day Pass:  $24 {unlimited 30-minute rides in a 72-hour period}

    Annual Membership: $169 a year {unlimited 45-minute rides}

    Convenience: There are 50 stations in Jersey City, and since it’s also used in NYC, you get to use NYC bikes as well under your membership.

    Back in February 2018, Jersey Bike Share and CitiBike in conjunction with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla started discussions regarding the expansion of Jersey Bike Share into Jersey City and CitiBike into Hoboken. The potential expansion may include the addition of three stations in each city. Members of the public are invited to complete an online survey to provide input on possible locations for new bike share stations.

    “As neighbors with shared borders, we want to provide our residents and visitors with more choices and access to the benefits of both programs,” said Mayor Fulop.

    “Expanding our bike share programs will create important links between Hoboken and Jersey City and improve the resiliency of our regional transportation system,” said Mayor Bhalla.

    Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.

    However you feel about biking around Hoboken + Jersey City, we hope this article was informative and useful for you to consider biking as an alternative to driving from time to time.

    Feel free to leave comments + tips if you have any for us!

    Have you joined our Facebook group yet? Request here to gain access to even more local tips, and connect with fellow Hudson County residents.


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.


    2 comments

    • If only people would abide by the “don’t park in the bike lane” because I don’t think I’ve been on ONE ride where I haven’t had to ride in the street to avoid double parked cars.

      Also, the repair station by the path is pretty run down— the air pump isn’t even there anymore so it’s kind of useless 🙁

      Reply

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