A Misdirected Public Service Announcement In Asbury Park

This PSA below was sent out by the city of Asbury Park, and it needs to be revised.


This PSA  focuses on responsibility of bike and scooter riders with 8 “rules” at the top of the message, implying that behavior of people using micro mobility are the most serious concern to public safety.

Only 3 short, vague lines are aimed at drivers at the end of the PSA.
The message to drivers looks like an afterthought, and almost appears that it was designed by the auto industry.
Words matter – the industry strives to shift the responsibility off drivers, and place the onus on other road users.
PSAs are a LAZY way of checking a box. 
We can do better with messaging in Asbury Park. 
We all know that DRIVERS are the greatest danger in any city to everyone: themselves, and especially anyone outside of a car..
If there are PSAs about safety in AP they should be directed to drivers FIRST with the most emphasis – and ideally there should be separate PSAs aimed exclusively at drivers.
Drivers and bike riders alike erroneously believe that bike riding in painted bike lanes is safer, or a “rule” as indicated in the graphic. It’s NOT a rule, nor is it safer.
Telling bike riders to use bike lanes is misinformation, and inconsistent with the  “Bicyclists May Use Full Lane” signs that are finally going up in AP. (Thank you- we need them everywhere in the city!)
Almost every bike lane in the city is in the “door zone”. Painted bike lanes make the road seem a bit narrower to drivers, possibly slowing them down. Painted lines indicate to drivers that bike riders may be present. But they are not effective safety infrastructure for bike riders. Driver doors open into the lane, causing people to hae to swerve into traffic or get hit by the door.
NJ law states that bike riding on the roadway, “take the lane” is legal.
Please keep the message consistent. The city is posting Bicyclists May Use Full Lane sings, so don’t tell bike riders that it’s a “rule” to use the bike lane.
Tell drivers that they should be looking out for people on bikes and scooters , and walkers too!
It’s ESSENTIAL that driver behavior is the FIRST concern in any messaging about a  “Safer Asbury Park.” 
We all know that drivers are a huge problem in the city, and they’re getting worse, yet this graphic message indicates that bike and scooter riders are the menace.
Every day we are all at risk of serious injury or death by inattentive or aggressive drivers while walking or biking, and driving too. It is me, you, and ALL of us who could be victims of dangerous drivers.
Signs and PSAs are minimally helpful, but language and perception matter.
The PSA graphic references 4′ passing at the bottom of the message. Instead, it needs to make specific reference to the NJ 4′ Safe Passing Lawand should be at the top.
It is the LAW that drivers must maintain low speed behind people on bikes and scooters until they can pass with 4′ of clearance.
The two gigantic digital signs on Ocean Ave. restrictions for tents, dogs, and bikes should be used to deter speeding and dangerous driving on thoroughfares in the city.
What are Asbury Park’s priorities … really?
Traffic volume has increased in the city, and it will continue as more residential properties are developed and venues and events are on the calendar. 
It’s critically important that the city redesigns streets to make it less likely that drivers will behave badly.
Physical implementation of traffic calming measures like curb extensions, mini roundabouts, raised crosswalks, physically (not just painted) protected bike infrastructure are methods that are proven to mitigate bad driver behavior and save lives.
Until AP implements bold changes to the built environment, and offers more alternatives to driving like 24/7 transit VIA in Jersey City, and bike share, it must be the priority to focus messaging to drivers to make streets safer for vulnerable road users.
We are ALL are vulnerable – you, me, our neighbors, our children, and grandchildren any time we are outside of a car. 
Asbury Park must stop demonizing people riding 2 wheels with stupid “bicle riding prohibited” signs. How about NO Driving signs?
Bike lane ends?
How about Roadway Ends?
If there’s a sign we need everywhere (we  have too many stupid signs)  it’s
Slow The F Down.
Get involved. Share your email.
We have work to do to make this clty safer, provide equitable mobility and access for everyone, to make it a truly livable city for everyone. 



Polli Schildge, Editor



A Public Service Announcement: Signs – What They Mean For People Driving And On Bikes

Summer doesn’t end until September 21st, but in past Septembers the Shore towns became quiet after Labor Day Weekend. This year has been different in so many ways, in addition that visitors may be staying in towns along the Jersey Shore through the end of the month, and perhaps even longer because work and school may have been halted, delayed, or virtual.

There will be a continued, somewhat reduced volume of automobiles on the roads during Covid, but since March, even though there have been fewer vehicles miles traveled (VMT), there have been MORE fatal traffic collisions. These crashes are mostly due to excessive speeding, and partly a result of more open-feeling roads where drivers feel more entitled to run stop signs, cruise though right turns at traffic signals, and behave more aggressively toward other road users, specifically people riding bikes.

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition strives to educate drivers and people riding bikes to ensure that we can all stay safe.  While Asbury Park is gradually implementing infrastructure to #slowthecars and make it safer for people who ride bikes, there is a lot of misunderstanding about how bicycle riders may use the roadway, where, and how.

In every jurisdiction in NJ bike riders may “use the full lane”, meaning that people on bikes have the rights and privileges of people driving. If a bike rider is causing a significant slowing of the flow of traffic, the bike rider should move to the right if practicable, and people on bikes are NOT required to give way to drivers.

Asbury Park is implementing bike lanes which so far are mostly painted outside of parked cars next to moving traffic.  These lanes are useful for indicating that bike riders may be present, and they serve as traffic calming to #slowthecsars, but paint doesn’t protect.  The vast amount of asphalt is still devoted to motor vehicles, leaving a narrow slice of roadway where driver side doors may swing open (the “dooring zone”), causing bicyclists serious injury or death.  In places where there are no bike lanes at all, there may be grates, or debris in the shoulder, so people on bikes should ride on the roadway, ride predictably, and NOT hug the curb. Use bright bike lights, especially on the back, even during the day.

Bike lane in the “dooring zone”.


Finally, on signage:

In many cities like AP, where the jurisdiction or DOT has built infrastructure and put up signage for bicycling, there’s the ubiquitous yellow “Share The Road” sign, which is intended to mean that drivers should defer to people on bikes, but it’s often read the opposite way, that people on bikes should share the road with drivers. Even more problematic, are signs in Asbury Park that state “Bike Lane Ahead” or “Bike Lane Ends”.  Drivers may easily misconstrue these signs to mean that people on bikes are only permitted in these areas on the bike lanes, and not to ride on the roadway, and that they must somehow vaporize when the bike lane disappears.


No more Share The Road signs.

BEST sign!

Misleading sign indicating that bike riders are only permitted here.

Misleading signage indicating that bike riders are not permitted beyond this point.

Let’s urge city leaders to address the need for more, and better infrastructure for people riding bikes. Help APCSC educate about bike riding. And meanwhile let’s get on our bikes and ride! There will be more driver awareness when there are more people riding bikes.














Bicyclists May Use Full Lane

A clear explanation of “Bicyclists May Use Full Lane”. Can drivers be educated?

On a personal level, as a recreational and commuting road cyclist, my life is endangered numerous times every time I ride by motorists who assert what they think is their “right” to the road. Sometimes it’s outright aggressive behavior, and sometimes it’s in the form of inattentive entitlement, like rolling though stop signs and turning right on red without a pause. Drivers yell that I should get off the road, even though I have made eye contact and acknowledged drivers near me, and I’m riding in a courteous and careful manner. The reaction by many bicyclists is to move as far to the right as possible to allow drivers to pass.  But hugging the line or riding in the shoulder (gutter) only reinforces the belief of any drivers passing people on bikes that they inherently deserve the entire lane, and puts bicyclists in danger of having to swerve around debris, and potentially ending up in the path of a vehicle.  Can drivers be educated in this car-centric culture?

Bicyclists May Use Full Lane

Carlton ReidOct 12, 2018

“The simple answer to why cyclists ride in the middle of “traffic lanes” is because they are allowed and advised to take such actions.”


Some motorists think roads were built for cars, and that people on bicycles are interlopers. Historically and legally, this is not the case: most global jurisdictions enshrine the right of bicyclists to enjoy the public highway – that is, to enjoy it in law if not always in reality. International traffic treaties also guarantee this basic right. Some bicycle advocates like to remind motorists that they and their motor vehicles are allowed on the road only under license while cyclists are allowed on the road by right.

As evidenced by the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, U.S. bicyclists “may use [the] full lane,” but this doesn’t stop some motorists shouting that cyclists do not belong on roads.

Read more…