Biking Taking Center Stage in Hoboken

Sep 30, 2015 12:00 AM

Biking has always been a part of Hoboken. Long before they bothered setting up dedicated bike lanes on the city’s streets, people have been cycling around the city, taking advantage of the same self-contained nature of the town that makes it one of the most walkable cities in the world. The fact is, whatever you need to get and wherever you need to go in Hoboken, you can easily bike there. Plus, it’s now possible to bike safely along the waterfront and all the way into Jersey City, making it a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the warmer weather.

Biking is being transformed in Hoboken right now by two separate-but-related efforts. On the one hand, the Hoboken Police have started enforcing a lot of the laws and regulations that have always governed biking in the city, but which most people were ignorant of or simply ignored. On the other, bike sharing is coming soon.

The Law of the Lane

Hoboken Police officially launched a “education and enforcement” initiative about biking earlier this year. The initiative focused on delivery people from the local restaurants just as much as residents, and includes stopping people who are in violation of the laws and explaining why. Those laws include a requirement that bicyclists obey all laws that drivers have to follow on the roads, yielding to pedestrians on the sidewalks, and the mandatory wearing of helmets until age 18. Most people will only get a lecture from the cops for breaking rules, with the police going the enforcement route only with “reckless” offenders who put others in danger.

At the same time, the police and the parking authority have also stepped up their efforts to protect the rights of cyclists, including ensuring that bike lanes aren’t blocked by double-parked cars or cars sticking out of driveways.

Bike Share is Go

And that’s good, because after a disastrous start the Hoboken Bike Share program, operated in conjunction with Weehawken and managed via a partnership between Bike and Roll, P3GM, Next Bike, and e3think, is about to roll out. Initially this program was to be a three-way partnership between Weehawken, Jersey City, and Hoboken, but Jersey City decided they’d rather partner with new York’s Citi Bike program, which threw plans into disarray last year.

But after a successful pilot program earlier this year, Hoboken’s bike sharing will kick off within the next few weeks with 250 bikes at 29 stations. It’ll cost $95 a year for a membership (compared to $149 in Jersey City), and the system doesn’t use docks like Citi Bike. Instead, special locks that can be unlocked via an App will allow the bikes to be chained up anywhere.

The system also offers regional “no-fee zones” which will allow users to leave bikes outside of Hoboken at seven hubs in Weehawken and Jersey City.

So, will you be sharing bikes when they hit the streets?

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