Guide to Bicycling in Ocean City
Tips on where to rent and ride bikes and how to be safe while doing so.
Riding bikes is a big part of many families' Ocean City vacations. Whether you bring your own or rent bikes, here's a quick guide to help you enjoy the experience.
WHERE TO GET BIKES: Depending on whether you want to ride bikes on the Boardwalk or along the street, there are more than a dozen rental and sales stores located throughout Ocean City. Sunday apparently is the busiest day of the week for rentals. If you have your own bike and need a repair, many of these shops can help you.
HOW MUCH: Rental costs vary, of course, but a cruiser typically rents for about $8 for two hours, $17 per day or $45 for a week. Rentals usually include helmets, baskets and locks. Baby seats, tag-along bikes and training wheels are available for little ones, sometimes at an added cost.
WHERE TO RIDE:
The Boardwalk: Bikes are allowed on the boards between 8 a.m. and noon from May 15 through Labor Day. Summer mornings find this 2.5-mile stretch literally teeming with conveyances of all shapes and sizes -- from unicycles to surreys and everything in between. Few places offer such a picturesque and safe place for families to take a leisurely cycle together, but there are risks anytime you have so many bikes, walkers and joggers sharing a space. Stay in designated biking lanes and try to ride single file if you are with a group. Be aware of others around you and people trying to cross the Boardwalk on the way to the beach or back.
Haven Avenue Route (OC1): This on-road corridor connects Ninth Street to 36th Street and provides a safe place for families to ride, but remember you are sharing the roadway with cars. "Sharrow" signs inform cyclists and motorists of where they might encounter each other. Along the route, you can stop at several playgrounds, ballfields, the Cultural and Community Center or shops.
West Avenue: This busy route provides a biking lane from 12th Street to 55th Street for the more advanced rider used to being in traffic.
WHERE NOT TO RIDE: It's against the law to ride bikes on sidewalks, something that unfamiliar bicyclists often do in the downtown area, OCPD Capt. Steven Ang says. OCPD this summer dedicated a foot-patrol officer in the shopping district specifically to enforce the no-sidewalk-riding law (in addition to encouraging pedestrian safety). The officer typically does not issue tickets, but simply informs violators of the restriction against sidewalk-riding, Ang says.
Also, bike-riding is not allowed on the Route 52 causeway, Ang says, but the good news is, by this time next year, a bike lane is expected to be completed on the new bridge, with accompanying bike paths continuing through Ocean City to give bicyclists safe routes to the beach and downtown.
WHERE TO PARK YOUR BIKE: There are bike stands at several downtown intersections. Always lock your bike.
SAFETY TIPS FOR BIKERS: Bikers must follow all rules of the road, such as riding on the right side, stopping at stop signs and for pedestrians in crosswalks. Parents should make sure kids understand this before heading out for a ride.
Bikes must be walked on sidewalks.
Ride single file, use hand signals and ring bell or call out when passing other bikes or walkers.
N.J. law requires everyone under 17 to wear a helmet when riding a bike on a public right-of-way. The Boardwalk is not considered such a place, OCPD's Ang says, but parents are encouraged to have youngsters wear helmets when riding bikes there.
Bikes must have lights for nighttime riding.
Watch for car doors being opened when riding past parked cars. Also, when riding past driveways, watch for backing-up vehicles that might not see you.
TOP TIP FROM POLICE: Always lock bikes, even in a garage. Capt. Ang says most bikes are stolen from unlocked garages.
Below is an excellent web site everyone should read before heading out to ride a bike in Ocean City. You can print out the brochure and keep it handy.
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