Man on scooter in Jersey City

At its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 8, the Jersey City Municipal Council updated the city’s ordinance governing the use of bicycles, skateboards, and other vehicles in Jersey City.

The changes added “pedestrian malls or pedestrian plazas” to the list of places where bike riding in Jersey City is not allowed. They also banned the use of skateboards, scooters, or roller skates of any kind on pedestrian malls by individuals aged 10 and over, permitting children younger than 10 to ride them in these spaces only when the vehicles are nonmotorized.

Coming shortly after renovations to the Newark Avenue pedestrian plaza were finished — and on the heels of a chorus of complaints about rogue bike riding on sidewalks and the illegal operation of dirt bikes in the city, the amendments add to an already detailed code intended to maintain “peace and good order” in Chilltown.

For readers who may have forgotten the basic aspects of the law as it applies to bikes,  scooters, and roller skates (or who may have never known it), we offer the following summary, the section pertaining to “Rules for using skateboards, scooters, and roller skates in residential areas” of which has been revised.

Rules for bicycling in residential areas:

  • Children under the age of 9 only may ride on the sidewalk
  • All cyclists riding on city streets must travel in the same direction as cars and must generally obey the same traffic rules as cars
  • Cyclists must ride in the bike lane when going more slowly than the “normal” speed of traffic

Rules for bicycling in commercial areas:

  • No individuals may ride on the sidewalk (or on any public property where the Department of Traffic and Engineering has posted signs prohibiting such use)
  • All cyclists riding on city streets must travel in the same direction as cars and must generally obey the same traffic rules as cars
  • Cyclists must ride in the bike lane when going more slowly than the “normal” speed of traffic

Rules for bicycling in pedestrian plazas:

  • All bicycling is prohibited in pedestrian plazas

Rules for using skateboards, scooters, and roller skates in residential areas:

  • Individuals of any age may ride nonmotorized skateboards, scooters, or roller skates on the sidewalk
  • Electric scooters may not be operated at all on the sidewalk, in city parks, or in any space exclusively for pedestrian use including but not limited to pedestrian malls

Rules for using skateboards, scooters, and roller skates in commercial areas excepting pedestrian malls:

  • No one regardless of age may use any type of skateboard, scooter, or roller skates on the sidewalk

Rules for using skateboards, scooters, and roller skates on pedestrian malls:

  • Individuals under the age of 10 only may ride skateboards, scooters or roller skates assuming these vehicles are nonmotorized
  • All other use of any type of skateboard, scooter, or roller skates on pedestrian malls is prohibited

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that individuals 18 years old and older may ride electric scooters on residential sidewalks. We regret the mistake.

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Elizabeth Morrill

Deputy Editor Elizabeth Morrill has worked in business, not for profit fundraising and as a freelance copy editor. She holds degrees in American studies and education from Yale and Harvard.