UNION COUNTY, NJ - Child safety seats and bicycle helmets -- two simple, yet effective, ways to prevent serious injury when riding in a car or cycling around Union County -- are at the forefront of Union County’s Child Safety Seat Inspection Program, which provides free guidance on how to correctly install and use car safety seats.

The program is available on a drop-in basis on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 7:30 to 11 a.m., at the Garwood Rescue Squad, located at 401 2nd Avenue. Parents and other care givers can bring their vehicles and car seats and receive hands-on instruction from certified technicians.

Trained personnel from Union County’s Department of Public Safety are also available to present guidance on bicycle safety and the proper use of bicycle helmets to civic groups and other organizations.

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According to the office of the New Jersey Attorney General, head injuries are the most common cause of death among bicyclists. New Jersey state law requires helmets for persons under age 17 using a bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and conventional roller skates.

Other bicycle safety tips include:

  • Ride in single file with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible while keeping an eye out for sewer grates and other hazards.
  • Use hand signals when making turns: hold left arm straight out to the left for left turns, hold left hand with forearm up for right turns.
  • In case of heavy traffic or other hazards at intersections, play it safe: dismount and walk the bicycle across.

Cyclists should also take care to make themselves visible. Bright colors should be worn during the day and bicycles should have front, rear and pedal reflectors. Cycling at night should be avoided, but when necessary cyclists should wear reflective clothing and use a headlamp.

Drivers should be aware that bicycling is popular for sport, recreation and commuter travel. Be alert for bicycles on the road and be prepared to slow down or stop when necessary.

For more information about Union County’s car seat and bicycle safety programs, or to request a presentation on bicycle safety for a community group or other organization, contact Christine Marcantonio, Traffic Safety Program Coordinator at cmarcantonio@ucnj.org or call 908-789-6830.