Of all the northern and central New Jersey counties, Hudson is the most dangerous for bicyclists according to a recent study by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

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"This report analyzed bike crash data for the northern most New Jersey counties to get an idea of where the crashes were occurring, what the most dangerous roads for cyclists are and to see if there is some sort of similarity amongst these roads in these counties," said Janna Chernetz, New Jersey Advocate for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

"Consistent with previous reports, the arterial roadways are the most dangerous for cyclists. Those are roadways with two lanes or more in both directions with speed limits of 40 miles per hour or more," said Chernetz. "These types of roadways have very little bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure. Population and density played a factor as well."

There were 19,551 bicycle crashes in 13 counties (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), 81 of which were fatal. The crash data was analyzed over an 11 year period from 2001 to 2011. "Hudson County ranked number one for the most dangerous, followed by Union County and then Monmouth County," said Chernetz. "Hunterdon and Sussex had the fewest crashes with 14 each. Mercer and Middlesex were right in the middle ranking fifth and eighth respectively."

Three years ago, the State Department of Transportation passed a Complete Streets policy that requires new or rehabilitated roads to be built for all users. Monmouth, Mercer and Essex counties have passed such policies along with 42 municipalities.

"Bicyclists should always put safety first. If they aren't comfortable riding on a road, they shouldn't try it. They should look for other roads, with slower speed limits or wider shoulders. Many of these arterial roadways don't have shoulders, so the bicyclists are riding in the lanes with the cars," said Chernetz. "We're hoping that this analysis can be used as a tool for the Department of Transportation, counties and municipalities to pinpoint where the improvements should be targeted."

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