Newark police are keeping a close watch on distracted bicyclists

 <a href=“”>Woman riding a bicycle (Bigstock)</a>

Woman riding a bicycle (Bigstock)

Newark police are cracking down on distracted bicyclists. Anyone caught using any type of handheld device is subject to a new law.

Bike safety remains a top concern in Newark where city council members voted to penalize all bicyclists caught riding with any electronic device in hand including a cell phone. Lt. Fred Nelson of the Newark Police Department said the law is right on time because of the growing populations of bikers around the University of Delaware.

“Having the university here we tend to have a lot more bicyclists in the area. The makeup of Newark, it is a smaller community and a lot of people get around by bicycle,” Nelson said.

According to Nelson bicyclists could also face a hefty fine in the long run.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“So the fine is $25 and there are some costs on top of that. What we found generally once someone gets a citation they are a lot less likely to do that type of violation again so I think it would be a deterrent for us,” said Nelson who added that the department issued 60 citations to bicyclists last year for various violations.

As for the new law, it immediately went into effect this week to ultimately protect bicyclists because they don’t stand a chance if struck by a vehicle. 

“It’s even more important for them to be paying attention while they are bicycling because they are in that vulnerable state,” Nelson said.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal