HAMMONTON - In Hammonton and other towns in South Jersey, motorists are being harassed by youngsters who are finding new and dangerous ways to find thrills.
In recent weeks, youngsters — ranging from seventh grade to the beginning of high school — have been using their bicycles to get as close as possible to passing motorists in order to touch, block or throw things at the cars, as well as acting rudely, police said.
The incidences have not been limited to motorists, as pedestrians also have experienced these disturbing trends.
“This has been happening in different locations in town and across South Jersey,” said Hammonton Chief of Police Robert Jones. The frightening occurrences had become so frequent that the Hammonton Police Department addressed them through two posts on its Facebook page.
The police also have been dealing directly with the juveniles who have been involved in these incidences.
“We have been bringing the juveniles down and calling their parents,” said Jones. The chief estimated that there have been about 15 to 20 juveniles who have been verbally warned.
“The kids think it is funny, but it’s not,” Jones said.
It is not only the youngsters themselves who are being warned, it is their parents as well.
“Some parents come down to the police station,” said Jones. Should the juveniles become involved in any more of these dangerous acts, they or their parents could be at risk of a fine and/or a summons complaint. According to the chief, whether the juveniles or the parents are held responsible is at the discretion of the department.
In order to drive the point home, the police department will be sending two school officers to speak to students about the dangers of this type of behavior. One point that Jones hopes to make clear to youngsters and parents alike is that “bicyclists have to follow the rules of the road like everyone else.”
Perhaps the message is sinking in.
“It has been seeming to the work. The last two weeks have been quieter,” the chief said.
If you are interested in learning the bicycle laws of New Jersey, please visit the State of New Jersey website at http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/bike/regulations.shtm.