Letter: Hitchhiking

I would like to bring attention to a safety measure that should be taken by parents of bachurim hitchhiking.

While I disapprove of hitchhiking on principle, but if they will do it anyway at least let it be with some safety measures.

Specifically I am talking about hitchhiking at night. The other night while I was negotiating a right turn from Cross to Veterans Highway at the bend there were three bachurim standing and hitchhiking. I missed them by a hair. If they would of had on a reflector belt I would have noticed them earlier and maybe given them a ride.

I think there needs to be safety campaign if the boys are going to hitch let it be with safety.

A Concerned grandparent.

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  1. YES! Couldn’t agree more!
    I see hitching on county line in Jackson.
    They’re standing in the median and hitching next to the dunkin.
    Like where the heck is someone even supposed to stop?!
    Unless they do that selfish stop in middle of the lane thing…

  2. Totally agree. I’ve been saying this for years. This is something they should be taught by the rebbi or roshei yeshiva. They won’t take it seriously otherwise. Parents can also teach their kids safety rules. I for one point out to my son places we see boys standing waiting for a hitch which are extremely dangerous. Then the boys wonder why no one stops for them!!!

  3. Hitchhiking done legally IS legal. Hitchhiking , while standing in the roadway or shoulder, is illegal. One must stand on the sidewalk or grass, in a place that’s safe and legal for a vehicle to stop. That excludes rte 9, which has “no stopping or standing ” signs on all or most of the roadway. Of course, hitchhikers and all pedestrians should wear reflective clothing or reflectors. And bikers too

  4. You’re absolutely right! Reflectors are a must for all pedestrians! While we’re on the subject of hitchhiking, which I think is dangerous for both the person hitching and the person picking him up, I just love the way it’s being touted as a “kavod hatorah” thing. I think it’s an absolute bizayon for a ben torah to stand on the street and hitch. As a senior citizen, when I was growing up, you did not see bnei torah hitching. Only real low lives did such a demeaning thing. Now, if you do not pick up a hitchhiker, it’s considered as if you lack kavod hatorah. What an upside down world!

    • No offense, but 60 years ago, many bnei torah lived in one general area and all of the conveniences were in the same area as well, so there was no need for hitchhiking. Now Boruch hashem, Lakewood has grown by leaps and bounds, yeshivos have sprouted all over Lakewood, in areas that don’t have conveniences and many bochurim don’t live near yeshiva so this is why Bochurim hitch.
      I happen to not be the biggest fan of hitchhiking but it’s understood that Bochurim need a way to get around town and get home. There is no good bus system in place (for most areas) and there’s no ride system either in most yeshivos. What else are Bochurim supposed to do?

      • When my children were young, it was too difficult for me to go out with all the young children to take my son to minyan. My husband worked out of town. So I arranged for a ride for my son. Hitching is a dangerous choice. There are other ways that parents & bochurim can think of, to get bochurim to where they have to be. Do we have to wait for something bad to happen CH”V before we realize that hitching should not be an option in today’s world?

  5. Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l was makpid to give a lift to hitchhikers on his way to Lakewood and the bochur in the car was nervous about sitting next to total strangers but Reb Aharon insisted on being kind to others

  6. Hitching in a dangerous and illegal way is obviously not good and in a way a chillul Hashem. But don’t forget the good! Yidden help each other! And they know that they can trust each other!

  7. NJ is one one of the 6 states in the the US that bans hitchhiking on state roads. It doesn’t apply to municipal roads. Though it is a bit annoying to other driver’s, I have not seen this lead to more accidents. This law, is an unfair law similiar to the laws of Sedom that prohibited begging for charity. In 44 States, hitchhiking is legal. Our kehilla, to to the severe shortage of bussing, runs on rides offered to our heilige bochurim who spend their days in the koslei Bais Hamedrash. We should say “Kofen Al Midas Sedom” in regards to this law. It’s quite unbelievable, that in this liberal State, every perversion is legal & celebrated but asking for a chessed is banned.

  8. 39:4-59.
    No person shall stand in a HIGHWAY for the purpose of or while soliciting a ride from the operator of any vehicle other than an omnibus or a street car. [So most roads are not a problem]

  9. I always try to stop and many times will go the extra mile and take the boys to where they are going. I’ve given rides many times to boys that you can see from the little conversation that they are our next generation’s maggidei shiur, marbitzei Torah and talmidei chachomim. In many instances they are coming from night seder from the best yeshivas in town. That said, boys should be taught by their parents and by the hanhola of the yeshiva that hitchhiking especially along a busy road and at night and not wearing a reflector is extremely dangerous. And perhaps there should be certain designated spots where one could wait to hitch.. but let’s not just jump all over our towns biggest assets- our budding bnei Torah….

  10. So the police hold that highway doesn’t mean highway. But technically you can argue that only highways are seriously maintained and only highways are only for vehicles. So when it says in the definition of highway, maintained and for vehicles, I don’t know if that is a good enough proof to say that highway somehow magically does not mean highway.

  11. I don’t think it is responsible parenting to have hitchhiking be a bochur’s primary method of getting to and from yeshiva every day. I understand if extenuating circumstances come up here and there, but I routinely see the same bochurim hitchhiking from the yeshiva on my block. That is not a responsible arrangement.

  12. Dont cover up a mitzvah of chesed with a teretz of chilul Hashem!!! I do agree that hitcher’s have to stay off the road and hitch only in places where people could pull over. I also understand a driver that cant stop when involved in a private conversation. But not to stop in the correct setting? Kofin al midas sedom!! zeh nehneh v’zeh lo chuser! Bottom line, let’s all use commone sense.

    • Don’t cover up doing something dangerous just because it’s more convenient, with the mitzvah of chesed. It’s a mitzvah to give tzedakah but we all know that children should not let tzedakah collectors into the house

      • HELLO!!! Did you read what I wrote?? I said I agree that this should not be done in any dangerous situation! But when it’s not dangerous why cant you do a mitzvah?? And yes there instances when it there is no danger involved at all!

  13. N.J.S.A. 39:4-59 prohibits “begging” for rides as follows “No person shall stand in a highway for the purpose of or while soliciting a ride from the operator of any vehicle other than an omnibus or a streetcar”. Hitchhiking is illegal if, and only if, you are standing in the roadway. If Bachurim stand on the curb, it is perfectly legal.

  14. What is better, hitching… or traveling with these dangerous E-scooter-cycle-bikes that look like they are flying and exposed to every pitfall and monster vehicle around them?

    • Yeshivos should allow bochurim to drive to yeshiva and not stunt their growth by sending 12th graders on yellow school busses for hours each way. If we stop stunting their growth, they will be more mature.

  15. Lakewood needs fewer cars on the road. Not more. Bicycling should be encouraged. Great exercise for the bachurim.

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