N.J.’s ‘safe passing’ law to protect bikers, pedestrians faces education challenge

Cortez Deacetis

Summer months is when folks choose to the streets on bikes, skateboards, scooters and on foot. But educating them and motorists on a lately enacted New Jersey law about how to move them securely has gotten off to a sluggish start out.

The state Division of Highway Targeted visitors Security awarded a $78,342 grant to a cycling and pedestrian advocacy team to develop the Harmless Passing 4 NJ resource web page and instruction application, which launched in May possibly. But the division’s individual website didn’t point out that web site or backlink to it until eventually past week.

“It’s a single thing to build products about the legislation and how to unfold the phrase,” said Steve Carrellas, National Motorists Association point out policy director. “It is a further point for the concept to get out there to everybody, in particular motorists.”

The new law was passed in August 2021 and took impact in March, necessitating drivers to depart 4 feet amongst motor vehicles and people today sharing the road on bicycles or on foot.

The regulation is thought of needed to guard “vulnerable users” especially in suburban and rural destinations that really don’t have sidewalks. In individuals circumstances, non-motorists have to use freeway shoulders or the road alone.

The new regulation needs motorists “follow all latest no-passing, no speeding legislation and to shift more than a lane, if a lane is offered.” If enough passing house is not available, motorists need to gradual to 25 mph and be well prepared to cease, until finally they can go safely “without endanger individuals sharing the highway.”

Violating these recommendations will final result in a driver getting a wonderful of $500 and two motor auto factors, if bodily damage is brought about. If no harm happens, the great is $100.

“In March, the Division of Highway Website traffic Protection and the Section of Transportation introduced a coordinated social media campaign to assistance spread the phrase about New Jersey’s new Harmless Passing Law,” stated Lisa Coryell, a division spokeswoman. “The Division of Freeway Visitors Security has awarded the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition $78,342 in grant funding to carry out a Harmless Passage Legislation general public consciousness and education and learning marketing campaign.”

Follow up questions about why schooling about the new law wasn’t highlighted on the division homepage or linked to the coalitions useful resource web site had been not answered.

“It would be fantastic to have a connection to the source heart,” Carrellas said of the highway safety division’s internet site.

The internet site launched in late Could on schedule. The only public announcement arrived from the NJ Bike Wander Coalition, mention on the North Jersey Transportation Authority’s Avenue Good security web-site and a tweet saying it. Sponsored adverts on social media platforms these as Facebook by the coalition adopted in June.

The Bicycle and Stroll Coalition is doing work on its very own campaign with other businesses and teams to transform that. Those participating involve the Chiefs of Law enforcement Affiliation to the North Jersey Transportation Setting up Authority’s “Road Smart security method, AAA and NJ Transit, said Debra Kagan, Coalition president

“All these companions and other people are utilizing their networks and applications to amplify the messaging about the new law,” she explained. “The digital media advert marketing campaign will operate on Google and Facebook platforms together aspect our social media marketing campaign and social media toolkit available to all on from our Safe Passing Legislation Resource Heart.”

Sponsored Facebook advertisements by the Coalition began showing in mid-June. Other content has appeared on TikToc, such as encouraging end users to make Secure Passing legislation video clips.

Last yr, the condition pedestrian demise toll rose to 218, up from 179 in 2020 and 27 bicycle owner died in collisions in 2021, up from 18 the yr prior to, in accordance to State Law enforcement stats. The harmless passing regulation was meant to assist decrease people figures.

But New Jersey’s regulation can be difficult to recognize and can conflict with other regulations about crossing a strong or double line to move, Carrellas stated. The NMA experienced lobbied for a safe passing law it believed was much easier to fully grasp. Supporters of the regulation cited near phone calls and collisions with cars and trucks as a reason to incorporate a particular length.

“Rather than the multi-phase conditional steps dictated in the new regulation, a regulation to securely pass bikes and pedestrians ought to focus on detection of the street consumer and a easy alternative of motion to gradual down powering the rider or properly go the rider,” Carrellas said. “That’s why we advocated for getting ready to move in a no passing zone when risk-free to do so.”

Carrelllas gave the coalition web site a decent review for hoping to describe the law, but stated it was a complicated law to explain.

“Getting a modify in follow demands a far better legislation to foundation a marketing campaign on,” he said.

The Mind Injuries Alliance of N.J. has Protected Passing legislation
details on its site JerseyDrives.com. The alliance has distribute awareness by means of a weekly social media campaign with the NJ Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Coalition, Kagan explained.

Tri-Condition Transportation Campaign and New Jersey Transit partnered on bus advertisement wraps about the legislation with help from the Delaware Valley Regional Organizing Commission’s Transportation Selections Application grant, Kagan mentioned.

AAA is presently jogging a Sluggish Down, Shift Around campaign with billboards and movies in relaxation stops that will contain the risk-free passing legislation, Kagan said.

The Bike and Pedestrian Useful resource Heart at Rutgers University Voorhees Transportation Centre has methods on the Risk-free Passing Legislation on its website.

And the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Law enforcement has “spread the word” and a quantity of area law enforcement departments have place safe and sound passing legislation data on their web-sites and on variable messaging indicators, she claimed.

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Larry Higgs may well be reached at [email protected].

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