April 2023 - Reminder: Share the Road – It’s the Law
Now that Daylight Savings Time is in full swing, more and more people are venturing outside to enjoy the extended daylight hours and increasingly warmer temperatures. This means more pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter riders sharing the road with motorists. With that in mind, now is a good time to review the rules for safer roads.
Since the pandemic, the number of accidents resulting in pedestrian deaths has increased across the nation, and a disproportionate number of these accidents occurred on New Jersey roads. In fact, 2021 was said to have been the deadliest year for pedestrians and bicyclists in New Jersey since 1989. For 2021, New Jersey State Police reported 220 pedestrian and 23 cyclist fatalities, representing one-third of all deaths from motor vehicle accidents in the State for that year.
To make the roads safer for everyone, the State adopted the NJ Safe Passing Law in March of last year. This law sets down clear rules for motorists passing non-motorists, including pedestrians, cyclists, and people using scooters, wheelchairs or other non-motorized methods of transportation.
This law requires drivers to use “due caution” when passing and states drivers must:
- Abide by posted no-passing and no-speeding laws; move over a lane when possible.
- Allow at least four feet of space between their car and the people they are passing on single lane roads.
- Reduce speed to 25 mph and be prepared to stop until able to pass safely without endangering others on the road when the four-foot buffer is not possible.
Violations of the Safe Passing Law carry a $100 fine. If the violation results in injuries, however, the fine increases to $500 plus two points on the motorist’s driving record.
As the adage goes, the best defense is a good offense—stay alert and use caution wherever you travel so everyone can arrive at their destination safely.