FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Debra Kagan, Executive Director, NJ Bike & Walk Coalition: (201) 452-4087
John Boyle, Research Director, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia: (609) 234-6596
Janna Chernetz, Deputy Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign: (609) 271-0778
Jim Hunt, TEAM4 the NJ Safe Passing Law: (973) 714-5294
Safe Passing Law S2208/A5570 Clears Senate 34-1 and
Assembly 68-0, Now Heads to Governor Murphy’s Desk
New Jersey now joins 42 other states with safe passing laws designed to end the near misses, injuries and fatalities of the most vulnerable road users.
TRENTON, NJ––Walkers, bicyclists and scooter users on state roadways will be better protected with guidelines provided by the NJ Safe Passing Bill now headed to Governor Murphy’s desk. The NJ State Senate today, voting 34-1 with bipartisan support, approved the bill which is identical to the NJ Assembly Safe Passing bill approved unanimously last week.
The State can now give all motorists clear, enforceable guidelines about when—and how—to pass the most vulnerable on our roads by slowing down, moving over if possible and, if not, passing no less than four feet from walkers, wheelers and bicyclists. Passage of the bill caps over 10 years of education and advocacy led by the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the grassroots TEAM4 the NJ Safe Passing Law.
“The boom in the last year of road use by those walking, bicycling and using scooters, and the increased risk of serious injury or death, put the spotlight on the need for this bill,” said Debra Kagan, Executive Director of the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition. “On behalf of all the partners involved in this effort, we want to thank the 8 Senators and 14 Assembly members who recognized the urgent need for what will now be one of the most comprehensive safe passing laws in the country.”
“This law will fill gaps in NJ passing laws that cover others, including horses and riders, but not the most vulnerable walkers, wheelers and riders,” said Jim Hunt, Campaign Leader for the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition and TEAM4.
“Unfortunately, 34% of those killed on the roads are our most vulnerable users, who are also more likely to be people of color, the elderly, people without access to a vehicle and from low-income neighborhoods,” said Janna Chernetz, Deputy Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “New Jersey’s rate of pedestrian fatalities increased 9% more than the national average last year as 197 people in the state lost their lives walking and bicycling making it the deadliest year for the state since 2017. In fact, New Jersey had the 8th highest number of pedestrian deaths in the country in 2020. The state must act proactively to prevent crashes from happening. This law is an effective and necessary step towards that goal.”
Many of our organization’s members, including myself, commute by bicycle between Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said John Boyle, Research Director, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “We are happy to see that bicyclists now will now have the same 4-foot safe passing protection under the law in both states. New Jersey’s legislation goes even further by providing the same protections to other vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and e-scooter users.”