NJ drivers must now change lanes when passing cyclists and walkers
NEW JERSEY — A new law requiring New Jersey drivers to change lanes when meeting cyclists, motor vehicles and pedestrians — if it is safe to do so — went into effect March 1.
The Safe Passage Act was passed on August 5 last year and was due to come into force seven months later, that is last Tuesday.
Drivers who violate the law face fines and possible motor vehicle points.
The new law states that a driver overtaking a pedestrian, bicycle, skateboard or motorized vehicle must, “where possible under prevailing safety and traffic conditions, make a lane change into a non-adjacent lane pedestrian or personal vehicle”.
If a lane change is unsafe at the time — for example, on a one or two lane road — the driver must “leave a reasonable and safe distance of at least 4 feet when approaching pedestrian or personal vehicle and maintain a distance of at least 4 feet until the motor vehicle has passed the conveyance safely.”
And if the 4-foot space isn’t safe either, the driver must slow down to a maximum of 25 miles per hour and can only pass the pedestrian or vehicle if it doesn’t endanger the safety of anyone on the road. pavement.
The fine for breaking the law is $100 and no points on anyone’s license. However, if the offense results in bodily harm, the person will be fined $500 and two points.
The number of driver fatalities from 2019 to 2021 increased from 289 to 372 in the state, and pedestrian fatalities from these crashes increased from 176 to 223 (including 6 children in 2021). For cyclists, the numbers have increased from 12 to 23 (including two children in 2021).
Overall, the number of fatalities from collisions involving vehicles in the state, in each of the past three years, was: 558 in 2019, 587 in 2020, and 703 in 2021 (including 30 fatalities of people under 18 in 2021).
Campaigners said there was not enough publicity around the change. The New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition said in a statement Tuesday that the group will work with other organizations to launch an awareness and education campaign.
Read the text of the Safe Passage Act here.
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