Multiple Bills Could Help Make New Jersey Safer for Walking and Biking

New Jersey legislators are steadily advancing bills that would improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in the state.  In the recent months, several bills have been introduced that aim to reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities  and injuries on New Jersey’s roads through enforcement, education and engineering measures.

Current legislation includes:   

  • S2774/A4063 (Allen/SingletonConaway, Spencer) a “Vulnerable User” bill  which increases penalties for motor vehicle violations resulting in serious bodily injury or death to pedestrians, cyclists, or highway repair crew members
  • A3762 (SpencerWagnerEustace) which would increase penalties for careless driving when violation results in injury or death to pedestrian
  • A3947 (RudderRiley) which provides for lower speed limits on certain residential access streets
  • S2773 /A4064 (Allen/Singleton, Conaway) which requires percentage of motor vehicle fines be used to support safe routes to school initiatives
  • S2772/A4065 (Allen/Singleton, Conaway) which increases fine for violation of certain laws concerning pedestrian safety and traffic control; dedicates funds to certain roadways.
  • A4059 (Spencer) which requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching a bicyclist or pedestrian

Earlier this year, New Jersey was named the #7 most Bike Friendly State by The League of American Bicyclists, largely on the strength of New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Complete Streets policy. These bills could pave the way for New Jersey to climb even higher in future rankings (Legislation & Enforcement is one of the five categories in which states are judged upon). But in order for NJDOT to take the next step as a leader in promoting walking and bicycling, its Complete Streets policy must be fully implemented, a particular area of weakness for the agency in LAB’s rankings. A good first step towards ensuring this implementation is for NJDOT to incorporate complete streets designs into roads damaged by Hurricane Sandy – like Route 35 on the Jersey Shore – as they are rebuilt.

Summer recess will most likely begin after June 27, so now is the time to push these bills forward. These bills are currently being considered in the Assembly’s Law and Public Safety (A3762), Appropriations (A3947), and Transportation and Public Works (A4059, A4063, A4064, A4065) committees. The Senate Transportation Committee will consider S2772, S2773 and S2774. To find out if your assemblymember or state senator serves on any of these committees, click here and here.

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