NJ’s Safe Passage Law is now in effect! NJ has joined 42 other states (including PA) now that the 4 foot safe passing law has gone into effect. This is welcome news! A big shout out to those who have worked so hard for many years to make this a reality including the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition (who is credited for the graphic you see here), Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and TEAM4 the NJ Safe Passing Law. Nice work!
What is the law? The law is modeled on the ‘move over law’ already in place requiring drivers to move over for first responders. Specifically, it requires motorists to use caution and make safe passage of vulnerable road users (cyclists, pedestrians, wheel chairs, road workers, first responders, etc.). It requires you to change lanes or move over to provide 4 feet of space or slow to 25mph. Those who violate the law face monetary penalties ($100-$500) and points in situations resulting in bodily injury.
Slow Down | Be Patient | Pass Safely
Sharing the road is not hard. When approaching a cyclist or pedestrian – slow down, be safe, and be prepared to stop if needed for that person’s safety. That person might be your neighbor, nephew, or friend and the only thing required for their safety is a few seconds of your time. A few seconds to save a life.
What can you do to educate road users about the law? Demonstrate – when you are driving, do it right. Spread the word among friends and others you interact with day to day. Remember – this is about sharing the road – safety for all. It is not about Cars vs pedestrians or cyclists vs cars. When the goal is to change habits, emotional education works – personalize and humanize road users. Drivers don’t always consider that the “thing” on the road is a person who might be a neighbor, a friend. Help them understand the risks of bing passed too close at high speed and how easily the risk is avoided.
Start by Educating yourself – here are some resources:
NJ Bike and Walk Coalition article on the signing of the bill its requirements and details, and this additional article with information on who/what organizations can provide information on the bill as well as knowledgable contacts.
This is a great step forward for cycling and pedestrian safety out on the roads. Remember, when you are driving vs on your bike it applies to you as well and importantly, the definition of “pedestrian” is inclusive of others with legal rights to be on the road such as construction or utility workers.
Stay safe out there – Team Evesham