Law sets guidelines to prevent the near misses, injuries and deaths suffered by
the most vulnerable road users after NJ set a traffic fatality record in 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TRENTON, NJ, March 1, 2022––Starting today, the NJ Safe Passing Law (NJSPL) (A5570/S2208) goes into effect. The new law provides clear rules of the road for all motorists about when and how to pass people sharing the road on foot, on bicycles, on scooters, wheelchairs or in other legally permitted ways to travel other than a motor vehicle.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored and cosponsored by 16 Senators and Assembly members, was approved 102-1 by the NJ Legislature last June, signed by Governor Phil Murphy in August, and is set to take effect on March 1, 2022.
The Safe Passing Law requires drivers to use “due caution” whenever they see vulnerable people on the road. The law states that:
- Drivers must follow all current no-passing, no speeding laws AND move over a lane if there’s one to move into.
- On a single-lane road, drivers must allow at least a 4-foot safety zone when they pass.
- If 4 feet is not possible on a section of road, drivers must slow to 25mph and be prepared to stop until they can pass safely without endangering those sharing the road.
2021 was the deadliest year on New Jersey’s roads in 14 years for drivers, and the deadliest in 30 years for the most vulnerable road users, people walking, cycling, and rolling. The pandemic led to a surge of car and truck traffic on our roads along with increased speeding. COVID also led to more people using the roads on foot or on wheels, by necessity or choice. ”Last year, 704 people were killed on New Jersey’s roads, the highest number since 2007. Driver and passenger fatalities are up 18%, while pedestrian fatalities are up 24%, and cyclist fatalities are up 28%.
The NJ Safe Passing Law is the strongest safe passing law in the country and with the increase in road fatalities and serious injuries across the state it comes at a critical time,” said Debra Kagan, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. This law gives us the opportunity to build awareness and prioritize safety first, making our roads safer for everyone, especially vulnerable road users.”
“The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, with our partners in advocacy throughout the state, will now launch a major public awareness campaign in May,” said Jim Hunt, Safe Passing Law Campaign Leader for the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition. “We believe our efforts will underscore the importance of all the state’s move over laws.”
“This legislation was long overdue. Last year alone 246 of our vulnerable road users, pedestrians and bicyclists, died on NJ roadways,” said Sangetta Badlani, Founder of Nikhil Badlani Foundation and Families for Safe Streets NJ. ”These are lives that we can save by raising awareness and enforcement of this law. This law prioritizes safety and is a step towards ending the heartbreak that so many families suffer from a loss of a loved one in a preventable crash.”
This law is aimed at protecting pedestrians and bicyclists from the most aggressive drivers,” said John Boyle Research Director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “I’ve had close calls with drivers who were passing me carelessly or recklessly, sometimes intentionally without consequence.”
“New Jersey’s Safe Passing law, the most comprehensive in the nation, is the result of over a decade of hard work by advocates. We are grateful for the bill sponsors and Governor Murphy for acknowledging the importance of the protections provided by this law which go into effect March 1. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders in Trenton to make our streets safer for all road users in our state, especially those who are most vulnerable.” – Janna Chernetz, Deputy Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign