Pedestrians and bicyclists have always been vulnerable to injuries and fatalities in New Jersey. To address that and try to make the roads safer for those who are not protected by a vehicle of their own, a new law recently went in effect. With the “Safe Passing Law,” drivers must follow certain rules when they are sharing the road with a rider or a pedestrian. It is important for everyone to be aware of the basics of this law, when it is violated and how that might have played a role in a collision. This can be crucial to determining what to do after the accident.
Understanding how the new law works
With the Safe Passing Law, drivers must change to a lane that is not adjacent with the rider or pedestrian if possible. When it is not possible to change lanes, the driver must give a minimum of 4 feet of room. In cases where neither of these are possible, drivers should slow down to 25 mph or less and be ready to stop if necessary. Simply violating the law without an accident will result in a $100 fine. If there is a crash with injuries or harm, there will be a $500 fine and two points placed on the driver’s license.
Rider and pedestrian safety at the forefront of the new law
In the decade from 2010 to 2020, New Jersey had just under 300 pedestrian fatalities in five major counties across the state. Across the nation during that same time, the number of pedestrian deaths grew by nearly half. There are many factors that are believed to have contributed to pedestrians and bicyclists being in greater jeopardy. These include infrastructure, speeding and how roadways are configured. The law is clear in how drivers are supposed to behave, but there is always a risk of a collision.
If pedestrian and bicycle accidents happen, those injured may need assistance
Laws aside, bicyclists and pedestrians are inherently vulnerable to severe injuries and loss of life if they are involved in an auto accident. Perhaps this new law will improve safety. Still, drivers who get behind the wheel under the influence, go beyond the speed limits, are distracted and commit other violations might not adhere to it and the dangers will remain in place. With the major injuries and long-term challenges that are likely to arise after a pedestrian or bicycle crash, it is imperative that those involved or family members left behind have assistance with deciding what steps to take. Having advice is essential and discussing the case with those experienced with bicycle and pedestrian accidents can be helpful.