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New Jersey Nears Enactment of Safe Passing Law Protecting Bicyclists and Pedestrians

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Proposed New Jersey legislation that would set stricter safety standards for cars passing bicyclists and pedestrians has cleared a critical committee vote, putting it on track for likely enactment.

The bipartisan bill, A5570, approved June 2 by the Assembly Law and Public Safety committee, builds on New Jersey’s existing “move over” law that requires drivers to give space to police and other first responders on the road. The proposed measure would require drivers to do the following when passing a non-motorist on the road:

  • Move one lane to the left if possible
  • Allow four feet of space between the car and person being passed
  • If neither of those maneuvers are safe, slow to 25 miles per hour

The bill defines a pedestrian to include a person in a wheelchair or motorized wheelchair, an employee or contractor of a public utility company, a property maintenance worker or any other person legally permitted to be upon the roadway for work or recreation.

Drivers who fail to comply with the safe-passing rules and as a result injure someone would incur fines and points on their driver’s licenses. The violation would also serve as evidence of fault in a civil lawsuit seeking damages for the harm inflicted.

Pedestrian deaths have been on the rise in places like Trenton, Newark and Lodi. Across the state, pedestrian deaths spiked to 191 in 2020, despite long stay-at-home periods that cut down on the overall miles driven. “As we start to expand infrastructure to facilitate healthy and environmentally friendly activities, we must ensure that we are protecting the individuals and communities that enjoy them,” said Assemblyman Sterley Stanley, a supporter of the bill.

As a law firm that has represented many seriously injured bicyclists and pedestrians over the years, we support thoughtful measures designed to make roads safer. Through simple, commonsense measures like this, we may be able to reduce the injuries and fatalities that inevitably result when heavy vehicles strike vulnerable people.

If you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident in New Jersey, Seigel Law is here to help you recover any compensation to which you may be entitled. Please call 201-444-4000 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our Ridgewood injury lawyers. We can visit you in your home or at the hospital if your injuries prevent you from visiting our office.

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