In August, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the state’s first law requiring drivers to safely pass people on bikes, scooters and pedestrians who are using the roads. The legislation allows New Jersey to catch up to 42 other states and other counties that have safe passing laws intended to reduce collisions between cars and other road users. The bill had been passed by a 34-to-1 vote of the state Senate on June 30.
The bi-partisan bill is similar to the “move over law” that protects first responders on highways. It would require drivers to move over one lane when passing, if it safe to do so, or allow four feet of space between the car and the person being passed. If that is not safe to do, it would require a driver to slow to 25 mph.
The bill also covers pedestrians who have no choice except to walk in rural and suburban roads where there are no sidewalks, and people riding skateboards and those with mobility issues riding electric scooters.
Drivers face a $100 fine but no motor vehicle points for violating the law. A driver who causes bodily injury could face a $500 fine and two motor vehicle points.
Advocates cited State Police records that said bicycle rider fatalities in 2021 already match last year’s total at the same date. Pedestrian fatalities now almost match 2020 and are on a pace that could lead to a 60% increase in 2021.