New Rules for Passing Pedestrians & Bicyclists

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Starting this week, the NJ Safe Passing Law (NJSPL) 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 Safe Passing Law requires drivers to use “due caution” when they see vulnerable people on the road. The law states: “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. According to the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, the pandemic led to a surge of car and truck traffic on our roads along with increased speeding. In 2021, 704 people were killed on New Jersey’s roads, the highest number since 2007. Driver and passenger fatalities were up 18%, while pedestrian fatalities were up 24%, and cyclist fatalities were up 28%.

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