Safe Bicycling Laws Urgently Needed in New JerseyTalk to Us—It's Free
There is no question that biking on roadways is fraught with danger. To someone with no alternative transportation, the danger is outweighed by necessity. To a recreational cyclist, the danger is outweighed by the exhilaration of muscles straining, wind whipping against the body and the passage of endless miles of road or nature. Whatever drives them onto the roads, even the most cautious bikers face the danger of a deadly collision with every mile they travel.
To prevent needless injuries and deaths, Lakewood attorney Samuel Z. Brown is urging adoption of three bills that were passed by the New Jersey Assembly in June 2014: A1577, A1600 and A2090.
Bill A1577 would require motorists to leave a four-foot buffer when passing a cyclist. The purpose of buffer laws is to prevent “dooring,” whereby bicyclists ride too close to parked vehicles and become vulnerable to crashing should a car door be flung open. Dooring can be avoided by biking four feet away from the parked vehicle, but that’s easier said than done, particularly on narrow curbed lanes. Even when riding in standard bike lanes or wide curb lanes, most cyclists continue to bike in the door zone. Recognizing the danger of dooring, 33 states have already passed laws requiring buffer zones of at least three feet for cyclists.
Bill A1600 would require motorists to move over or slow down when approaching a cyclist or pedestrian. Move Over and Slow Down laws provide cyclists with an extra barrier from nearby traffic, thus creating a safer cycling atmosphere. In fact, almost all states besides New Jersey already require drivers to slow down around cyclists.
Bill A2090 would set stricter penalties for motor vehicle offenses that result in a collision with a cyclist. Such laws recognize that “vulnerable users” such as cyclists are much more likely to be killed or severely injured in a collision with a vehicle. Thus, a relatively minor traffic infraction results in harsher penalties when a bicyclist is involved. Vulnerable User Laws similar to Bill A2090 have been passed in six states.
An avid cyclist and personal injury attorney, Sam Brown has witnessed both the beauty and devastation of bicycling. His cycling habit leads him to experience many parts of New Jersey in a beautiful way; his profession reveals the underbelly of a world in which bicycle injuries commonly result from inadequate traffic and safety laws. To make our communities safer, Brown urges all New Jersey citizens to contact Senator Singer to request passage of these bills into law. Senator Singer is scheduled to vote on these bills soon. Brown recently wrote to Senator Singer as well as other key legislators delineating the advantages of the pending bills and beseeching them to make the biking community safer by passing them.
Whether you are a fellow avid cyclist or a neighbor, relative or friend of a cyclist, Brown encourages you to contact Senator Bob Singer at [email protected]org or 732-987-5669 asking him to pass Bills A1577, A1600 and A2090 into law to prevent needless injuries, suffering and death on New Jersey roads.