Ready to change the way you drive? If the newly proposed New Jersey bicycle law goes into effect, you might have to.
New Jersey Assembly bill A1577/1600 would require drivers to give bicyclers and pedestrians at least four feet of following distance on New Jersey roadways — a move that mirrors similar measures already in place in other states. Violators would face a fine of between $100 and $500.
A related bill, A2090, would add a fine of up to $500 for any driver who causes a collision with a bicycler as a result of a motor vehicle violation.
Both measures passed the state Assembly last summer but are awaiting approval by the state Senate. The measures would also need to gain Governor Chris Christie’s approval.
Following Distance and Beyond: Safe Cycling Tips for New Jersey
Safety experts have long encouraged drivers to give bikers a little more space on the roads. The proposed New Jersey bicycle law would essentially codify what has always been an unwritten rule of the road: give riders room.
In addition to allowing at least four feet of following distance, the private Yield to Life campaign recommends the following safe cycling tips for motorists:
- Do not tailgate bicycles.
- Wait until it’s safe to pass.
- Give cyclists extra time and extra patience.
- Look for road hazards that might be especially dangerous for cyclists (navigating around lane obstructions, for example) and give them even more space to deal with them.
- Look for cyclists if they’re making a right turn or you’re making a left turn. These are common scenarios for bicycle-automobile impacts.
- Look for cyclists before opening a parked car’s door. Believe it or not, this is another common scenario for severe injury.
- Look for cyclists when backing out of driveways or pulling out of parking lots.
- Try to avoid honking horns at cyclists — it is very startling and potentially dangerous. If you must, try to do it from a distance.
- Above all else, share the road!
Questions? Ask a New Jersey Bicycle Accident Attorney
Change is never easy, but sometimes it’s for the best. As a New Jersey bicycle accident attorney office, we here at The Law Offices of James C. DeZao know firsthand just how serious and truly terrible a cycling collision can be. We hope that the new measures, whether they pass or not, will encourage everyone to share the roads more freely for a safer future.