Bicycle Riders – Governor Murphy Signed Safe Passing Requirements into Law
Between the pandemic, gas prices, and a desire for healthy exercise, bicycle traffic has increased in New Jersey and throughout the country. Now New Jersey has joined 42 other states in mandating that drivers give bicyclists more room when passing – or face penalties if they do not.
Under the New Law the operator of a motor vehicle approaching a pedestrian, bicycle, low-speed electric bicycle, low-speed electric scooter, or any other lawful personal conveyance located or operating in an area designated for pedestrians or those conveyances, as appropriate, on the roadways of this State shall approach with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:
(1) when possible under existing safety and traffic conditions, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the pedestrian or personal conveyance;
(2) if a lane change cannot be made pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, leave a reasonable and safe distance of not less than four feet while approaching the pedestrian or personal conveyance and maintain a distance of at least four feet until the motor vehicle has safely passed the conveyance; or
(3) if it is not possible, prohibited by law, or unsafe to make a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection or to leave a reasonable and safe distance of not less than four feet pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the motor vehicle operator shall reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to 25 miles per hour or a lower posted speed and be prepared to stop; the operator may pass the pedestrian or personal conveyance only if, considering the size and speed of the motor vehicle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface and width of the roadway, passing does not endanger the safety of a pedestrian, operator of the personal conveyance, or any other person on the roadway.
c. A person who commits a violation of the provisions of this section which results in bodily injury as defined in N.J.S.2C:11-1 shall be fined $500 and assessed two motor vehicle penalty points; if no bodily injury results, the violator shall be fined $100 and shall not be assessed any penalty points.
d. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for a violation of any offense defined by the laws of this State or for any violation of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.
As avid bicyclists, we hope that the new provisions become well known, and are followed, allowing motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians to safely share the road.