In keeping with our themes for the last few weeks, we’re writing about Spring safety this week. Spring is here and more and more adults and their children spend time outdoors, biking, walking, rolling, and skating. It’s great to see many people of all ages enjoying the outdoors. Many children head outside after school, between 3:00 pm and 7:00pm, on their skateboards, bicycles, or on scooters. We’re glad you’re taking a break from screen time! We want everyone to be able to enjoy their time outdoors and get home safe. That is why we are bringing attention to the concerning trend in traffic fatalities.
The U.S. pedestrian deaths have increased to a record number in the past decade and 2021 was the worst year for pedestrian traffic deaths in three decades in NJ. In NJ alone, 218 pedestrians lost their life. The primary cause for the increase in pedestrian death remains speed. According to a AAA Foundation study: “the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10% at an impact speed of 16 mph, 25% at 23 mph, 50% at 31 mph, 75% at 39 mph, and 90% at 46 mph. The average risk of death for a pedestrian reaches 10% at an impact speed of 23 mph, 25% at 32 mph, 50% at 42 mph, 75% at 50 mph, and 90% at 58 mph. Risks vary significantly by age. For example, the average risk of severe injury or death for a 70-year-old pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 25 mph is similar to the risk for a 30‐year‐old pedestrian struck at 35 mph.” It doesn’t take much to cause someone serious injury or worse. While initiatives are underway to make our roads safer, there’s still much to be done, and we can all play a part in keeping our roads safe.
With that in mind, we want to remind everyone of a few road safety tips.
- Slow down! Respect posted speed limits, especially in residential areas at all times and especially in the morning when children walk or bike to school, and in the afternoon when children walk or bike home from school or spend time outdoors with their friends
- Share the road – cyclists can ride on the ride side of the road and have the right to take the whole lane when bike lanes are not available and it is not safe to do otherwise; pedestrians can walk in the road, on the left side of the road. And remember, NJ now has a Safe Passing Law – give 4 feet when passing pedestrians, cyclists, or other vulnerable road users
- Look for pedestrians at crosswalks and at intersections. Remember, not all crosswalks are marked, but pedestrians still have a right to cross
- Do not pass cars stopped at crosswalks, they may be waiting for someone to cross the street
- Give cyclists some space, 4 feet passing distance is now the law
- Stay focused, don’t drive distracted
- Don’t drive under the influence
- Use sidewalks and paths whenever available. If walking in the road, walk facing traffic and wear try to wear bright clothing
- Be alert, don’t walk distracted, keep your eyes on the road
- Cross the street at crosswalks and intersections when possible
- If crossing midblock, be sure to yield to cars
- Wear a helmet
- Wear bright clothing
- Check your brakes
- Install front and rear lights
- Ride with traffic
- When cycling on trails notify walkers before you pass them
- We hope you enjoy the nice weather and spend some time outdoors. Stay safe!