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On the Rise: Bicycle-Related Deaths and Injuries

In 2020, preventable fatalities from bicycle accidents increased by 16%, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The NSC also noted that over the last decade, there was a total increase of 44% in preventable bicycle-related deaths.

These figures highlight the ongoing safety crisis for cyclists on American roadways.

Bicycle-related deaths and injuries: the statistics

According to the CDC, bicyclists account for 2% of all motor vehicle crashes. Approximately 1,000 people die each year from these accidents, and 130,000 become injured. These numbers will continue to increase unless widespread measures to prioritize road safety become implemented nationwide.

We see this trend reflected in the report from the NSC, which notes an increase in preventable nonfatal injuries of 5% between 2019 and 2020. Additionally, the newest data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that bicyclist fatalities increased again in 2021 by 5%.

In the state of New Jersey specifically, there were 30 preventable bicycle-related fatalities between 2019 and 2020. As of 2021, the number of deaths reached its highest single-year total thus far, with 27 individuals lost. Hopefully, these numbers will decrease in the coming years as legislative efforts are implemented to improve cyclist safety.

Legislation addressing the bicycle fatalities crisis

With the continual increase in motor vehicle fatalities and the increase in injuries sustained by these accidents, both state and federal legislatures have implemented new measures to address street safety.

The following legislation seeks to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and others using a method of personal conveyance.

New Jersey’s Safe Passing Law

New Jersey has implemented its Safe Passing Law, laying out new driver requirements. When approaching someone using a method of personal conveyance such as a bicycle, electric scooter, or a pedestrian, drivers must do the following:

  1. Move over one lane to allow for extra space while passing.

  2. If moving over one lane is not possible, drivers must allow for four feet of space while approaching and passing.

  3. If neither moving nor allowing four feet of space is possible without violating traffic laws, drivers must reduce the vehicle’s speed to 25 mph and be prepared to stop.

Drivers who violate New Jersey’s Safe Passing Law will incur a $100 fine if the violation does not result in personal injury. However, they will incur two motor vehicle penalty points, and the fine will be $500 if the offense results in bodily injury to pedestrians, cyclists, or others using a method of personal conveyance.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden on November 15th, 2021, authorizes up to $550B of funding between 2022 and 2026 to invest in America’s infrastructure, including support for safety improvements on our roads.

Safe Streets and Roads for All Program

The Safe Streets and Roads for All Program (SS4A) is a new grant program included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that allocates $6B in funding over the next five years. The program seeks to fund local efforts to reduce roadway crashes and fatalities.

Eligible applicants for the SS4A grant include:

  • Metropolitan planning organizations

  • Political subdivisions of a State

  • Members of a federally recognized Tribal government

  • Multi-jurisdictional groups of the entities above

Also, according to the Federal High Administration, the use of SS4A funds must only be used for:

  • Development of a comprehensive safety action plan

  • Planning, designing, and developing activities for initiatives identified in the safety action plans

  • Implementing the projects and strategies identified in the safety action plan.

COPYRIGHT © 2022, STARK & STARKNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 251
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About this Author

Domenic B. Sanginiti, Jr. Accident & Personal Injury Attorney Stark & Stark Law Firm New Jersey
Shareholder

Domenic B. Sanginiti, Jr. is a Shareholder and member of the Accident & Personal Injury Group. Mr. Sanginiti concentrates on catastrophic personal injury matters, negligent security claims, wrongful death and product liability matters. Mr. Sanginiti also focuses his practice on the hazards and defects of lithium ion batteries, e-cigarettes, and other vaping products. Mr. Sanginiti is currently leading the Juul litigation at Stark...

609.895.7399
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