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Plans to Improve Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety in New Jersey

Shore Towns Provide for Safer Street Option for Pedestrians and Cyclists

For residents of two New Jersey shore towns, there may be new options for preventing pedestrian and bicycle accidents. According to an  article from Shore News Today, information sessions were held in Ventnor and Margate so that residents could voice their opinions about ways to improve safety measures in the two communities, which are currently “working together to develop citywide bicycle and pedestrian circulation plans.” These plans are ultimately aimed at making all modes of transportation safer for members of the community—whether you are on foot, on a bicycle, or riding in a passenger vehicle.

The study is currently receiving funding from the Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs at the NJDOT. The key to the safety plans, according to the article, is “consensus.” Those in charge of developing the safety plans want to ensure that residents of the communities have an input, and that various needs are taken into account. The study has a steering committee that is made up of a wide variety of people from the communities, including “local and municipal school officials, police, and representatives of Downbeach green teams and potential funding sources.”

How has the study worked thus far? Community members (and other concerned parties) could log onto a website for the safety project, which includes a map of the shore communities. They can then use electronic pins to identify intersections or other street areas that seem particularly dangerous. In total, the members of the committee received more than 245 map pins, and 104 suggestions for making the roads safer for cyclists.

What will the plans ultimately include? Some of the following have been proposed:

  • Construction of visible crosswalks;
  • Curb extensions aimed at shortening pedestrians’ walking distances;
  • “Refuge areas” for pedestrians when they are crossing in four lanes of traffic;
  • Bike lanes that go with the flow of traffic;
  • Separated bikeways that allow bike traffic to flow in either direction; and
  • “Buffered” bike lanes, which would have a designated space between automobile parking areas and the bike path to prevent cyclists from getting “doored” (or, hit by a car door when it opens).

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Tips

Until communities create new safety models for keeping pedestrians and cyclists safe, what can you do to ensure your own safety and that of your loved ones? According to a tip sheet from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, the following safety measures can help pedestrians and cyclists to avoid a dangerous accident:

  • Always wear reflective material or brightly colored or light-colored clothing;
  • If you walk at night, carry a flashlight with you;
  • Equip your bicycle with proper lights and reflectors;
  • Only cross streets in well-lit areas;
  • Do not stand around obstacles, such as trees or other vehicles, that could obscure you from other drivers immediately before you cross the street;
  • Walk on a sidewalk if possible;
  • If you are on a bicycle, ride with the flow of traffic and do not ride on a sidewalk;
  • Always cross at a crosswalk if possible;
  • Obey all “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs;
  • Do not listen to music, talk on your cell phone or text while you are walking or riding a bicycle;
  • Keep an eye out for rocks, potholes, and other dangers on the road or sidewalk; and
  • Do not drink alcohol before taking a walk or cycling.

If you recently suffered injuries in a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident, an experienced accident attorney can help.

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