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Proof From Jersey That Laws Protecting Sidewalks Don’t Endanger Peds

10:42 AM EDT on August 26, 2010

New Jersey is becoming a safer place to walk and bike, new data shows. The state has seen an eight percent decline in traffic fatalities, according to preliminary crash statistics for the year, and the trend is particularly encouraging for pedestrians and cyclists, writes Michelle Ernst at Mobilizing the Region:

nj_sting.jpgA New Jersey police officer on a "crosswalk sting." Photo: Mobilizing the Region

What’s most striking about the statistics is the victim classificationbreak down. A 25 percent decline in bicycle and pedestrian fatalitiesmakes up the entire year-to-date reduction in statewide trafficfatalities.

While passenger and driver fatality rates are unchanged, bicyclist fatalities dropped from 10 to 7 and pedestrian fatalities
dropped from 106 to 80, compared to the same period last year. Ernst discusses the role some statewide legal reforms may have played in the reduction:

Obviously there isn’t enough data to show causality between the declinein fatalities and New Jersey’s recently passed law requiring drivers to“stop and stay stopped” for pedestrians in crosswalks, or the ensuing crackdown on motorists who fail to yield. But the numbers certainly help allay concerns that the law would increase pedestrian fatalities by emboldening people to -- horror! -- cross the street.

Also on the Network, Grist explains how Ryan Rzepecki's "Social Bicycle" bike-sharing system works; Austin Two Wheels makes the case for bicycle infrastructure using data from New York City; and Dead Horse Times calls for "micro-routes" to help fill the void left by the elimination of a bus route in Portland.

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