Across the US, COVID has shown us that fewer cars on the road equals faster speeds. According to the NJ State Police’s Fatal Accident Statistics, at the height of the pandemic in April, fatalities were down compared to 2019. But in May and June, with fewer cars on the road, the fatality rate increased to pre-pandemic numbers.
This is attributed to speeding and distracted driving, which can have disastrous results for pedestrians and cyclists, even in colder weather, as residents look for ways to spend time outside. But this problem can be addressed through municipal Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety campaigns, which emphasize driver and pedestrian education.
“On average, one pedestrian is killed every two days in New Jersey and 12 are injured daily. We want to make sure that motorists and pedestrians are aware of the role that they can play in ensuring safety,” said Donna Allison, Executive Director of RideWise. Locally, Somerset County experienced 622 incidents involving vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians between 2015 and 2020.
Since 2016, RideWise has conducted Street Smart campaigns for six Somerset communities – North Plainfield, Somerville, Manville, Raritan, Bernardsville and Peapack-Gladstone. Each campaign saw improvements in the number of pedestrians using crosswalks and in the number of drivers stopping for pedestrians.