A bill awaiting final approval in the New Jersey Assembly would create a 15-member commission to study how to better protect pedestrians and bicycle riders.
Cathleen Lewis with AAA Clubs of New Jersey said 163 pedestrians were killed in the state last year.
“We continue to put more people on the roadways as pedestrians, which is a good thing. We do it because we want them to be healthy. They’re doing it because they want to reduce their carbon footprint,” she said. “Unfortunately, the more we get out there, the more fatalities we’re having.”
Assemblyman Dan Benson said older walkers and children are most at risk for injury and death.
“There are those in our communities that have no other option. They either don’t drive for various reasons and need to walk various places, and it shouldn’t be something where just because you choose to walk in a community that you should be putting yourself in danger,” said Benson, D-Mercer.
“No matter how much you talk about sharing the road with bicyclists, there are issues there as well.”
The commission would analyze the causes of those accidents; whether communities have adequate sidewalks and lighting; and the effectiveness of driver training programs and public awareness campaigns.