Another useless, money grab move over law in the works in NJ (Opinion)
Let’s make sure we don’t fix property taxes today. Or school funding. Or overspending. Or the pension debacle. Let’s make sure we instead focus on something to confuse drivers and lead nowhere.
You know the move over a lane law when there’s a cop on the shoulder of the road? Where you have to either move over out of the right lane or slow way down and hug to the left of your lane as much as possible? The legislature is now working on a bill that will do the same to protect bicyclists and pedestrians on roads of any speed.
The bi-partisan bill would require a driver to move over one lane when passing a pedestrian or bicyclist. If that is not possible the driver would be required to give the person they are passing at least four feet of space. If that is also not possible it requires the driver to slow down to 25 mph. This covers areas with no sidewalks where pedestrians have to walk in the road.
Look, I don’t want a bicyclist being taken out or a pedestrian getting hit. But there’s a lot wrong here. First of all, to ask a driver to hone their spatial relations skills where they can determine 4 feet doing 45 or 55 mph and coming upon a much slower moving object is specious at best. It will be a cop’s word against a driver’s word on how much berth was actually given and will have been seen by different angles. Could be a ticket writing bonanza.
Also, think about roads like 31. I take this every day, and many stretches are 45 or 50 mph. And much of it is where you only have your one southbound or one northbound lane. To have to reduce your speed suddenly from 50 to 25 when you’re in traffic is going to be problematic. There’s going to be a number of rear end collisions. This is not going to end well.
You know who else is against it? A guy with much more credibility than I possess on such matters. Steve Carrellas. The National Motorist Association’s state policy director. He was at a committee hearing Wednesday held by Assembly Law and Public Safety. He indicated the proposal needed to be simpler, more reasonable and more intuitive.
“I understand the basic message, but why mirror a complicated move over law?” Carrellas said.
Nonetheless, never afraid of passing a bad bill, lawmakers on the committee voted 6 to 1 to advance the legislation. It’s now kicked over for consideration by the Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. Meantime a similar bill in the Senate is likely headed for a full vote.
Some laws look pretty and noble on paper but ugly when seen in practice. I’m afraid this will be one of those.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.