NEWARK – Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex) will lead more than 100 bicycle riders through a cross-state tour on Sunday to highlight the need for a state law that would provide cyclists with heightened safety on New Jersey’s roadways.
The tour is slated to leave Newark’s Penn Station at 7 a.m. and pass through Elizabeth, New Brunswick and Princeton before ending in Lambertville.
“’Share the road’ has been the mantra among bikers and motorists for years, but recently that tradition has begun to break down,” said Spencer (D-Essex), an avid cycler and member of the Major Taylor Cycling Club of New Jersey, which is sponsoring the ride. “Increasingly, road rage and impatience have put more and more bikers in dangerous positions. Cyclists, whether on a pleasure ride or their daily commute, deserve some guarantee to their small part of the road.”
Spencer is prime sponsor of legislation that would require motorists to leave a buffer of at least three feet when passing a bicycle travelling in the same direction. Violators would be subject to a $100 fine. The measure overwhelmingly passed the Assembly in June.
If enacted, New Jersey would become the 12th state to have a three-foot-buffer law on its books. Since 2000, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin have enacted such a law.
“New Jersey’s network of county and local roads and mix of urban and rural landscapes has made it an ideal state for cycling,” said Spencer. “But as more people try to take in this scenery on their bicycle, state law needs to be on their side. By taking to the road together, cyclists from across the state can send a strong reminder that our roads belong to everyone, whether they travel on two wheels or four.”
The Newark-based Major Taylor Cycling Club of New Jersey is named in honor of Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, an African-American cyclist who held the world mile track cycling championship title from 1899 to 1901. The club sponsors numerous distance rides throughout the year.
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