Bicycle Safety Education and Enforcement (BSEE) is a structured initiative to improve bicycle safety and provide bicycle education in a community by bringing together advocates, enforcement personnel, and community leadership. Bicycle use has been rising in NJ and across the nation. Providing safer roads for all users is important to many communities, particularly those with Complete Street policies and with an urban/suburban fabric where density and proximity to destinations make biking an increasingly popular transportation mode. Furthermore, in our 2016 survey of New Jersey police departments, we learned that local police commonly witnessed unsafe passing practices by motorists and that there is strong interest in formal training and education on traffic laws as they apply to bicyclists and motorists.
While New Jersey has not yet adopted a quantified safe passing law at the State level, a few New Jersey communities have passed local ordinances that require a minimum passing distance of three feet between bicyclists and motorists. As we explore in this Pilot effort, adoption of a local law is not always paired with the necessary training for police officers on enforcement and educational efforts that can translate into safer roadway sharing practices and fewer crashes and near misses.
With NJDOT funding, our team (NJBPRC, CEC, and SGB) has advanced work on the development of BSEE educational and training protocols for use in communities with safe passing legislation, as well as operational details that are necessary to implement specific enforcement operations for safe passing. For 2018, these efforts included developing initial training materials and testing those materials along with BSEE operations in the Town of Morristown, Morris County, NJ.
This report summarizes the preliminary training/outreach materials developed, the pilot protocol/operational details, lessons learned, and potential next steps. Extensive supporting materials are included in the Appendix, and it is anticipated that these materials are a solid starting point for more structured BSEE efforts in New Jersey in the years ahead.