NJ Miraculously Hangs on to No. 7 — But How?

May 13, 2013
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In a post by Andrew Besold, he examines how in the world New Jersey, Queen of cyclist and pedestrian fatalities, and state that refused to enact a safe-passing law, still manages to come up as the seventh best place to ride?

Writes Besold in his blog WalkBikeNewJersey, “In a state where bike lanes remain a novelty, it’s hard to believe that New Jersey continues to rank in the Top 10 of the Bicycle Friendly State rankings.”
Besold goes on to explain why New Jersey does not deserve this ranking–among the reasons:
(1) a transportation system that has regressed rather than progressed by denying cyclists the right to board on certain platforms on NJ Transit trains;
(2) a failure to adopt safe-passing laws;
(3) a paucity of adoption of Complete Streets measures; and,
(4) a state vehicle code that needs a serious overhauling, but fails in the end to listen to the hard work of advocates to make progress on that score.
What Andy also does not mention is a dismal fatality record.
New Jersey, New York and Florida ranked among the highest of all U.S. States with 3.4 or greater percent of the population dying on bicycles, according to a 2008 compilation comparing states by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
In 2011, a similar study by the NHTSA showed California, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Florida, New Hampshire, New York and Oregon to be the worst states for cycling fatalities on a percentage basis.

nhsta 2011 pedalcyclists data by state

In 2011, New Jersey’s  2.7 percent fatality rate is over the 2.1 percent U.S. average, and represents 627 people out of 8.8 million.

But the number also reflects fewer opportunities to ride in a state criss-crossed by thousands of miles of highways that are anathema to cycling, not greater safety, according to advocates.

Provided is a full list of the rankings provided by the League of American Bicyclists.
It’s left cyclists in New Jersey scratching their heads in confusion and wonderment.

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