RARITAN, NJ - Mayor Charles McMullin announced that Raritan Borough will kick off a Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at reducing pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes along Somerset Street during the month of July.
The Street Smart NJ campaign is a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations. Local police will be enforcing pedestrian laws in Raritan and working with RideWise, along with business, residential and school communities to educate motorists and pedestrians throughout the month of July.
The campaign comes at a significant time, according to McMullin.
“There have been 74 crashes involving pedestrians between 2006 and 2016, 22 of which occurred along or off of Somerset Street,” he said.
During the duration of the campaign, residents will see street signs, posters, tip cards and other educational materials throughout the community.
“Our campaign and its partners will also be sending e-blasts in an effort to raise additional awareness about our pedestrian safety efforts this month," McMullin said.
“We’ll be interacting with motorists to make sure they know and obey the law and stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk,” said Police Chief Raymond Nolte. “We’ll also be reminding pedestrians to use crosswalks and cross at intersections and not jaywalk.”
Officers will also address speeding and distracted driving and walking, which often contribute to crashes involving pedestrians.
Pedestrian safety is an ongoing challenge in New Jersey. In 2017, 187 pedestrians died as a result of pedestrian-vehicle crashes, according to the most recent data available from the New Jersey State Police.
From 2013 through 2017, 828 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey’s roads and more than 17,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That translates into one death every two days and 12 injuries daily.
“This effort supports the county’s Complete Streets Policy and the planned improvements to link downtown Raritan to Duke Farms that are currently under design,” said Freeholder Mark Caliguire, liaison to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.
The statewide Street Smart NJ campaign is managed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), and began in 2013. The campaign urges pedestrians and motorists to “Check Your Vital Signs” to improve safety on the road.
Motorists are urged to obey the speed limit and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians are told to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal where applicable.
The fifth message, “Heads Up, Phone Down,” reminds everyone to avoid distractions whether they’re driving or walking.
Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping to promote the Street Smart NJ message in Raritan should contact Det. Chris Wren at 908-725-6700, ext. 19. To learn more about the campaign, visit bestreetsmartnj.org.
The campaign is also on Facebook (StreetSmartNJ) and Twitter (@njstreetsmart).
RideWise Inc. is an independent non-profit organization that promotes efficient and sustainable travel options like public transit, ridesharing, biking and walking. The agency, based in Bridgewater, partners with businesses, municipalities, schools, communities and nonprofit agencies throughout Somerset County to address a variety of mobility issues.
RideWise assists municipalities and police departments with conducting Street Smart campaigns by providing technical assistance, education and community outreach. Learn more at www.ridewise.org