By Chloe Yopp // Communications Intern
New York City-to-Philadelphia Greenway Ride participant Rebecca Feldman has enjoyed cycling throughout various points in her life. She loves being able to experience nature and explore new places on her bike. But as she got back into road cycling as an adult and mother, she became aware of the importance of getting home safely, and the ability to let her children get out on bikes and safely experience an adventure.
“As I got back out there, I sensed that more and more roads were not being viewed as intended for all users, but only for drivers,” Feldman said.
Once she did more research, Feldman learned that New Jersey is one of only eight states that does not have a minimum safe passing distance law. This means there is currently no legislation telling drivers how to pass cyclists safely on the roads.
As the former President of the Morristown Council and an avid cyclist, Feldman knew she needed to get involved with the movement to enact safe passing legislation in New Jersey. This led her to team up with the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and help them advocate for this legislation to be passed.
Feldman will be completing the East Coast Greenway’s NYC-to-PHL Greenway Ride as part of a group known as the Team4NJ, which is part of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. The group started prior to the event, and originally came together to build a group of riders around the state of New Jersey who would be lobbying and advocating for the NJSafe Passing Law.
“All of us on the Team4NJ are very much in support of the creation of off-road places to walk and ride bikes, so the Greenway Ride seemed like a logical extension of our mission,” Feldman said.
In May, the NJBWC was among the groups who testified before the New Jersey Senate Law & Public Safety Committee regarding the NJSafe Passing Law. And in June, the NJSafe Passing Law passed in the New Jersey Senate with a 34-1 vote, following unanimous approval (68-0) in the Assembly. The bill is now on its way to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for signing into law.
While this past year has been very tough, Feldman said she has seen an increase in the number of cyclists and users of trails around the state. “Getting outdoors and being active with other people is vital to mental health and physical health.”
“The NYC-to-Philly Ride is so important because it shows how the Greenway can connect all kinds of communities that, until now, have been absolutely locked in and unable to move because of the unsafe roads,” Feldman said.
The NYC-to-PHL Greenway Ride, hosted by East Coast Greenway Alliance, will take place on August 28-29. Click here for more information on the event and to register.
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