According to Patch.com, a 14-year-old teenager riding a bicycle on July 12th was struck and killed trying the cross US 322 in Williamstown, Monroe Township. Our deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends. Zero is the only acceptable number for traffic deaths.
In the report, Monroe Township Police assigned blame to the victim saying that she failed to yield the right of way to traffic. She allegedly exited the Wawa at the vehicular entrance from Route 322 to cross to the median and was struck by a driver in the inside westbound lane. While a child may have made a mistake, the penalty for making one should not be death. The convenience of assigning blame to the victim admonishes our civic leaders from taking any action and will not prevent it from happening again.
In New Jersey, half of all traffic fatalities and serious injuries occur on State roads, which make up only 7% of the road miles in the state. While that is a depressing statistic, it creates the opportunity to put focus on the most dangerous roads.
A Google Maps satellite and Street View images suggest that the median away from the intersection may serve as a cut-through for pedestrians and bicyclists (as well as a location for illegal u-turns). The crossing distance is about 30 to 35 feet to the median on both sides. At the intersection crossing distance between the curb cuts is an incredible 144 feet nearly half the length of a football field. The legal crosswalk is at an acute angle with a much longer crossing distance. There is even a weird crosswalk intersection in the roadway. The road designers rounded a corner that favored wide turns for large vehicles but increased exposure for vulnerable road users. They also failed to take advantage of the wide median which would have created a refuge safety island. 322 also lacks crosswalks beyond the Wawa making it almost impossible for pedestrians to access from the east.
We call on NJDOT and Gloucester County to perform a road safety audit to assess the safety and comfort for pedestrians and bicyclists at the 322/536 intersection. The store is near the end of the Monroe Township Bike Path and lots of local children and adults alike ride bikes to get around Williamstown,