12th Annual STOP For Nikhil Raises Traffic Safety Awareness
WEST ORANGE, NJ — On Sunday, September 18, 2022, over 740 people participated in the race to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on our roadways, raising around $50,000. The event is named after an 11-year-old boy, Nikhil, who was killed in a car crash when a driver ran through a STOP sign.
The event, hosted by the Nikhil Badlani Foundation, was attended by West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi, West Orange Council members, West Orange Board of Education, West Orange School District staff, hundreds of West Orange students their families and people from all over NJ. Funds raised will go towards programs to prevent traffic deaths and nurture the musical and academic talents of children.
The event kicked off with a 5K Bike ride. Some bikers had noodles on their bike to demonstrate the NJ Safe Passing Law which went into effect on March 1, 2022. Nikhil’s scout troop, Troop 6, led the pledge of allegiance followed by the National Anthem sung by Delia Karvits, senior from West Orange High School. Mayor Robert Parisi delivered remarks and the Traffic Safety Youth Advisory Board led the participants on the STOP For NIkhil pledge, which is at the core of Nikhil’s Law. The event included a 5K Run, 3k Walk and Kids Fun Run. Bollywood and Zumba warm-ups were a big hit as well as raffle, food and STOP For Nikhil temporary tattoos.
Sangeeta Badlani, Founder of the Foundation, thanked the attendees and remarked, “You have given us a legacy that we can be proud of and one day we will have Zero traffic deaths on our roadways. Thank you for that. For giving us a platform and for making a difference.” She then presented the Annual Nikhil Badlani Inspiration award to Laura and Richard Fredricks for their courage, determined spirit and commitment to the lives and safety of others. Fredricks lost their daughter, Emily while she was biking to work and the driver of a Sanitation truck hit her.
The Nikhil Badlani Foundation called for the legislators to support Bill S2885/A4296 introduced by Senator Diegnan and Assemblyman Karabinchak that would establish a Vision Zero Task Force to study, examine and review all aspects of traffic safety with a particular focus on access, equity and mobility for all road users using the safe system approach.
“This bill, when passed, is a step towards eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries. There is no moral justification of loss of life on our roadways. One life lost in a crash is one too many. We can and must do better.” said Sangeeta Badlani Founder, Nikhil Badlani Foundation & Families For Safe Streets NJ and Co-founding member of the Vision Zero NJ Alliance.
“With each passing year, more and more new, young drivers around the state are being educated and introduced to who Nikhil was and what the Foundation stands for. The annual event is another great event for raising awareness and funds to continue to carry on the Foundation’s mission of bringing traffic safety to every driver, town and road in our state. The Township is proud to continue to support the family and Nikhil’s memory.”- Mayor Robert D. Parisi, West Orange.
“The West Orange community is very grateful to the Badlani family for the time and effort they spend each year putting together the annual STOP for Nikhil event. This year marked the 12th year for this event, and it continues to be a well-attended family event that raises funds and awareness for traffic safety initiatives,” noted West Orange HIgh School Principal Hayden. He added, “This event and its message are powerful because it helps to save lives, especially our young lives. I always look forward to participating each year with our students and the West Orange community.” – Principal Hayden Moore, West Orange High School
“Every day, every time we drive, we can honor those we’ve lost by slowing down and passing with room to spare when we spot a person on the road riding, running, walking, scooting or in a wheelchair. Follow the new NJ Safe Passing Law and treat everyone like they’re family or friends,” shared Jim Hunt, Team4 the NJ Safe Passing Law, NJ Bike/Walk Coalition.
“A focused approach to implementing the safe systems approach and vision zero across New Jersey will save lives, and the Vision Zero Task Force bill is our first step to doing so. We are so grateful to work with families like the Badlanis and the Fredricks, but no family should have to go through what they’ve experienced. We are humbled by their dedication and commitment to the safety of everyone in the state. It’s time to put an end to traffic violence.” Sonia Szczesna, Director of Active Transportation, Tri-State Transportation Campaign & Vision Zero New Jersey Alliance.
Nikhil Badlani Foundation | 22 Florence Place, West Orange, NJ 07052 | (973) 979-6804
You can support the Foundation by donating here.
Nikhil Badlani Foundation was established in 2011 in memory of an 11-year-old boy, Nikhil Badlani, who was killed in a car crash by a distracted driver. The mission of the Foundation is to raise traffic safety awareness and help children realize their dreams in academics and music.