Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pending bike-friendly legislation in Idaho

If you are an Idaho resident and a cyclist, it would be in your interest to familiarize yourself with these bills that are pending in this year's Legislature. And to contact lawmakers to express your support, if you support them.

Senate Bill 1348 - establishes a "3 foot buffer zone" requirement for passing bicycles. (Similar to laws recently passed in 18 other states.) Makes it legal for motorists to cross a double-yellow line to pass a cyclist or pedestrian. Mandates that cyclists who are impeding traffic must pull off to the side, when safe to do so.

Senate Bill 1349 - requires bicycles to have at least one brake. Requires cyclists to transition from sidewalk to roadway in a safe manner. (Duh!)

Senate Bill 1350 - makes it a misdemeanor to deliberately harass or throw stuff at cyclists. (Big duh!!)

Senate Bill 1351 - Establishes a "Safe Routes to School" funding mechanism.

Some personal commentary: The first three bills are "mirror images" of laws that were recently enacted by unanimous vote in Boise. They are pretty common-sense. The only possible reservation I have with them is... do we really need those laws when it's so common-sense? Do we have to define that it's a crime to throw stuff at a cyclist, or that a cyclist can't legally come blasting off a sidewalk into the path of traffic?

(I would like to see the first one - 1348 - get passed, mainly so motorists can legally cross the double yellow line when overtaking a pedestrian or cyclist. It's common practice, even though it's technically against the law. Ironically, there is a law that says you must move into the adjacent lane when overtaking a law enforcement officer on the side of the road... which conflicts with the law that says you can't move into the adjacent lane, if there's a double yellow line.)

I'm not informed enough about the "Safe Routes to School" thing to offer an informed opinion. The goal sounds noble indeed, but if funding is involved I don't give it much hope, at least in 2010. Ain't gonna be no funds for anything, this year!

I've uploaded a PDF file - HERE - prepared by the Idaho Safe Cycling folks. It has more info on each of the bills, and also contact info for the key legislators. (My senator - Elliot Werk - crafted the bills, so I'm pretty confident he's on board.)

No comments: