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Bicycle Coalition seeks legal protections

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Bicycle Coalition seeks legal protections

Old 12-27-09, 01:29 AM
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Square & Compas
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Bicycle Coalition seeks legal protections

Maybe this year we'll get this passed. It should be easier now that it has passed the Senate and one item is already covered under another law.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is again gearing up to try to get state lawmakers to pass a bicycle safety law in 2010.

A bill backed by the Bicycle Coalition passed the Iowa Senate last year, but stalled in the Iowa House. It would have stipulated that motorists are liable if they strike a cyclist when they open a car door. Mark Wyatt, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition’s executive director, says they won’t push for that part of the bill any more as they’ve been assured state law already covers that.

“That’s one of those things that we heard enough from the legislature that they believe it’s covered and that liability already would exist, so we’re not going to pursue that,” Wyatt says. “But we’re still looing at a passing distance for bicycles.”

The bill that passed the Iowa Senate this past spring would have required that motorists maintain a five-foot distance when passing a bicyclist.

“There’s 15 states currently in the United States, you know, Wisconsin and Illinois being closest to us, that require motor vehicles to pass three even five feet from a bicyclist if one is using a roadway,” Wyatt says.

Eight bicyclists were killed in collisions with vehicles on Iowa roads last year, while 430 were injured in wrecks.

Under the bill that stalled in the legislature last spring, motorists caught following a bike too closely would have faced a $25 ticket and if the cyclist gets injured, the fine would have jumped to $500. If the cyclist is killed, the fine would have been $1000.

The coalition’s “Iowa Bicycle Summit” is scheduled on Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30 in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center.


https://www.radioiowa.com/2009/12/25/...l-protections/
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Old 12-27-09, 03:08 PM
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Not sure what this 5-foot rule would mean practically. When it was discussed on local TV stations this summer, I noticed quite a few vehicles giving wide berth. However as time went on, this phenomenon passed. It would be great if they passed in the adjacent lane. Cause otherwise, I have no idea how a car knows the difference betwee 3 or 5 feet as they pass.

And the bigger the vehicle, the poorer their sense of distance appears to be.
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Old 12-27-09, 06:34 PM
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Make it simpler -- "change lanes to pass", or "do not pass" -- two choices for every road. If we are supposed to have the same rights (and duties, yes I know) as motor vehicles, then changing lanes to pass should be a no-brainer. Kinda hard for a car to pass another car and still stay in the same lane....

Hey, I can dream, can't I?
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Old 12-27-09, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
Make it simpler -- "change lanes to pass", or "do not pass" -- two choices for every road. If we are supposed to have the same rights (and duties, yes I know) as motor vehicles, then changing lanes to pass should be a no-brainer. Kinda hard for a car to pass another car and still stay in the same lane....
So no sharing the lane? There is one road I use to get to work that is very wide. Very easy for a car to pass and give me three feet of clearance. On one side of the road, they could give me 5 feet. In my state, cars are allowed to cross the double yellow to pass a slow moving vehicle, if that vehicle is going less than 1/2 the speed limit, have good sight lines and it is safe. This road is kind of curvy and I always travel faster than 1/2 the speed limit. Cars would not be allowed to cross the double on this road. But they can easily share the lane with me on this road and pass with plenty of clearance.

I think it would be kind of silly not to allow passing/sharing on such a road.
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Old 12-27-09, 07:06 PM
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I don't think most people could put the right hand side of their car between 3 and 5 feet from a given object if you paid them $20 to do so. Most people seem to have no idea where the right hand side of their car is. We have a narrow stone railway bridge that the roadway passes under on my route to work, and though there is ample room for two cars to pass side-by-side (with about 3 feet clearance on either side and between the vehicles) many drivers refuse to try it. Some will just wait on the far side until oncoming traffic clears, then drive through, and when they do drive through, they swing FAR over so that the driver's side is much closer to that side of the bridge; their car is perhaps 5 feet from the driver's side and 12 feet from the passenger side.

This leads me to believe that some of them really can't judge where the passenger side of the car is.
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Old 12-27-09, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
So no sharing the lane? There is one road I use to get to work that is very wide. Very easy for a car to pass and give me three feet of clearance. On one side of the road, they could give me 5 feet. In my state, cars are allowed to cross the double yellow to pass a slow moving vehicle, if that vehicle is going less than 1/2 the speed limit, have good sight lines and it is safe. This road is kind of curvy and I always travel faster than 1/2 the speed limit. Cars would not be allowed to cross the double on this road. But they can easily share the lane with me on this road and pass with plenty of clearance.

I think it would be kind of silly not to allow passing/sharing on such a road.
I think that one of the problems that we have is that some people do interpret sharing the road with sharing the lane. As you pointed out there are roads with only one lane of travel in each direction that are too narrow to safely share with another vehicle. On roads with multiple lanes in each direction of travel cars should move over the the adjacent lane to pass just as they would for another car or a motorcycle. It's really not asking for too much.

Sharing the road doesn't necessarily mean sharing the lane. To me at least sharing the road means that we cyclists have as much right to be on the road and are entitled to the full use of the lane just as any other road user. Drivers, LEOs and judges need to learn and understand this.
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Old 12-27-09, 10:17 PM
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I agree Digital Cowboy. But, I didn't point out that there are roads with only one lane of travel in each direction that are too narrow to safely pass, though there are many of those around here. The road I was talking about has one lane of travel in each direction but is very wide. If the "change lanes to pass" were enacted, cars would not be able to pass me legally, even though it would be very safe to do so.

On roads with multiple lanes that are too narrow to share, I like the idea of change lanes to pass. I do take the lanes on such roads. I also prefer these roads to ride on. I ride in a position that tries to encourage a full lane change to pass. Most drivers do, some will buzz me, but they would buzz me no matter what.

I would much rather all roads were multiple lane ones that were too narrow to share and the "change lanes to pass" was the law. It would make things less complicated and I believe nicer to ride.
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Old 12-28-09, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
I agree Digital Cowboy. But, I didn't point out that there are roads with only one lane of travel in each direction that are too narrow to safely pass, though there are many of those around here. The road I was talking about has one lane of travel in each direction but is very wide. If the "change lanes to pass" were enacted, cars would not be able to pass me legally, even though it would be very safe to do so.

On roads with multiple lanes that are too narrow to share, I like the idea of change lanes to pass. I do take the lanes on such roads. I also prefer these roads to ride on. I ride in a position that tries to encourage a full lane change to pass. Most drivers do, some will buzz me, but they would buzz me no matter what.

I would much rather all roads were multiple lane ones that were too narrow to share and the "change lanes to pass" was the law. It would make things less complicated and I believe nicer to ride.
Sorry for the confusion.

Yes, it would be nice if was possible to have roads with at least two lanes of travel for each direction, but sadly for most if not all residential roads that wouldn't be very practical. As it would increase the danger to people living in and walking through their neighborhoods.

As has been said numerous times what we need is education, education, education. There needs to be questions on the driver's license test about bicycle operation and safety. So that drivers know that bicycles are legally allowed on the road. We also need bicycle safety/education PSAs on TV & Radio and in the newspapers.

I mean what good is passing laws like the 3' law if the state's don't educate people as to it's existence? Or the campaign in Ca and other states where cyclists by law have the right to take the lane if again those states don't educate it's citizens of the existence of said law?

Also as has been said, the schools need to involve themselves in teaching bicycle safety, at all grade levels. They also need to hold at least once if not twice a year bike rodeos. Where they can give away helmets, vests, and check bikes for reflectors and/or lights. And other "little" things.

Little things like that that can and will show bicycling in a positive light.
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Old 12-28-09, 03:46 PM
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I agree with most of what you say, Digital_Cowboy. Especially about educating people about the laws. Like I said, my state allows crossing the double yellow under certain conditions that all must meet: it's safe, you can see far enough ahead, the vehicle in front is going slower than half the speed limit. How many motorist or even cyclists do you think know this law? I would have to guess a very small minority.

I was reading the comment section of an newspaper article about a car running into a horse drawn carriage. One of the comments was that they can't pass because of the double yellow lines. Not one of the later comments corrected this misinformation. I can only assume that no one on that site knew the law.
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Old 12-28-09, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
So no sharing the lane? There is one road I use to get to work that is very wide. Very easy for a car to pass and give me three feet of clearance. On one side of the road, they could give me 5 feet. In my state, cars are allowed to cross the double yellow to pass a slow moving vehicle, if that vehicle is going less than 1/2 the speed limit, have good sight lines and it is safe. This road is kind of curvy and I always travel faster than 1/2 the speed limit. Cars would not be allowed to cross the double on this road. But they can easily share the lane with me on this road and pass with plenty of clearance.

I think it would be kind of silly not to allow passing/sharing on such a road.
Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
I didn't point out that there are roads with only one lane of travel in each direction that are too narrow to safely pass, though there are many of those around here. The road I was talking about has one lane of travel in each direction but is very wide. If the "change lanes to pass" were enacted, cars would not be able to pass me legally, even though it would be very safe to do so.

On roads with multiple lanes that are too narrow to share, I like the idea of change lanes to pass. I do take the lanes on such roads. I also prefer these roads to ride on. I ride in a position that tries to encourage a full lane change to pass. Most drivers do, some will buzz me, but they would buzz me no matter what.

I would much rather all roads were multiple lane ones that were too narrow to share and the "change lanes to pass" was the law. It would make things less complicated and I believe nicer to ride.
Your extra-wide single lane scenario is valid, I'm quite sure; just remember, there can be exceptions to EVERY rule. That sounds like one; wish there were some roads like that around HERE, I'd LOVE to see that!
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Old 12-28-09, 09:25 PM
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FRAP laws rely on sharing the lane where safe to do so. If it's unsafe, that's when a bicycle can take the lane. That's the way our TN law reads.

I'd be happy if they'd pass in the other lane when I'm doing 55 on a motorcycle. Some motorists seem completely incapable of driving well!
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Old 12-28-09, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
I agree with most of what you say, Digital_Cowboy. Especially about educating people about the laws. Like I said, my state allows crossing the double yellow under certain conditions that all must meet: it's safe, you can see far enough ahead, the vehicle in front is going slower than half the speed limit. How many motorist or even cyclists do you think know this law? I would have to guess a very small minority.
It seems that sadly, some of those who really need education are the LEO's. As I said in another posting, I had an encounter with a LEO about a year ago who apparently did not know that under the right circumstances that cyclists are entitled to take the lane. We've also seen this problem in other posts/cases. Such as Selz v Tortwood and several other cases.

Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
I was reading the comment section of an newspaper article about a car running into a horse drawn carriage. One of the comments was that they can't pass because of the double yellow lines. Not one of the later comments corrected this misinformation. I can only assume that no one on that site knew the law.
Did you correct their misconception?
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Old 12-28-09, 11:46 PM
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No, I didn't correct their misconception. This is because I have to register to post comments and I didn't feel like registering.
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