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LB 38 – vulnerable road users

January 26th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Advocacy | Tags:

ghost bike
Ghost bike for Jim Johnston – 260th and West Center Road

The hearing date for LB 38 is: Wedensday, January 28 at 1:30 in Room 1113 in the Judiciary Committee.

Write to the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Les Seiler at lseiler@leg.ne.gov.

Tell the senator why you support the legislation and that you want your email to be part of the record. You need to give your name and address or it will likely get tossed.

http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/104/PDF/Intro/LB38.pdf

Looking at LB 38, besides defining a vulnerable road user, the increase in penality when caused by careless driving is a Class IV felony, instead of a Class I misdemeanor, and up to 200 hours community service.

While an improvement over the current law, driver education and more enhanced penalties should to be addressed in LB 38:

  1. There should be a requirement for remedial driving instruction on the rights and space of vulnerable road users, and testing in a vehicle driving around vulnerable road users.
  2. The current 6 month minimum license supension for causing the death of a pedestrian is a slap in the face to the family of the victim, and says that the privelidge of driving a motor vehicle is held almost as high as life itself. The minimum license suspension should be increased to three years. The maximum should be changed from 15 years to life without driving.
  3. The suspended license period should not start until the perpetrator is out of jail if they served jail time. The perpetrator needs to experience the entire suspended license period outside of jail without the priveledge of driving a car.

Here is an article on Florida’s proposed vulnerable road users’ law and additional issues they addressed:
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/2015/01/22/birth-bill-protect-cyclists-walkers/22185687/

Dale Rabideau

LB 39 – How To Make It Great.

January 23rd, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Advocacy, Commuting | Tags:

Which position in the lane do you prefer to drive from?

20150123_094422_resized 20150123_094436_resized 20150123_094500_resized

Only the first picture is currently legal under Nebraska law.

Senator Rick Kolowski introduced Nebraska LB 39 which is a great improvement over the current law. The main aspect of LB 39 is to require motor vehicles to pull completely into the next lane when passing a bike rider on a multi lane road. For any one who drives a bicycle on a divided road knows, it is always a pleasure and sign of respect when a motor vehicle pulls completely into another lane to pass.

While I highly encourage the passing of LB 39, there are two other subsections that need to be amended in order to provide cyclist with more visibility and a better position in the lane.

First, 60-6,317 (1)* requires bicyclists to drive as near the right hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable (brought to fruition with any unreasonable demands (thelawdictionar.org)).

This ‘far to the right’ (FTR) requirement creates several safety issues.

  • Riding to the right keeps a bicyclist hidden longer from those looking to cross or turn onto the lane from the rider’s right.
  • When cars are parked along the right, FTR requires cyclists to ride in the door zone.
  • Many vehicle designs and window tinting don’t allow one to see the driver’s position from behind so one can not anticipate moving out of the door’s reach when the driver is exiting the vehicle.
  • Motorcycles are taught to ride in the middle to left side of the lane in order to be better noticed by other motorists and alleviate dooring. That best practice applies to bicycles also.
  • The right or left tire track are usually the cleanest part of the lane and give more maneuverability for surface irregularities, and more options to respond to traffic situations than FTR.

Though some may argue that FTR allows exceptions to consider for safety issues, I see many riders hugging the white line through thick or thin. It seems they don’t know about the exceptions to FTR, or they believe FTR is the safest place to be regardless because that is the primary lawful lane position. Bicycle drivers need to continually examine their complete lane environment and traffic situation in order to choose the best location in the lane. Give bicycles drivers the whole lane, just like any two or four wheel motor vehicle driver. This equality will make us more thoughtful, and responsible, drivers of bicycles.

For the safest operation of one’s bicycle on the street, bicyclists should control their place in the lane as taught by the American Bicycling Education Association, Inc. Please see http://cyclingsavvy.org/2010/06/you-lead-the-dance/ for a short explanation and five minute video demonstrating the practice.

Thus, to improve the visibility, safety, and operation of the bicycle, I request the removal of the 60-6,317 (1) requirement to ride as near the right hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable in LB 39.

Second, 60-6,317 (2)** requires multiple bicyclists to follow in single file.

Since LB 39 requires vehicles move fully into the next lane to pass, coupled with the proposed removal of FTR, bicycle drivers should have the option of riding double file (one row of bikes in each tire track).

  • This would increase our visibility to both overtaking and oncoming traffic, and thereby increase our safety since visibility is the primary excuse used by motorists when they hit a cyclist.
  • The second row of bicyclists would not be taking any more lane space than a single row would be entitled to with no FTR.
  • Riding double file will halve the length of a larger group so that vehicles wanting to pass would be able to do so more quickly.
  • Finally, riding side by side allows bicyclists to talk with one another more easily, increasing the enjoyment of the ride.

Thus, I ask that 60-6,317 (2) be written to allow double file riding in the drive lane, not just on the shoulder of the road.

Removing the FTR and single file requirements will greatly improve the visibility, safety, and operation of the bicycle. These amendments follow naturally and logically from requiring passing vehicles to move completely into the next lane. Taken as a whole, they would produce the best driving options and expectations for bicyclists and motor vehicles by treating both by the same rules. Drivers of bicycles must comply with all the same rules as motor vehicles. Thus we should be treated as a slow moving motor vehicle owning, and being allowed anywhere in, the whole lane.

Dale Rabideau

* http://nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/104/PDF/Intro/LB39.pdf - page 4, line 8

** page 5, line 1

P.S.
If you agree, please write in your own words/experience the following Senators and urge them to amend the two sections and pass LB 39 to the full senate:

Sen. Rick Kolowski –introduced LB 39 – rkolowski@leg.ne.gov

Transportation & Telecommunications Committee
Sen. Jim Smith – Chairman – Omaha jsmith@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Lydia Brasch – Vice Chair – West Point lbrasch@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Al Davis – Hyannis adavis@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Tommy Garrett – Bellevue tgarrett@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Beau McCoy – Omaha bmccoy@leg.ne.gov
Sen. John Murante – Gretna jmurante@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Les Seiler – Hastings lseiler@leg.ne.gov

 

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