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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Proposed law would force cyclists off roads on federal land and onto paths [LAB]

The draft of the Senate’s transportation authorization (S. 1813 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) has been a bit of a disappointment for cyclists. It reduces funding for dedicated bicycling programs and allows state departments of transportation an opt-out for spending it. However, even aside from funding, there is an egregious clause that has rightly upset cyclists.
Section § 203 (d) (p. 226), the part dealing with the “Federal lands transportation program”, states:
(d) BICYCLE SAFETY.—The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road.
Sign the petition to tell the Senate to remove this clause.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This paragraph would introduce a mandatory sidepath law on roads in our National Parks and other Federal lands.
For those unfamiliar with this term, it’s a provision that used to be found in a lot of state vehicle codes that says that when a sidepath (bike path, trail) is provided for cyclists, they have to use it and can’t ride on the parallel roadway. Over the past 20 years, the number of states with this law still on their books has dwindled to just a handful. The problem with the provision is that the restriction applies regardless of the quality, safety, and utility of the path provided; it disregards the needs of cyclists to be on the roadway to access shops, services etc.; and ignores our fundamental right to the road.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this and bringing it to all of your reader's attention. I was very glad to be able to sign this petition.

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