Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rules for Cycling in the Right Direction

Three new cycling ordinances took effect here in Indianapolis as of January 1. They provide that bike lanes are for the exclusive use of cyclists, prohibit the driving, standing, or parking of motor vehicles in bike lanes, and require that cars pass cyclists with at least three feet of clearance. If actually enforced, these new rules should enhance cyclist safety in the Circle City (at least in the few areas of the city with passable cycling lanes). 

I would still like to see the State of Indiana enact a statute similar to one adopted more than a quarter-century ago in the State of Idaho (see here). That law (among other things) allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, unless a full stop is required for safety; they must come to a full stop at stop lights, but need not wait for the light to turn green to proceed, if no traffic is approaching. These common-sense rules actually enhance cycling safety by implicitly recognizing that stopping and restarting bikes at stop signs and lights can be more dangerous than slowing and continuing. They also comport with the existing social norms of cyclists. Most importantly, cycling attorney and advocate Ray Thomas notes that "Idaho bicycle-collision statistics confirm that the Idaho law has resulted in no discernable increase in injuries or fatalities to bicyclists" (see here).

Hat tip: Jimmie Foster

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