Updated at 2:05 p.m.: State Sen. Butch Miller just told me that he has a substitute for SB 468 that should satisfy all parties. Will post as soon as I receive it. Cycling lobbyists in the Capitol have turned off their alarm bells.
Original: We’ve got a road war brewing in the state Capitol.
Cyclists are putting out the word that a bill to mandate single-file riding on all Georgia roads – absent specific government permission – was introduced Tuesday and is already up for a 3 p.m. hearing in Room 450 of the Capitol.
That’s a sign that SB 468, sponsored by Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, is on a fast track. Miller is the immediate past chairman of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association.
It’s an interesting topic, given that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has recently taken up cycling. One wonders if it may be a reaction to a victory won by cyclists last year, when lawmakers passed, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed, a bill to require motorists to maintain at least 3 feet of distance when passing bicyclists. Previously, Georgia traffic laws required only that drivers keep “a safe distance.”
From the talking-point sheet that cyclists are circulating:
– Cyclists riding side by side are much more visible to motorists, which decreases the chances of an accident.
– Parents riding beside their children can provide a valuable safety buffer between young riders and automobile traffic.
– 47 states allow side-by-side riding. Thirty-nine states have explicitly approved two-abreast riding.
– Riding side by side is already illegal in every state when it unnecessarily impedes traffic.
– Riding side by side is the most practical way for cyclists to communicate with each other. Riding side by side is essential for sharing safety advice and directions.
– Two abreast riding is a defining characteristic of most bicycle club rides and events. Bicycle club members learn positive bicycling behaviors and practices from each other as they ride. The accident rate for a bicycle club member is five times lower than the average for other cycling adults.
– In a large group of cyclists, two abreast riding shortens the line of cyclists for cars to pass. It is much easier to pass two rows of 10 bikes than one row 20 bicycles long.
– Bicycle riding is a social activity. Riding two abreast is a fundamental aspect of an enjoyable ride.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider