Bike Michiana

resources, news, observations and ideas about bicycling in the Michiana area

Indiana Bicycle Safety Legislation to Be Introduced

Posted by Paul Taylor on August 22, 2008

Senator John Broden, whose 10th district includes portions of St. Joseph County, plans to submit a bicycle safety bill in the next General Assembly Session. The 2009 session will start in January.

In the opinion of many bikers, Indiana has some antiquated biking laws which need clean-up, but there are some safety provisions that are lacking. In an earlier post on this web site, the bike law issue was broached: the topic was Is It Time To Update Indiana Bike Laws? . I would encourage all bikers who disagree with the proposed revisions in that thread, to make your voice heard by posting a comment. By the same token, list provisions that you think should be added.

I’m not a lawyer, but by my reckoning, there are a minimum of 18 steps to get a law passed. Here are the first 5, according to the website:
1. An idea is developed (We have already started that process with some specific points as I mentioned earlier)
2. A bill is drafted (This is done by a state agency at Senator Broden’s request)
3. The bill is introduced (Once the bill has been drafted and approved by the cycling community, the Senator will introduce it. It will be assigned a Bill Number. Ideally other Senators will be co-sponsors.)
4. The bill has its First Reading in the house of origin (Here’s where the cycling community really goes into action contacting our Representatives and Senators to drum up support. This will be a statewide effort. If the bill doesn’t get adequate support, it will not receive a reading: it will die.)

While steps 3 & 4 are taking place in the Senate, the same thing will be happening in the House of Representatives. We have yet to determine what Representative(s) will sponsor.

One Response to “Indiana Bicycle Safety Legislation to Be Introduced”

  1. Adam Bee said

    I’m generally against laws that put new requirements on cyclists. I’m generally for laws which protect cyclists from drivers. No to new obligations, yes to new rights.

    There are several reasons for that stance, but the two most important are:
    1. Cyclists don’t pose much of a danger to other road users if they don’t follow the rules, only inconvenience at best. That’s why there aren’t many laws restricting the behavior of pedestrians (but many laws which protect pedestrians).

    2. There already exists a climate of police bias and driver harassment, sometimes with deadly effects. Giving drivers and police more reasons to ignore cyclists’ rights seems like a mistake.

    Helmet use is a big part of that–if you’re struck while obeying every law and riding safely but you happen not to have a helmet, it seems that police and prosecutors are much less likely to take up your case. Even in Pat Sawyer’s case some folks wanted to “blame the victim” with comments like “Why was he even on the road?”

    As bicycle advocates, I think our job is to protect cyclists’ rights, not the opposite. Let’s try to increase safe riding habits through education and encouragement, not enforcement.

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