Legal Protection For Cyclists?


Spurred by testimony from a grieving mother [whose son was killed by a car while cycling], a state House panel on Monday approved legislation aimed at making it safer for bicycle riders using Louisiana roads.

The measure, House Bill 725, would require motorists to allow at least three feet of space when passing bicycles.

It would also make it illegal for motorists to harass, taunt or throw objects at cyclists. Violators would face fines of up to $200 and 30 days in jail.

Without the sad story, I’d say no way this becomes law. Bikes, for whatever reason, seem to cause irrational hatred among non-cyclists around here. It’s not just “I don’t ride a bike.” It’s “I don’t ride a bike, I hate anyone who does and I will fight against anything that would benefit cyclists in any way.” The bill, though, is named after a med student who was training for a triathlon when some p.o.s ran him over and killed him. Can’t get more sympathetic than that.

Of course, I’m not sure even I support the whole thing. I’d like to know what they mean by “harass” and “taunt.” If those terms would include simply yelling “Hey faggot, get out of the road” I’d oppose the bill. As much as I’d like to chase down and beat the crap out of people who say things like that, and as much as they deserve it, I don’t want to criminalize mere words.

The rest is good, though I would make the penalty MUCH stiffer for throwing things at a cyclist. That’s intentionally putting people’s lives at risk.

As for enforceability, it’s low. The chances of remembering a tag number after someone sideswipes you are small. The chances of the local cops giving a rip are even smaller. The most this bill can do is educate non-cyclists about how to behave properly around bikes. That would still be a big help.

Explore posts in the same categories: Sports - Cycling

2 Comments on “Legal Protection For Cyclists?”

  1. Greenshirt Says:

    People somehow believe they ARE their car. When they drive a large vehicle, the think THEY are large. When they roar past a cyclist, they think it is THEM doing the roaring, rather than their cylinders. It is silly but everyone is prone to it.

  2. Wheeler Says:

    there’s also a lot of people who try to give cyclists enough room but don’t simply because they can’t drive.

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