NCDOT has released a draft report of recommendations for the H232 Bicycle Safety Law Study. The draft report includes recommendations that differ substantially from the recommendations of the H232 committee. For instance, the NCDOT report recommends legislation limiting riding abreast (the committee voted unanimously against such legislation) and recommends legislation requiring bicyclists to ride on the right side of marked travel lane (the committee took no action on this issue; BikeWalk NC had prepared comments on lane positioning but was not given the opportunity to present them).
The Draft report may be read here: http://www.bikewalknc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/H-232-report.pdf
The Draft Appendices to the report may be read here: http://www.bikewalknc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Appendices_sm.pdf
NCDOT’s page that includes committee meeting minutes is here: http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/lawspolicies/
BikeWalk NC urges cyclists in NC to review the draft report and send NCDOT comments before December 29. BikeWalk NC recommends that no new legislation be promoted to restrict where a bicyclist may ride within a marked travel lane or riding abreast within a single marked travel lane.
Please email questions and comments to NCDOT (at firstname.lastname@example.org) by 5:00 p.m. on December 29, 2015. Include “H232 Comments” in the title. Comments should be addressed to “NCDOT” or to the “Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee.” Email comments will be included as an addendum to the appendix. The final report and appendix will be sent to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee by December 31, 2015.
BikeWalk NC Recommendation:
We recommend that supporters email NCDOT via the feedback address – email@example.com – and tell them:
(1) Restricting solo bicyclists to the right half of marked travel lanes interferes with defensive bicycling practices such as lane control, staying safely out of the door zone of parked cars, improving visibility at junctions (to deter left-cross and drive-out collisions), and avoiding right-hook crashes. Taking away half of bicyclists’ existing travel lane rights encourages police and motorist harassment of safe cyclists and invites legal problems for cyclists via the state’s contributory negligence law.
(2) The riding abreast issue should be handled with public education on safe group riding practices as the committee recommended. The committee voted unanimously against recommending new regulation that would limit riding side-by-side within a single lane. The committee felt that existing law is sufficient for cyclists who exercise safe side-by-side cycling and that new regulations on cycling abreast within a single lane would create unnecessary enforcement problems, particularly when groups of cyclists rotate and where they stop at traffic signals.
(3) Allowing or encouraging each municipality to enact and enforce its own local regulations and permitting process for group rides creates a bureaucratic nightmare for ride organizers, whose rides can easily pass through several different municipalities and is insensitive to those who worked diligently to produce a sensible and practical permitting process at the state level.
Note that NCDOT employee Brian Poole (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the messenger here and not the author of the things we find objectionable in the report. Please be respectful to Brian and give him substantive feedback that can be forwarded to the report author(s).
Lastly, note that posting comments on our (BikeWalk NC) site below, while appreciated, does not send feedback to NCDOT. Use email@example.com or otherwise contact the Bike/Ped division to provide feedback to NCDOT.