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Posts Tagged ‘3 feet please’

Well, I just finished notifying the local hospitals that we’re going to be riding our bicycles en masse from Reno City Hall Plaza to Sparks City Hall and back. They didn’t seem too worried or inclined to staff up their emergency response machinery. Notifying them was required by the Reno Events Committee as part of giving us a permit to do the event.

What event am I talking about?

A Bicycle Parade

It’s the Bicycle Awareness Parade – a ride to celebrate new bicycle-friendly laws!

All the bicyclists in Northern Nevada (wishful thinking here) will be riding from Reno City Hall Plaza to Sparks City Hall and back on October 1st, from 9:30 until noon. Besides just having the fun of a big bike ride, we’re riding to bring awareness to the new laws affecting bicyclists that go into effect on that day:
• Prohibiting hand-held cell phone use and texting,
• Requiring motorists to give a bicyclist 3 feet of space when passing from behind, and
• Increasing penalties for a motorist causing injury to a bicyclist or pedestrian to those of reckless driving.

Imagine several hundred bicyclists, some in “3 feet please” jerseys or t-shirts, riding to promote bicycle safety! Won’t that make a big story on the evening news, telling motorists that a change in driving behavior is required!

You say you don’t have a “3 feet please” jersey to wear in the Parade? That’s okay, of course. But if you want one, there’s still time to shop online. Get a jersey or t-shirt from http://www.3feetplease.com. If you put “GoNV” in the discount box, $5.00 of the purchase price will go to the Nevada Bicycle Coalition to support safe bicycling in Nevada.

So save the date – October 1st, 9:30 ‘til noon – for a great, celebratory bicycle ride with all of your friends and neighbors.

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The PROBLEM

Nevada’s legislature passed two bicycle-friendly laws in the last session that become effective on October 1, 2011. The problem is that very few motorists know about them:

AB328 – increases penalties for a motorist who causes a pedestrian or bicyclist injury

SB248 – requires motorists to allow at least 3 feet when passing a bicyclist from behind

These laws require motorist to change behavior so it’s important that they know about them (Duh!). However, no one has enough money to mount a big advertising campaign. So, how will motorists learn about their new responsibilities?

The OPPORTUNITY

The best way to reach the motoring public, and the cheapest, is through local news coverage. Let’s do something that will be fun and attract lots of press attention. Here’s the plan:

Let’s have a parade! Imagine 200 or more bicyclists, all riding together at a relaxed, fun pace, smiling, laughing and celebrating a Nevada that is more bicycle friendly than ever. What could be a more positive image for an occasionally hostile motoring public?

On Saturday October 1st at 9:30am, let’s get every person in Reno and Sparks with a bicycle to meet at the Reno City Hall Plaza at S. Virginia and First Street. At 10:30 we’ll ride from there to the Sparks City Hall. As the bicyclists assemble, the news media can interview the bicyclists and the politicians that support bicycling and get some good pictures of people enjoying their bicycles. The actual bicycle ride from Reno to Sparks will be mostly on 4th Street and Prater Way. The return route will be mostly on the Truckee River Bike Path. It’s about an 8 mile round trip.

Ideally, there will be about 100 bicyclist wearing their “3 Feet Please” jerseys or t-shirts. Wouldn’t that make a great group picture?

Don’t have yours yet? Order one today at http://www.3feetplease.com. If you put “GoNV” in the discount code box, $5.00 of the purchase price will go to the Nevada Bicycle Coalition to support efforts to promote safe bicycling in Nevada.

To add to the fun, the Nevada Bicycle Coalition is going to give away a “3 Feet Please” jersey to one person of the first 50 bicyclists to arrive at the Plaza. So come early to pick up a prize ticket!
Thanks to the Reno Bike Project for co-sponsoring this event.

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Bale of Hay in the Road?

NCWV wrote: This law sounds awful. It is difficult to enforce and in some instances could be dangerous. What about areas where the bicyclists are riding up a two lane road where there is no bike lane going a lot slower than the other traffic. Is a car supposed to cross the yellow line just to pass? The bicyclist shouldn’t be there in the first place. The law should not punish drivers in all cases as it is not always their fault. The whole situation should be solved with education and more bike lanes not with punishment.

“Is a car supposed to cross the yellow line just to pass?”

The short answer is, “Yes”. If the obstacle in the road was a bale of hay or a farm tractor blocking the lane, wouldn’t a motorist cross the yellow line just to get around it? In rural Nevada, most motorists would cross the yellow line at 70 miles per hour and think nothing of it. The alternative in many cases is to come dangerously close to the bicycle rider. It’s a misconception that a motorist can NEVER legally cross the yellow line.

“The bicyclist shouldn’t be there in the first place.”

The only roads where bicycles are prohibited in Nevada are limited access freeways. It would be nice if there were a network of connected bike lanes but today a bicyclist has to share roads without bike lanes to get from point A to point B.

“The law should not punish drivers in all cases as it is not always their fault.”

This is a law governing how close a motorist can come to a bicyclist when passing in an otherwise lawful manner. I’m a motorist and a bicyclist and I can’t imagine a situation where, as a motorist, I would be forced to pass with less than 3 feet clearance. That’s because I can’t imagine a situation in which I would be forced to pass. Is this a “the devil made me do it” situation? In every situation where, as a bicyclist, I “took the lane” and blocked cars from passing me, I delayed motorist behind me less than one minute. In every case, I “took the lane” because the lane was too narrow for us to safely share it side by side.

“The whole situation should be solved with education…”

Exactly! The point of this legislation is to let motorists know that less than three feet is too close. I don’t think anyone is expecting a lot tickets to be written.

“… and more bike lanes…” Amen, brother!

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