Indiana Bicycle Legislation – minor tweaks make major moves

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Indiana Bicycle Legislation – minor tweaks make major moves

The team has completed a working document, which contains all the legal changes they’ve agreed to. This is far from the final bill, but all the issues have been discussed, and are ready for a detailed review. The team’s goal is to make Indiana a more bicycle friendly state, largely by making it a more bicycle safe state. 

 

Next Steps

  1. The team will review the proposal as it now stands, and make refinements
  2. After the refinements, the proposal will be sent to the “Legislative Services Agency” to be given formal wording and section numbers
  3. Meanwhile the team will work with legislators and others around the state to garner support.

 

Executive Summary.

You can read the details in the following chart, but here are the high points.

A.    Cyclists continue to have all the right and responsibilities of motor vehicles, with the exception of certain provisions as listed in the law.

B.     If there is a painted bike lane,

o       motorists may not block it, and must yield to bikers

o       bikers must use it except to pass another bike or avoid an obstruction

C.     If there is only a recreational bike/ped side path, the cyclists may use the side path or the roadway

D.    Cyclists may continue to ride two abreast

E.     At night, a tail light is required. Formerly only a rear reflector was required. Headlights continue to be required, but either light may be steady or flashing.

F.      Helmets are required for cyclist 17 and under. This is consistent with the Indiana motorcycle law. Indiana now joins twenty other states in requiring helmets for children

G.    The definition of bicycle was changed to include adult tricycles, while excluding children’s ride-on toys.

H.    Make it clear that a bicyclist on a sidewalk, path or crosswalk has all the rights of a pedestrian, but must yield to pedestrians

I.       Drop the provision that riders must remain seated at all times.

J.       Update the language in the ‘towing rule’, which is meant to prohibit bikers from hanging on to or being towed by a motor vehicle. Specifically, replace the terms ‘Street Car’, ‘Coaster’, and ‘Roller Skates’ with more modern generic terms.

K.    Eliminate the rule prohibiting cyclists from carrying packages or bundles.

L.     Eliminate the rule requiring bikes to be equipped with a bell, while prohibiting whistles.

M.   Revise the requirement that a wheel with a brake be able to skid.

N.    Increase the penalty to motorists for violating these provisions

O.    Turn Signals for cyclists

o       The turn signal no longer needs to be given continuously for 200 or 300 feet

o       Right turns may, at the discretion of the cyclist, signal a right turn by extending the right arm

o       Lane changes may be signaled in the same manner as turn signals, except that a lane change to the right would be signaled by extending the right arm

o       ‘Slow’ or ‘Stop’ signals may be made with either arm.

P.      Motorists must now give the cyclist a minimum of 3-foot clearance when passing

Q.    If a bicycle is unable to ‘trip’ a red traffic light, the rider may treat the red light the same as a red flashing light.

R.     A cyclist 18 or over must carry some form of ID. It may be anything that will allow civic officials to determine the name and address of the rider.

S.      It is unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. Violation could result in jail time.

 

Proposed legislation

#

Subject

Action

Provision

1

Riding on the Road

Adopt SC wording but add “or preferential”

Section SC 56-5-3410. The provisions of this article are applicable to bicycles whenever a bicycle is operated upon any highway or upon any path set aside for the exclusive or preferential use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated in this article. Section 56-5-3420. A person riding a bicycle upon a roadway must be granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special provisions in this article and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

2

Roads Closed to Bicycles

Adopt SC wording, with minor modification.

Section SC 56-5-3425. (A) For purposes of this section, ‘bicycle lane’ means a portion of the roadway or a paved lane separated from the roadway that has been designated by striping, pavement markings, and signage for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists. (B) Whenever a bicycle lane has been provided adjacent to a roadway, operators of :(1) motor vehicles may not block the bicycle lane to oncoming bicycle traffic and shall yield to a bicyclist in the bicycle lane before entering or crossing the lane; and (2) bicycles are required to ride in the bicycle lane except when necessary to pass another person riding a bicycle or to avoid an obstruction in the bicycle lane. However, bicyclists may ride on the roadway when there is only an adjacent recreational bicycle or bicycle/pedestrian path available instead of a bicycle lane.

3

Children Bicycling

Keep the Indiana wording

The parent of a child and the guardian of a protected person may not authorize or knowingly permit the child or protected person to violate this chapter

4

Riding Side by Side

Keep the Indiana wording, but add the clause “preferential or”

Sec. 6. A person riding a bicycle upon a roadway may not ride more than two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles.

5

Riding at Night

Keep the Indiana law, except: 1) add a requirement for a tail light (currently it is optional), 2) make the time period sunset to sunrise (this is consistent with motor vehicles and off-road vehicle requirements), 3) allow generator lights which only work when the bike wheel is turning, 4) add a liability exclusion clause. The team dropped any attempt to be specific on how bright the lights must be, and decided on 500 feet, as this is a common, although vague, standard among many states.

Sec. 9. A bicycle in motion on a highway from sunset until sunrise must be equipped with the following:  (1) A lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred (500) feet to the front. (2) A lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred (500) feet to the rear.  (3) Either light may be steady or flashing. (4) Liability Exclusion (see Note A)

6

Bicycle Helmets

Indiana bicycle law should be consistent with motorcycle law, thus we will use the motorcycle law, substituting bicycle for motorcycle, as needed. This means anyone 17 and under must have a helmet. See IC 9-21-10-9. See http://www.bhsi.org/cpscstd.htm

Sec. 9. If a person who is less than eighteen (18) years of age is operating or riding on a bicycle on the streets or highways, the person shall wear protective headgear meeting the minimum standards set by the National Consumer Product Safety Commission. (1) Liability Exclusion (see Note A)

7

Shoulder vs. Bike Lane

Adopt SC wording, which eliminates a mandatory side path law and clarifies right-of-way in Bike lanes.

Section 56-5-3425. (A) For purposes of this section, ‘bicycle lane’ means a portion of the roadway or a paved lane separated from the roadway that has been designated by striping, pavement markings, and signage for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists. (B) Whenever a bicycle lane has been provided adjacent to a roadway, operators of: (1) motor vehicles may not block the bicycle lane to oncoming bicycle traffic and shall yield to a bicyclist in the bicycle lane before entering or crossing the lane; and (2) bicycles are required to ride in the bicycle lane except when necessary to pass another person riding a bicycle or to avoid an obstruction in the bicycle lane. However, bicyclists may ride on the roadway when there is only an adjacent recreational bicycle path available instead of a bicycle lane.

8

Bicycle.

Use the SC definition, except say ‘human power’ rather than ‘pedals, and ‘ride-on toys’ rather than ‘tricycles’. This revision ensures that the following adult bicycles are covered by the statutes:

  • bikes with three wheels
  • arm power vehicles used by some handicapped persons

Section 56-5-160. A bicycle is a device propelled solely by human power, operated by one or more persons, and having two or more wheels, except children’s ride-on toys.

9

Bicycle safety.

The intent of this topic was to require the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to include bike/motor-vehicle road sharing issues in the driver’s manual and on the driver’s test. Ultimately, the team decided that the topic should be dropped because it would have a fiscal impact, and would meet resistance, jeopardizing passage of the bill. Also, the Indiana Bicycle Coalition is working with the BMV to introduce such provisions, though not required by law.

 

10

Crosswalks.

Maintain the current law, but add a provision specific to bikes in bike/pedestrian paths, and bikes in crosswalks.

 

Thus add “When a bicycle is on a sidewalk, shared use path, or crosswalk, it has all the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian, except that it must yield to pedestrians.”

 

The team considered prefacing the above with “When a bicycle is on the roadway, it has all the rights and responsibilities of a motor vehicle. (Except as stated elsewhere in this section).” But decided that would be redundant with issue #1 above.

 

Sec. 37. Notwithstanding other provisions of this article or a local ordinance, a person who drives a vehicle shall do the following:  (1) Exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or a person propelling a human powered vehicle, giving an audible signal when necessary.     (2) Exercise proper caution upon observing a child or an obviously confused, incapacitated, or intoxicated person.

 

NEW: When a bicycle is on a sidewalk, shared use path, or crosswalk, it has all the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian, except that it must yield to pedestrians.

13

seats; passengers

This law is intended to keep youngsters from doing BMX and trick riding, and passenger ferrying on public streets. But it went too far. The team would eliminate the provision to require persons to remain seated at all times. Specifically drop “(b) A person may not ride upon a bicycle unless seated under this section.”

Sec. 3. (a) A person propelling a bicycle may not: (1) ride other than upon the permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle; or (2) carry any other person upon the bicycle who is not seated upon a firmly attached and regular seat on the bicycle.

14

Number of passengers

Keep the current provision. The team agreed that child carriers were permitted under this section since the bicycle and carrier are specifically designed for carrying a passenger. Once attached to a bicycle, the child carrier is a permanent and regular seat.

Sec. 4. A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one (1) time than the number for which the bicycle is designed and equipped.

15

Attachment to street car or vehicle; prohibition

Replace “street car or vehicle” with “motor vehicle”. Replace “a coaster, roller skates, or a toy vehicle” with “non motorized or toy vehicle”

Sec. 5. A person upon a bicycle, non-motorized or toy vehicle may not attach the bicycle, non-motorized or toy vehicle or the person to a motor vehicle upon a roadway.

16

Packages, bundles, or other articles preventing proper use of handlebars

IC 9-21-11-7 will be completely deleted. This will make Indiana consistent with most other states.

 

17

Bell or other audible signaling devices; sirens; whistles

IC 9-21-11-8 will be completely eliminated, thus a bell is no longer required. The law is also partly redundant in that other provisions of traffic law make it unlawful to use a siren.

 

18

Brakes

The team agreed to leave this as-is. However I have a problem with that, so I am changing “make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement” to “stop the bicycle within a reasonable distance”.

IC 9-21-11-10 Brakes
    
Sec. 10. A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that will enable the person who operates the bicycle to
stop the bicycle within a reasonable distance.

19

Violations

Keep IC 9-21-11-14, but add additional penalties for certain violations

IC 9-21-11-14 Violations Section 56-5-3500. (A) Except as otherwise provided, in the absence of another violation being cited, a violation of this article by the driver of a motor vehicle commits a Class C infraction and is subject to a civil fine of up to one hundred dollars unless a bicyclist is injured as a result of the violation.

(B) In the absence of another violation being cited, a person driving a motor vehicle who violates a provision of this article and the violation is the proximate cause of a:

(1) minor injury to a bicyclist, must be assessed a civil fine of up to five hundred dollars; or

(2) great bodily injury, to a bicyclist, must be assessed a civil fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

20

Signals

Replace IC-9-21-8-5 with SC law, with an addition. The team agreed to simply replace “turn” with “turn or lane change”, but that didn’t work for a lane change to the right, so I added provision 4.

 

The new law will allow the rider to 1) signal a right turn by extending the right arm, 2) give the signal as required, not continuously for 200 or 300 feet, 3) spells out lane-change signals.

SC 56-5-3480

(A)(1) A bicyclist shall indicate a right turn by extending the left arm upward, by raising the left arm to the square, or by extending the right arm horizontally to the right.

(2) A bicyclist shall indicate a left turn by extending the left arm horizontally.

(3) A bicyclist shall indicate stopping or decreasing speed by extending the left arm or the right arm downward.

(4) A bicyclist shall indicate a left or right lane change by extending the left arm or the right arm the left or right respectively.

(B) A bicyclist is not required to give signals provided for in subsection (A) continuously if the hand or arm is needed to control the bicycle.

21

Passing

A new provision, which is modeled on the Motor Vehicle law (IC 9-21-8-5), except that it requires a minimum of three feet clearance.

A person who drives a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance of at least three (3) feet and may not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.

22

Traffic lights

This topic is already covered in the general vehicle code. We will add an exception which applies only to bicycles, in the bicycle chapter IC-9-21-11:  

If a bicycle fails, within a reasonable period of time, to activate a traffic sensor; the cyclist may treat the solid red light as though it were a flashing red.

25

Licensing and/or Identification

New statute, will allow civil officials to identify a cyclist who may be injured.

Any bicycle rider on the road must have some form of identification which states their name and address. This information may be on their person, bicycle or gear.

26

Anti-Harassment of Cyclists

 

New, similar to SC statute

SC 56-5-3445. It is unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

 

Note A. Many laws should have “liability exclusion:” a statement that failure to abide the law is not considered evidence of negligence. This is a common provision, and protects the bicyclist from additional liability. We have yet to research the exact wording for this statement.

By | 2008-10-31T17:09:34+00:00 October 31st, 2008|Categories: Advocacy|Tags: , , , |17 Comments