Mayor Luecke has urged Indiana Legislators in Michiana to support the bill that is winding its way through the General Assembly. He has also urged lawmakers to reinstate the 3-foot passing rule, a provision of the original bill that was deleted in the final version by the Senate. Following is the text of Mayor Luecke’s letter:
March 10, 2009
Dear area State Representatives,
It has been brought to my attention that some changes have been made to SB 553 (related to Bicycles and Traffic Safety) that would weaken the legislative intent of the bill. A provision has been removed that would require drivers to maintain a minimum 3-foot separation when passing bicyclists on roadways.
Now under consideration by the House Committee on Roads and Transportation, the bill’s impact is substantially reduced by this change. In South Bend, we have moved toward increased efforts to protect cyclists through the striping of bicycle lanes and designation of on-street routes. But the 3-foot separation would establish a minimum safety zone around all bicyclists on all roadways. This standard will bring Indiana in line with laws in other bicycling friendly states.
With a tough economy and increased fuel costs, more citizens are riding bicycles as a primary form of transportation. In the past year in the greater South Bend area, two bicyclists were killed when drivers failed to yield right of way. In these days of driver road rage and distraction, it is important to protect all of our citizens by requiring drivers to give a little space to bicyclists. Indiana’s transportation network exists for all citizens, not just automobiles.
I support SB 553 and urge you to work to restore the 3-foot clearance for motorists passing bicyclers on roadways.
Thank you for your work on our communities’ behalf and your consideration of this request,
Stephen J. Luecke
Mayor of South Bend