Oklahoma Legislative Bike Advocacy

23 Jan

As promised, Oklahoma State Senator Andrew Rice (D), has introduced three bills in an attempt to make bicycling safer in Oklahoma.  The bills are a result of local advocacy efforts along with the outcry from the cycling community last year after three cyclists were killed on Oklahoma roadways.

Senate Bill 443 – Would require the Department of Public Safety to include bicycle safety on the driver examination in Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 487 – Creating the Oklahoma Bicycle Safety Awareness Act, would establish the Oklahoma Bicycle Safety Awareness Revolving Fund, to be used by the Department of Public Safety “to provide awareness to the road traveling public of the presence of bicyclists by any media promotions, publications or signage.”  The funds would come from voluntary donations made at the time a driver license or state I.D. card is obtained or renewed.

Senate Bill 951 – Would amend existing state statute which requires that motorists maintain a minimum 3 foot distance when passing bicyclists by adding the language; “of the right side of the motor vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist” and stipulates the same for traveling on a one-way street.   The bill would establish a fine of not less than $500 when the minimum of 3 foot distance when passing bicyclist is not maintained, and was observed by a police officer.

Additionally, the penalty for hitting and injuring a bicyclist would be raised from $500 to $1000, and if a bicyclist is killed the fine would be raised to an amount of not less than $5000 (the law presently states not more than $1,000), in addition to any other penalties prescribed by law.

Further, Section 11-1111, which relates to throwing or dropping objects, would be amended to add bicycle to the application of law.

Another bill, HB 2049, was introduced by Oklahoma State Representative, Lewis Moore, designating Route 66, between the Sapulpa city limits and the Edmond city limits, as a “Historic Bike Trail”.   The bill stipulates “suitable permanent markers to be placed upon the highway bearing that name. Contingent upon the availability of funds, the Department shall provide a shoulder lane designated for use by bicycle traffic on the Historic Bike Trail.”

I encourage you to contact your local representatives in the Oklahoma House and Senate and ask for their support of this legislation.

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