New bicycling bills introduced in Oklahoma

 Daily, Oklahoma  Comments Off on New bicycling bills introduced in Oklahoma
Jan 232011

More and more states along the route are preparing to have these ‘bike trails’ which will eventually run the entire length of Route 66!

Senator Andrew Rice and Representative Lewis Moore introduced four significant pieces of bicycling legislation for the upcoming session. One caution about this is in order. These bills were just introduced. They will very likely see some changes before reaching Governor Fallin’s desk – if they reach her desk. As we learned last year with the stop light bill, changes can occur right to the very last.

Senate Bill 443 changes the Oklahoma state driver’s license examination to include a section on bicycle operation. It requires that a prospective driver know Oklahoma traffic law including bicycle operation. While this may seem unnecessary to some, consider that many young drivers leave high school for college, only to discover that a bicycle is more convenient and efficient on a college campus where driving may be restricted.

Senate Bill 487 calls for a new law creating the Oklahoma Bicycle Safety Awareness Act, with a voluntary funding mechanism coming from driver’s license renewals. It would ask those renewing their license if they’d contribute a dollar or more toward the fund.

Senate Bill 951 adds bicycling language to existing law that makes throwing objects at motorists a felony. Penalties can include a prison term of not more than 10 years and a fine not more than $10,000. The bill also clarifies violations of the 3 feet passing law, including a fine of not less than $500 for a violation and a fine of not less than $5000 for a collision resulting in a death. This is in addition to other fines and penalties.

Representative Lewis Moore introduced House Bill 2049, designating the portion of State Highway 66 between Sapulpa and Edmond as a “Historic Bike Trail”. It directs the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to erect suitable permanent markers along the highway and install a shoulder designated for bicycle travel. This is contingent of the availability of funding. The route offers rolling terrain and relatively low traffic volume. Oklahoma has more existing miles of the original Route 66 than any other state. Making it a Historic Bike Trail will increase tourism.