Pennsylvania has their act together. To my eye, this is the clearest and most agreeable collection of laws aimed at fostering safe and harmonious sharing of roadways. Good that their supplemental laws go into effect on April 2 (rather than April 1). Otherwise I would have trouble believing I wasn’t just another April fool.
The Pennsylvania Bicycle Driver’s Manual is spot on, too. The only thing I would suggest is that the Bicycle Driver’s Handbook be added to the general driver’s manual, rather than be printed and posted as a stand alone manual. I am afraid a separate manual will be ignored by the majority of cyclists and all almost all motor vehicle users. Put them together and add questions relating to the Bicycle Driver’s Handbook to the driver’s test. Maybe the bit about how to install and use toeclips can come out, too. Or at least change the image. How many people are running Lyotard Marcel Berthet pedals and Avocet shoes (other than me?).
New York should follow suit. Three things specifically. (1) Adopt the supplemental law. (2) Build the Bicycle Driver’s Handbook as a new chapter in the general driver’s manual. (3) Add questions relating to the Bicycle Driver’s Handbook to the driver’s test.
Image from here.
The New York State Bicycle Coalition (NYSBC) should drop what they are doing and make this happen. Perhaps we could induce them to act by pledging a donation to the NYSBC should they make these three things happen. I’ll start the ball rolling with a $100 pledge. Make it happen and the money is yours. Make your pledge here or perhaps someone else could organize a more formal pledge drive. Albany Bicycle Coalition? Make it happen for all our sakes.
UPDATE: Maybe the Penn laws aren’t so special (if one bothers to read them–ahem). I was attracted to the presentation of the laws by the author of the article. Here are the relevant sections of the law, so you can decide for yourself.
§ 3301. Driving on right side of roadway.
(a) General rule.–Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway except as follows:
(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction where permitted by the rules governing such movement.
(2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the roadway, provided the driver yields the right- of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the roadway within such distance as to constitute a hazard.
(3) When and where official traffic-control devices are in place designating a lane or lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for the movement indicated by the devices.
(4) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
(5) When making a left turn as provided in sections 3322 (relating to vehicle turning left) and 3331 (relating to required position and method of turning).
(6) In accordance with section 3303(a)(3) (relating to overtaking vehicle on the left).
(b) Vehicle proceeding at less than normal speed.–(1) Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway.
(2) This subsection does not apply to: (i) A driver who must necessarily drive in a lane other than the right-hand lane to continue on his intended route. (ii) A pedalcycle operating in accordance with Chapter 35 (relating to special vehicles and pedestrians).
(1) Upon all roadways, any pedalcycle operating in accordance with Chapter 35, proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway.
(2) This subsection does not apply to: (i) A pedalcycle using any portion of an available roadway due to unsafe surface conditions. (ii) A pedalcycle using a roadway that has a width of not more than one lane of traffic in each direction.
§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left. (a) General rule.–The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter… (3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.
§ 3307. No-passing zones. (b.1) Overtaking pedalcycles.–It is permissible to pass a pedalcycle, if done in accordance with sections 3303(a)(3) (relating to overtaking vehicle on the left) and 3305 (relating to limitations on overtaking on the left).
Sec. 3331. Required position and method of turning. (e) Interference with pedalcycles.–No turn by a driver of a motor vehicle shall interfere with a pedalcycle proceeding straight while operating in accordance with Chapter 35 (relating to special vehicles and pedestrians).Required position and method of turning. Limitations on turning around. Moving stopped or parked vehicle. Turning movements and required signals. Signals by hand and arm or signal lamps. Method of giving hand and arm signals.
§ 3505. Riding on roadways and pedalcycle paths. (a) General rule.–Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), every person operating a pedalcycle upon a highway shall obey the applicable rules of the road as contained in this title.
(b) Operation on shoulder.–A pedalcycle may be operated on the shoulder of a highway and shall be operated in the same direction as required of vehicles operated on the roadway. All turns shall be made in accordance with section 3331 (relating to required position and method of turning).
(c) Slower than prevailing speeds.–A pedalcycle operated at slower than prevailing speed shall be operated in accordance with the provisions of section 3301 (relating to driving on right side of roadway) unless it is unsafe to do so.
(d) One-way roadways.–Any person operating a pedalcycle upon a roadway which carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
(e) Limitation on riding abreast.–Persons riding pedalcycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of pedalcycles.
There’s more (helmets, lights, etc.), but these provisions cover the sharing aspects of the Penn laws. Not that different than New York. So what can I get in a lather about? First, the article (first link in this post) is great. It would be nice to see such an article in our local paper. In all papers. Every Spring. Most recitations of bicycling laws in the press are slanted in favor of motorists rights. For instance, they remind cyclists to stay to the right and omit the exceptions when cyclists can leave the right side of the road. Never a mention of cyclists controlling the lane. That’s huge! Second, the Pennsylvania Bicycle Driver’s Manual. I read that and stand by my support of it. The same thing should be a chapter in the general New York driver’s manual and questions relating to bicycles should be in the drivers test.
That’s enough of that.