Bike legislation in front of the Indiana Senate. Nows the time to review and act

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Mark Stosberg

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Jan 20, 2009, 10:20:34 PM1/20/09
to Bike Richmond
A significant overhaul of bike-related legislation has now been
introduced to the Indiana legislator by a Senator from South Bend. The
proposed legislation update is available here:

http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2009&session=1&request=getBill&docno=553

I encourage you to read the primary documentation for yourself, form
your own opinion and contact your state-level elected representatives.
If you are in Richmond, Indiana, your Indiana Senate representative is
Allen Paul. He can be contacted here:
http://www.in.gov/cgi-bin/legislative/contact/contact.pl?data=Senate|Paul,Allen%20E.|s27|r

This bill is a product of the Safety Legislation team formed by
Indiana Bicycle Coalition, and the Bike Michiana Coalition, so some
other bike organizations in the state are already supporting it.

As time permits, I'll post a summary of what I see in the key changes
in the bill, and my own opinion of them. Here's one perspective on the
bill, from local attorney and bike commuter Thomas Kemp:

###

I am not really impressed with this package of changes. For the most
part, the rules are just helping the insurance companies, by
permitting them
to point to reasons why damages paid to injured or dead bikers should
be
mitigated, but that is just my view as a trial attorney . . . .
The penalty portions are not helpful at all. The hard part of traffic
cases
is attributing intent to drivers - most technical violations and
accidents
are attributable to plain of negligence . . .

Anyway, the Criminal Recklessness statute (IC 35-42-2-2) has a
provision
making the reckless operation of a motor vehicle in any aspect a class
A
misdemeanor . . . So calling the "reckless" injuring of a biker a
class C
misdemeanor is actually a big reduction.

In general, legislators get worked up over addressing a particular
issue,
pass a whole bunch of specific regulations, making the area much
harder for
folks to understand, and completely ignore the fact that there are
already
laws on the books covering the issue at hand. I think this is an
example of
this. Note that IC 35-42-2-2(c)(2)(B) makes serious injury resulting
from
aggressive driving (IC 9-21-8-55) a class D felony.

I think the tools in the reckless statute provide a prosecutor with
plenty
of appropriate options for charging a driver who hurts a biker or
walker
when there is evidence of recklessness or aggressiveness.

Having additional laws on the books is not the issue - its
enforcement. Our
local prosecutor is a biker (commutes to work) and is very open to
raising
driver awareness of bikers on the road. If the legislature would
authorize
cash to law enforcement to conduct specialized enforcement tasks
forces
focused on bike/driver safety (like they do for DUI and seat belts), I
think
that would be much more helpful than loading up the code books . . .

Thomas


E. Thomas Kemp
Attorney at Law

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 20, 2009, 10:41:10 PM1/20/09
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I found a good summary of the bike bill. It is on the Bike Michiana
site, one of the originators of the bill:
http://bikemichiana.org/2009/01/19/senate-bill-553-bicycles-and-traffic-safety/#more-1506

As they frame it, the bill is basically all positive for cyclists,
although the required helmet provision for those under 18 may remain
controversial for some. Bike Michiana interprets the fines involved
for motorists hitting cyclists as being *higher*, while attorney
Thomas Kemp interpreted the updated the penalties as being *lower*.
The related fiscal impact document for the bill also makes it sounds
like the fines will be *higher* for hitting a cyclists. I personally
don't know what to make of this bit of legalese.

Mark

Adam Bee

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Jan 21, 2009, 7:53:35 PM1/21/09
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Hi guys-
I went to the first meeting of the small committee of bike folk in
South Bend who put together this particular bill, but I had to drop
out of the process after that.

Apparently the committee is aware of some errors in the bill, as cited
in the comment section of this post:
http://bikemichiana.org/2009/01/19/senate-bill-553-bicycles-and-traffic-safety/

I can say that the intent of the group was mostly positive towards
cyclists, although some issues came up in which they decided against
cyclists' rights. My personal position is that the expanded
responsibilities for cyclists (including ID, helmet, and lighting
requirements) are a mistake, and I can't really get behind the bill as
it stands now.

I do wonder, however, what my fellow EC alum Thomas Kemp thinks about
this part:
24 [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2009]: Sec. 10.5. (a) Failure to comply with
25 section 7, 8, 9, or 10 of this chapter does not constitute fault
under
26 IC 34-51-2 and does not limit the liability of an insurer.
27 (b) Evidence of the failure to comply with section 7, 8, 9, or 10
28 of this chapter may not be admitted in a civil action to mitigate
29 damages.
30 SECTION 23.

Does that take care of his concern about insurance companies trying to
mitigate damages?

My general sense is that the current laws do need updating and
revising to better protect cyclists. Pressure and resources for
enforcing existing laws should also be increased, but the two seem to
be complements rather than substitutes.

I'm not sure this particular bill is the right way to update the laws,
and the group from South Bend may have pushed too far before getting
feedback from the cycling community. I think now is a good time for
constructive critiques to make sure we get the best bill possible that
is sure to get the unqualified support of Indiana cyclists.

Adam



On Jan 20, 10:41 pm, Mark Stosberg <mark.stosb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I found a good summary of the bike bill. It is on the Bike Michiana
> site, one of the originators of the bill:http://bikemichiana.org/2009/01/19/senate-bill-553-bicycles-and-traff...

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 22, 2009, 9:45:35 AM1/22/09
to bike-r...@googlegroups.com

> I'm not sure this particular bill is the right way to update the laws,
> and the group from South Bend may have pushed too far before getting
> feedback from the cycling community. I think now is a good time for
> constructive critiques to make sure we get the best bill possible that
> is sure to get the unqualified support of Indiana cyclists.

I also share your concern about the helmet requirement, and Thomas' concern about
more complex, and possibly reduced, code covering the penalties.

I have some interest preparing an updated draft based on our conversation here,
and then sharing that with our local Senator, as well as the bill originator,
as an official alternate draft.

Does anyone have a sense of how long we have to act? Days? Weeks? Months?

We could possibly wrap up the updated wording in the next week, and formally approve
it on behalf of Bike Richmond at our physical get-together on the 31st.

I welcome any more general or specific feedback from other riders here.

Mark

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 22, 2009, 10:36:22 PM1/22/09
to Bike Richmond
I found some more posts related to the proposed Indiana bike bill.
Here's a post which goes over each point and provides some
justification or explanation for each point:

http://bikemichiana.org/2008/10/31/indiana-bicycle-legislation-minor-tweaks-make-major-moves

There are also numerous comments there which can be reviewed.

I also found the results of the Bike Michiana Legislative Survey,
which looks like it might been used as a foundation for the drafted
legislation:
http://paultaylor883.googlepages.com/ResultsofLegislativeSurvey.pdf

Paul Taylor, the Secretary of Bike Michiana, published both of the
documents I just referenced. He also just joined this group today, and
should be notified of any comments you make here.

ethom...@gmail.com

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Jan 23, 2009, 10:08:38 AM1/23/09
to Bike Richmond
Reading over the comments on the bikemichiana page, the ID issue
raises all kinds of concerns for me. What benefit does this provide to
the State or the riders? Although the provision seems to state that
you could make your own ID, the requirement seems ripe for the state
to take the ID requirement as an opportunity to raise some cash -
state issued ID are not free now as it is (need one to vote, though).
Plus, why wouldn't the BMV (which issues the ID now - even though they
have nothing to do with driving) start issuing "biking endorsements"
on the ID's, just like they do for motorcycles on drivers' licenses. A
fee could be charged for the endorsement, plus they could put on a
"biker education" requirement and maybe even a test.

I am sure that there are plenty of folks would would agree that the
state seeing to it that adults were trained and knowledgeable about
biking before they hit the streets would be a good thing, and save
lives in the long run. While I am willing to agree with that in
principle, I do not like the implied limitation on movement.

Currently, if I choose to walk down the street, or even bike down the
street, the courts of the land hold that I have with me my full rights
under the US constitution to be free from unwarranted government
interference. These same courts also hold that, if I choose to get
into my car, I have decreased those constitutional protections. You
see, in the US we have the concept of the "automobile exception,"
which basically says that, because autos are so mobile, and because
they and their drivers are subject to such a great extent of
government regulation, our expectations for privacy are reduced. This,
plus the societal need for the state to control what goes on in autos
is so great, result in the normal rules under (alright, I'll say it)
the 4th Amendment to the US constitution do not apply (literalists, be
damned). So standards for stopping vehicles, seizing passengers and
searching the passengers and their effects is reduced for motoring
public . . . .

I understand the desire of bike advocates to gain acceptance on the
road by gaining government acknowledgment through specific
regulations, I just don't think the benefits outweigh the loss in
civil liberties implied by that regulation. A law that simply stays
that cyclist and pedestrians shall be permitted to use the roadways of
the state so long as they conduct themselves in a manner reasonably
aimed at preventing injury to persons or property, and vehicle
operators shall accord all persons on said roadways reasonable space
for such use - would be enough with existing laws against reckless and
aggressive driving. . . .

I do not see that the current structure for obtaining driver's
licenses (education, testing, etc) does anything more than raise money
for the state (at least judging by the skill and knowledge
demonstrated by licensed drivers on the road).

On another note, after a closer reading of the proposed legislation, I
withdraw my prior aspersions regarding insurance company protections.
<soapbox>Even though I spend a good part of every day reading
statutes, the use of bare section cross references without
parenthetical summaries, like "Section 9 (helmet requirements)" grates
on me. It takes too much time to figure out what is going on - One of
my complaints about code complexity is that we demand people comply
with the law, but then proceed to write it in such a jumbled
complicated way that only a handful of folks would ever spend the time
to read through it. </soapbox>

Other notes: A lot of fixie fanatics might chaff at the "brake"
requirement, as worded: What if IC 9-21-11-10 was phrased "A bicycle
must be equipped with a means by which the operator can stop the
bicycle within a reasonable distance."

The addition of IC 35-42-2-2.5 (bicycle harassment), really seems
unnecessary. If I throw something at you and hit you, I have committed
battery, a class B misdemeanor. If you are injured by the object, it
jumps to a class A misdemeanor. Serious bodily injury and death also
have increased penalties under the standard battery section (and the
murder section). If I attempt to hit you with an object and miss, that
is attempted battery, and in Indiana, with every crime save Murder,
the attempt to commit a crime is equal to committing the crime.
Putting a special provision in to cover a specific type of wrongdoing
that does not increase the penalty involved is just code bloat. I
understand the desire to focus attention on a particular bad act, but
I doubt that cops and prosecutors need to be reminded that throwing
things at people is illegal . . . .

Just my thoughts.


On Jan 22, 10:36 pm, Mark Stosberg <mark.stosb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I found some more posts related to the proposed Indiana bike bill.
> Here's a post which goes over each point and provides some
> justification or explanation for each point:
>
> http://bikemichiana.org/2008/10/31/indiana-bicycle-legislation-minor-...

Adam Bee

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Jan 24, 2009, 4:11:39 PM1/24/09
to Bike Richmond
I completely agree with all of that. Not only are the ID requirements
a huge hassle and a limitation of the freedom that makes biking so
great, but they aren't even too helpful for their intended purpose.
They only require name and address, not next of kin or blood type. If
an injured cyclist could speak, his or her address probably wouldn't
be one of the first things to say. Besides, cycling is one of the
primary modes of transport for the homeless--is there a provision for
those without a permanent address?

I think the committee in South Bend is aware of most of the
shortcomings of the bill, and I hope that more feedback from Indiana
cyclists is invited and reflected in the bill. Surely some parts of
the law would be helpful (eg the 3-foot passing rule), but it could
really use more work before it gets too much farther, IMHO.


On Jan 23, 9:08 am, "ethomask...@gmail.com" <ethomask...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Paul Taylor

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Jan 25, 2009, 7:48:45 AM1/25/09
to Bike Richmond
A lively discussion you guys have going here! Looks great. I wish I
had more time to join in. If you care to post to the BikeMichiana
site, I would suggest

http://bikemichiana.org/2009/01/19/senate-bill-553-bicycles-and-traffic-safety/#comment-846

Here is a post I made on our BikeMichiana.org site, in response to
Thomas Kemp's post.

----------------------------------

9-21-11-7 Identification.
You ask “What benefit does this provide to the State or the riders?” I
think you are reading too much into this provision. There is no
mention of government issued ID. In its simplest form, the ID can be a
waterproof luggage tag attached to the seat of the bike. The intent is
to allow emergency medical personnel to contact the rider’s next of
kin if necessary. In 2008, St. Joseph County had an instance where an
adult cyclist was struck and killed. His wife didn’t learn about it
until after she called police several hours later. Marshall County had
an instance where a girl was seriously injured riding her bike home
from school. While the girl was in ER, the police were wasting
valuable time trying to figure out who she was so they could notify
her parents.

9-21-11-10 Brakes.
Our intent was to eliminate the requirement that the braked wheel
“skid”. The current skid provision was written when bikes only had a
coaster brake on the rear wheel, and we felt it was time for an
updated law. As you know, rim brakes will not make the front wheel
skid, (which is a good thing). Interestingly, the wording you propose
is virtually identical to one of our working drafts, and it would be
fine. I think either your proposed wording, or the wording we ended up
with are excellent.

IC 35-42-2-2.5 bicycle harassment. You state that this is just “code
bloat”. I can see why you say that because there is some duplicity,
but I think it is a vast improvement over what we have. It is modeled
after a South Carolina law passed last year. As one of our team
members recently noted, these provisions work in harmony with, not
exclusive of, the reckless driving, criminal recklessness and other
statutes which may apply in a given circumstance. What we have done is
close some gaps in the web of criminal laws which can come into play
with cyclists. It has always been criminal to cause a serious injury
and will remain so. Our legislation will just create a clearer place
for cyclists in that net of protection.

------------------------------------------------


On Jan 23, 10:08 am, "ethomask...@gmail.com" <ethomask...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> > should be notified of any comments you make here.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 25, 2009, 10:20:25 PM1/25/09
to Bike Richmond
I think I generally share the concerns of Thomas Kemp and Adam Bee
about the proposed Senate Bill 553.

I'm also against the proposed mandatory helmet provision, and have
provided a detailed response about that here:
http://mark.stosberg.com/bike/2009/01/against-mandatory-helmet-law-proposed-by-indiana-senate-bill-553.html

On a lighter note, I've also written about Cayenne for Winter Warmth:
http://mark.stosberg.com/bike/2009/01/cayenne-for-winter-warmth.html

Mark

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 25, 2009, 10:43:03 PM1/25/09
to Bike Richmond
> 9-21-11-7 Identification.
> You ask “What benefit does this provide to the State or the riders?” I
> think you are reading too much into this provision. There is no
> mention of government issued ID. In its simplest form, the ID can be a
> waterproof luggage tag attached to the seat of the bike. The intent is
> to allow emergency medical personnel to contact the rider’s next of
> kin if necessary. In 2008, St. Joseph County had an instance where an
> adult cyclist was struck and killed. His wife didn’t learn about it
> until after she called police several hours later. Marshall County had
> an instance where a girl was seriously injured riding her bike home
> from school. While the girl was in ER, the police were wasting
> valuable time trying to figure out who she was so they could notify
> her parents.

Wouldn't a phone number be a more practical way to notify next of kin
anyway? What if you live alone? The address would only trace back an
empty home.
The proposed law also does not specify any standard format or location
of the name and phone number. It could
just as well be scratched into the bottom of your shoe insole where it
would never be found.

I'm arguing details, but essentially I agree with Thomas Kemp's
arguments about this. If the goal is ID unconscious bodies, I think
our
government energy is better spent preventing accidents, or promoting a
voluntary program to use something like Road ID.
( http://www.roadid.com ), which includes the practical detail of a
name
and phone number of someone to call.

I also expect that without an enforcement campaign about the ID
requirement, there would be no significant change in the number of
people
carrying ID, while adding more freedom restriction which would likely
be
selectively enforced. I don't support the mandatory ID clause either,
and can't imagine a version that I would.

Mark

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 25, 2009, 11:38:34 PM1/25/09
to Bike Richmond

> IC 35-42-2-2.5 bicycle harassment. You state that this is just “code
> bloat”. I can see why you say that because there is some duplicity,
> but I think it is a vast improvement over what we have. It is modeled
> after a South Carolina law passed last year. As one of our team
> members recently noted, these provisions work in harmony with, not
> exclusive of, the reckless driving, criminal recklessness and other
> statutes which may apply in a given circumstance. What we have done is
> close some gaps in the web of criminal laws which can come into play
> with cyclists. It has always been criminal to cause a serious injury
> and will remain so. Our legislation will just create a clearer place
> for cyclists in that net of protection.

I would appreciate a more detailed response here. The South Carolina
precedent isn't compelling to me. It seems code bloat is a national
epidemic, and South Carolina is just as likely to be infected. I would
like to know, specifically, what existing laws this provision what
works
in harmony with, what gaps those bills have that needs filling.

Thomas commutes by bike regularly and I trust him to represent his own
interests as a cyclist, as well as his professional opinion that these
additional laws are unnecessary.

The laws he provides specific references to include a provision to
cover
"an act that creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another
person", and throwing things at people is also already covered. What's
the loophole that's left to filled?

I have a lost a cycling friend to a car crash myself, and I'm
interested
to close any loopholes that exist, but I would be satisfied to know
that
general cases already cover the harassment of bicyclists.

Mark

Adam Bee

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Jan 26, 2009, 11:31:40 AM1/26/09
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Recently there was an instance in which a cyclist Peter J. Kaczor was
killed in early dawn on a nearly empty road. He had a reflective vest
but no lights, and was struck from behind. Curiously, *both* vehicles
were traveling south in the northbound lane--both were on the wrong
side of the road.

As far as I'm aware the driver in that collision has not been charged,
and there is no interest in doing so. I think that's gravely injust.
My theory is that Mr. Kaczor, an experienced cyclist, heard the driver
from a long way off and switched sides to increase the distance
between himself and the car. Whether through gross negligence or
active malice, the driver also illegally switched sides and killed Mr.
Kaczor. As far as I know there were no other witnesses to the crash
besides the driver, who told police that he "did not recall" crossing
the center line.

Would it be possible to write a law such that whenever a cyclist is
killed and it can be proven that the driver broke traffic laws, at
least negligence is assumed? Would that guarantee jail time?

What laws would be necessary to guarantee prosecution if this case
were to occur again? Currently there are no real disincentives for
killing cyclists, apart from possibly being a few minutes late for
work to talk to the police.

Adam

ethom...@gmail.com

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Jan 26, 2009, 12:21:32 PM1/26/09
to Bike Richmond
Adam, thanks for bring that issue up. I would like to address your
questions as I think they can help us all understand some of what can
be accomplished with changes to the statutes as envisioned :

On Jan 26, 11:31 am, Adam Bee <Charles.Adam....@gmail.com> wrote:

> Would it be possible to write a law such that whenever a cyclist is
> killed and it can be proven that the driver broke traffic laws, at
> least negligence is assumed?  Would that guarantee jail time?

There already is a concept in the law for "assumed negligence." It is
call "strict liability" and it is a concept employed in civil court
hold people liable for damages resulting from the violation of a
statute - This is a limited doctrine, applicable only in limited
areas (like products liability). Civil courts tend to want to see
cases decided on actual fault as opposed to magic rules.

Negligence is a standard of culpability and it is the level at which
civil liability is assessed in tort claims, like a traffic accident.
The criminal code requires far greater culpability than just
negligence (intentional, knowing or reckless), and it would not be
legal to convict someone of a crime without the state proving the
defendant's intent. So, if your inattention or failure to stay awake
causes you to drift out of your lane of travel, and into another
vehicle, that is negligence, and not a criminal act.




> What laws would be necessary to guarantee prosecution if this case
> were to occur again?  Currently there are no real disincentives for
> killing cyclists, apart from possibly being a few minutes late for
> work to talk to the police.

Without knowing the facts, I am hesitant to render an opinion. The
police and prosecutor would have to go through tons of detail and
analysis to reach a determination that a criminal act could be proven.
Just having an accident, whether you hit a mailbox, or a person, does
not make you a criminal. Accidents happen everyday, it it is the job
of the police to go out, investigate and attribute blame if fault is
found.

I think driving in a car is very easy, and it is easy to not notice
things at the speed that people tend to drive. Humans just are not
good animals for that particular means of transportation - that is why
more than 3,000 of them die every year in traffic accidents. If you
talk to the families of cyclists who were killed, you will find great
grief, obviously. I think you will find similar grief for the driver
of the vehicle. I have know people who never really recover from
causing someone else pain or death in a traffic accident - especially
a child . . . . I doubt too many folks would be primarily worried
about getting to work late . . . .

Adam Bee

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Jan 27, 2009, 8:55:52 AM1/27/09
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Thanks for the information, Thomas. I'm learning a lot!

So if you get a ticket for having a broken taillight or running a red
light, that's really a civil judgment and not criminal? Could a
proven violation of a traffic law at least count as proof of
negligence in a civil sense, with greater damages if it severely
injures or kills someone?

It seems to me that driving a car is an activity with such high
consequences for being sleepy or inattentive that it should be
criminal to get behind the wheel unless you're sure you can give your
full attention. It doesn't seem like accident to me when someone's on
a cell phone or speeding or very clearly breaking some obvious traffic
laws. Those seem like a conscious decision to say "I can handle it,"
even when that's not the case. That's especially true because bad
driving is responds to incentives--when there's a local budget crunch
and police issue more traffic tickets, fatalities diminish
significantly. When a driver is required to wear a seat belt, he
drives faster and more recklessly. When a car's brakes don't work
well or when it's slippery out, people drive much more slowly and
safely.

I'm thinking of drunk driving as an example--is it possible to move
the reckless nature of the collision to the decision to drive in the
first place? At the time of an alcohol-related accident, the driver
is probably trying quite hard to pay attention and drive safely. But
at some point a decision was made (even if it's a drunken, impaired
decision) to drive, which is criminal. Could it be possible to make
driving criminal for those who have some expectation that they might
break traffic laws and kill someone?

At one time, drunk driving was just seen as normal, and the deaths it
caused were just seen as "accidents". I know that to some extent the
culture has to change before the laws will, but it seems to me that
driving in general would be seen in the same light as DUIs if people
knew how deadly it is. Even "unimpaired" driving is the most
dangerous thing that most people do on a regular basis, but only a few
are proportionately scared or worried about it.


On Jan 26, 12:21 pm, "ethomask...@gmail.com" <ethomask...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 27, 2009, 9:23:27 AM1/27/09
to bike-r...@googlegroups.com

> It seems to me that driving a car is an activity with such high
> consequences for being sleepy or inattentive that it should be
> criminal to get behind the wheel unless you're sure you can give your
> full attention. It doesn't seem like accident to me when someone's on
> a cell phone or speeding or very clearly breaking some obvious traffic
> laws. Those seem like a conscious decision to say "I can handle it,"
> even when that's not the case.

That's the kind of situation that happened when we lost Jess Bullen, a bike
advocate that I went to Earlham College with. She was struck from behind by a
driver who was looking at the roof of his mouth in the rear view mirror at the
time. His long driving record was inadmissable in court, and the jury let him
off because it was "just an accident." Of course, that doesn't seem like
justice to me, either.

http://www.dane101.com/regular_feature/2008/04/19/biy_bike_it_yourself_jess

Mark

ethom...@gmail.com

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Jan 27, 2009, 10:23:23 AM1/27/09
to Bike Richmond
These are sensitive issues to discuss. Looking at the roof of one's
mouth is not a issue I have heard before, but the absurdity of it
reveals the shortfall of the current approach to making the roads
safer: Banning one thing after another (don't drink/drive, don't text/
drive don't phone/drive, . . . makeup, eating, programming the radio,
etc . . ). None of this addresses the real point which it our cultural
attitude towards driving, which is that it is a passive and almost
leisure activity, as opposed to what it really is, one of the most
dangerous things - war worse than war and terrorism - that humans
engage in. People just assume that they can multitask behind the
wheel, but study after study has proven that humans are actually very
poor multitaskers.

My thought is that, in the context of this discussion, the Indiana
legislature is not going to radically change the rules on drivers
through this bill. The biggest safety move they could make would be to
reduce speed limits and amp up enforcement - who would speed if you
faced loss of license and incarceration - but politicians have to
answer to the public, and we're all in a big hurry.

Adam, infractions like speeding and disregarding a traffic light are a
mix of civil and criminal in Indiana. They are considered "civil"
because no jail time is at stake, but criminal in that they can result
in other penalties, like loss of license and fines . . .

The conduct you describe - people taking known risks, is covered under
the reckless driving, criminal recklessness and reckless homicide
statutes in Indiana. Criminal statutes give prosecutors (elected
officials) the discretion as to what to call a "crime" versus what to
call and "accident." The fact there there is any prosecution what-so-
ever in a traffic fatality without alcohol is significant progress in
my mind. (note: I strongly agree that someone's prior record should
not be considered at trial - prior history is too prejudicial and
distracting from the issue: can the state prove this offense or
not?). These are very tough cases to judge. In a sense, we all take
on known risks everyday, just leaving our homes, the issue is what is
an acceptable risk to take on, and how to we make that determination
after the fact.

Paul Taylor

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Jan 27, 2009, 6:09:38 PM1/27/09
to Bike Richmond
Mark. I appreciate your careful review of the proposed bill. I’d like
to explain a little about how this bill got to where it is. I drafted
several proposed changes to the bike law section last summer. I took
that to Sen. Broden and he was quick to agree to introduce such a
bill. I knew of him because he is an occasional bike commuter himself
and was a bit involved in the Michiana Bike-To-Work Week.

Next, I did the survey you mentioned in an earlier post. The results
of the survey caused me to delete some provisions and add others. The
next step was to team up with other Bike Michiana and Indiana Bicycle
Coalition members and move forward. The team meetings were
interesting. Most hotly debated was the helmet provision. Other hot
topics, (ID, tail-light, and head-phones), were a distant second. Most
time consuming was the bike lane provision, probably because we
started with a blank sheet of paper. Some proposals didn’t make the
final cut; most notably, headphones. As you can imagine, our final
proposal was a compromise. One thing we agreed on was that if one of
the controversial provisions became a ‘stopper’, we would sacrifice
that provision for the greater good. Personally, I felt we would meet
resistance from the cycling community on helmets and ID. And I feared
the anti-harassment provision would be fought by motorists. I feel
certain we will get helmet support from the medical community.

Turning our proposal into legislative legalese was an iterative
process. The Legislative Services Agency (LSA) drafted the bill based
on our proposal, then we would review and request corrections: we did
that three times. Unfortunately, our third set of corrections was too
late and the bill was filed without them. Now Sen. Broden must file
those corrections as an amendment; not a big deal, but a source of
confusion. The two corrections involved the penalties for anti-
harassment, and riding on the sidewalk.

I didn’t mean to be so long winded in this post, but just wanted to
give you some background. Depending on how you count, there are some
16 provisions in this bill. Personally, I would be happy to see the
bill pass, even if it were lacking a few of the troublesome
provisions. We can’t let this bill become road-kill; it has too many
provisions that are obviously good.

Paul
> (http://www.roadid.com), which includes the practical detail of a

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 28, 2009, 9:36:57 AM1/28/09
to bike-r...@googlegroups.com

Paul,

I really appreciate the effort that has gone into this bill, as well has
hearing the back story. You voluntarily showed up in this list to discuss
feedback, and I believe you are genuinely interested in it.

I came out of the gate against the helmet provision (and I remain against it),
but I agree with your assessment that there is much good in the bill, and I
would also like to see a version of the bill passed with the controversial
items removed-- they can always be voted on as additional measures later.

Not being allowed to use a whistle on a bike has been an irritation for me-- A
Fox 40 whistle is the one thing I've found that can be as loud as a car horn
(short of that "Air Zound Bike Horn"), and I feel I should be able use it to
get the attention of a motorist if necessary. So I'm pleased that restriction
is elimininated.

Also, the alternate arm signals are common sense. It's clearer to point to my
right with my right hand to signal a right turn, then it is to point to the sky
with my left hand. I was already doing that because I think it's clearer
communication, and I'm the law recognizes that as a legal signal now.

Do you know what the timeline for feedback on this bill is?

I would like to a final, detailed pass of the bill, and see if we can gather
consensus here about some subset of it that our bike community agrees on.

Mark

Adam Bee

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Jan 28, 2009, 10:58:31 AM1/28/09
to Bike Richmond
I certainly agree that reducing speed limits and amping up enforcement
would help, but specific incentives for paying attention while driving
would also help. You mention that prosecutors currently have
substantial leeway in what is considered a crime. Is it possible to
reduce that leeway, and to reduce the leeway of juries? Killing
someone while breaking traffic laws should increase the criminality of
that violation. Engaging in non-driving activities should be criminal
if it results in the death or injury of another.

Even if the larger culture does not understand the dangers of driving,
a minority can sometimes institute legislative changes to protect
itself.

Why shouldn't one's past driving record be considered? It seems like
relevant evidence to me. If a person has several close calls and
repeated warnings about the quality of his attention while driving and
chooses to ignore them, that indicates willful recklessness. Further,
it seems like a relevant statistical indicator for the likelihood that
an offense did in fact occur, given the other evidence. For example,
this summer a doctor in Colorado slammed his brakes in front of two
cyclists, severely injuring them. It turned out that he'd done
similar things in the past, thereby reducing the credibility of his
claim that it was "just an accident". Past behavior is generally a
good indicator for future behavior, especially when combined with
other evidence.

Also, Paul: The helmet requirement should get cut out for three
reasons:
1. The British Medical Journal doesn't support it, which indicates
that support from medical professionals may not be there:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/318/7197/1505/a
2. The support of medical professionals isn't a good reason for
cyclists to support it against their own interests.
3. As you say, there's a significant probability that it might bring
down the entire bill.

I agree with Mark that we should begin as soon as possible to figure
out which subset of the proposals is actually helpful for cyclists and
could garner the support of the community as a whole. It really does
seem like a tremendous waste of the political capital of the cycling
voting bloc to have to oppose a bill that it also proposed!

Mark Stosberg

unread,
Jan 28, 2009, 11:32:21 AM1/28/09
to bike-r...@googlegroups.com

> I certainly agree that reducing speed limits and amping up enforcement
> would help, but specific incentives for paying attention while driving
> would also help. You mention that prosecutors currently have
> substantial leeway in what is considered a crime. Is it possible to
> reduce that leeway, and to reduce the leeway of juries? Killing
> someone while breaking traffic laws should increase the criminality of
> that violation. Engaging in non-driving activities should be criminal
> if it results in the death or injury of another.
>
> Even if the larger culture does not understand the dangers of driving,
> a minority can sometimes institute legislative changes to protect
> itself.

A practical thing the cycling community could do here is to support the
no-cell-phone-while-driving bills that seem to be regularly proposed
these days.

One group recently proposed a nationwide ban:
http://www.phonescoop.com/news/item.php?n=3808

> Why shouldn't one's past driving record be considered? It seems like
> relevant evidence to me. If a person has several close calls and
> repeated warnings about the quality of his attention while driving and
> chooses to ignore them, that indicates willful recklessness. Further,
> it seems like a relevant statistical indicator for the likelihood that
> an offense did in fact occur, given the other evidence. For example,
> this summer a doctor in Colorado slammed his brakes in front of two
> cyclists, severely injuring them. It turned out that he'd done
> similar things in the past, thereby reducing the credibility of his
> claim that it was "just an accident". Past behavior is generally a
> good indicator for future behavior, especially when combined with
> other evidence.

I am not a lawyer, but I get the sense this isn't a part of the legal
system we'll be able to change, at least in combination with a proposed
bike-bill update.

> Also, Paul: The helmet requirement should get cut out for three
> reasons:
> 1. The British Medical Journal doesn't support it, which indicates
> that support from medical professionals may not be there:
> http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/318/7197/1505/a

In some sense, you are both right about the medical community. The
traumogolists who take the narrow view and see the head injuries are
likely to support mandatory helments, while cardogolists and family
doctors are more likely to take the broad view and see that the overall
benefits of cycling outweigh the risks of non-mandatory helmets. This
division is dicussed more here:
http://www.conbici.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=52
See "2.7 Incompatibilities and side effects"

It's the broader view that considers the overall benefits and risks to
the public, and I think is the one that appropriates to consider in
legislation.

Mark

Paul Taylor

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Jan 28, 2009, 4:58:57 PM1/28/09
to Bike Richmond
Mark.

I have never had the desire to carry a whistle, but one of our team
members, a nurse, carries one to frighten away dogs. She says it
works. The whistle provision, I suspect, goes back to the 1920’s or
earlier when police walking their beats used a whistle to sound an
alarm when they witnessed a miscreant.

Like you, I violate the law every time I signal a right turn.

Timeline for feedback: I frankly don’t know. This is the deepest I
have been involved in the legislative process, and am still learning.
My only prior experience with the process occurred when I was on the
IBC board in the late 1990’s. I, with the approval of the IBC board,
fought three bicycling bills by sending faxes to the members of the
committee to which they were assigned. The bills died in committee.
Two would have died anyhow, but one, a helmet bill, had a good chance
of getting a hearing. Now I’m on the advocating end, rather than on
the opposing end. Here’s a link you will find helpful:
http://www.ourindianahome.org/documents/oih_how_bill_becomes_law.pdf.
Right now, we are in step “2. In Committee”. Frankly, I consider it a
great success that the bill has been filed and assigned to committee.
The BMC and IBC are soliciting support from the biking community.
Assuming you are a member of the IBC, you will be hearing more
shortly. I plan to lobby the chair of the committee to which the bill
has been assigned, to give the bill a hearing. If there is a hearing,
I will ask to speak, saying why the bill is a good one. Nancy
Tibbett, Executive Director of the IBC and I will try to get one or
two other people to speak as well: the speakers will have a total of
about ½ hour. I’m hoping that if/when the bill is scheduled for a
hearing, I will get more guidance from Sen. Broden. I promise you that
I will ask him if it would be appropriate for a person with a
partially dissenting voice to speak. Now, I’m really guessing. I’m
guessing that you should not speak in any negative terms, and I’m
hoping that no dissenters ask to speak. I‘m hoping that he bill gets a
“due pass” and gets sent on for a second reading. If it doesn’t, I’m
hoping that it will get assigned to a study committee this summer, and
come up again in the 2010 General Assembly. Now, continuing to guess,
if it does get a second hearing, you should then contact your local
Senator to have some formal input. Use your best judgment; maybe you
should contact him/her now for guidance.

Adam. In addition to British Medical Journal, the Thunderhead Alliance
for Biking and Walking, and the LAB are against mandatory helmet laws.

Mark. The legislative team discussed cell phones: we wisely decided to
not try and tackle that issue.

Here’s a closing thought on this too-long post. Michiana bikers are
now contacting their legislators asking for support of the bill. One
of those bikers shared an e-mail exchange with me. After asking for
his support for SB553, his reply was “Sorry, but I think bicycles
should be on the sidewalk not in the streets. I will not be
supporting this bill.”

How sad.
Paul
> division is dicussed more here:http://www.conbici.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&...

John Weber

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Jan 28, 2009, 8:08:18 PM1/28/09
to bike-r...@googlegroups.com
I tend to agree with some sort of bill over doing nothing.

However, what I would like to see is "share the road" signage, bike
lanes in highway renovation (we missed a great opportunity with the US
27 modifications), and greater support of cycling as both alternative
transportation and leisure activity.

As far as helmets, the overall effect may indicate helmet laws are
unnecessary or even have a negative overall result, but for my family
helmets are the laws and we'll continue to proceed in that manor.
There is no debate, helmets work, and not worth the risk without. We
started our daughter at 6 months in the trailer, and a 9 it simply
automatic.

I carry a Road ID when I ride solo, I think having identification is
important, but state required id doesn't seem to best approach.

Much of the bill seems to be cleaning up the law. While, I agree
motorist must be responsible, cyclist must also follow traffic laws
themselves, and we don't do themselves any favors when we run red
lights, ride great then 2 abreast, or otherwise show poor etiquette.
Most of us are guilty from time to time, but blatant infractions do
little to help the public perception of cyclist. We road a week in
Italy and even though they drive like nuts, I felt safer on the
Italian roads then back home here in Indiana, as the Italian drivers
allow plenty of room when passing, and I never experience any
negatives (no yelling or throwing stuff).

John

Mark Stosberg

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Jan 28, 2009, 10:24:51 PM1/28/09
to Bike Richmond
Here are all the points of the proposed bike law I would like changed
or removed, following the chart with the 26 proposed changes published
here:
http://bikemichiana.org/2008/10/31/indiana-bicycle-legislation-minor-tweaks-make-major-moves

* Bike lanes: I'm concerned that the current language does not allow a
cyclists to leave the bike lane to turn left. Turning left from the
right side of the road is dangerous, and is not legal to do in a car
for that reason. (Described more here: http://bicycledriving.org/bikeways/bike-lanes
) I suggest we adopt the California language here, which several
people from bike capital Portland, Oregon recommend:
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21208.htm
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21209.htm
It's similar to the SC section, but adds the left turn provision and a
bit more.

* Mandatory helmets: I don't support adding this clause as has already
been discussed.

* Brakes: I think the language should be refined as Thomas Kemp
suggests, as I think it better accommodates fixed gear riders: "A
bicycle must be equipped with a means by which the operator can stop
the
bicycle within a reasonable distance."

* Violations: I defer to cyclist/attorney Thomas Kemp here, who I
believe is arguing that the special stipulations here are unnecessary
to add. I'll let him refine his proposal here himself.

* Mandatory ID: I'm against adding this, for the reasons Thomas Kemp
provided.

* Anti-Harassment: While I support the sentiment, I believe the
legislation documents a special case unnecessarily, as Thomas Kemp
expressed.

In summary, out of the 26 points raised, I support 20 of them-- the
majority of them. I would definitely support a revised version of the
bill that addresses the concerns outlined above.

I'd like to hear from other Bike Richmond members as well.

Mark

Dan Coppock

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Jan 29, 2009, 1:37:15 PM1/29/09
to Bike Richmond
Have been following the discussion. Didn't have much to contribute but
I'll weigh in:
I agree with the left turn proviso for bike lanes and would also like
to suggest that if the bike lane is on the right side of a right turn
only lane, that the bicyclist should also be able to leave the bike
lane some time before the intersection so as not to be hit with a
right hook (that's nearly happened to me several times). I'm not sure
if that is covered in the legislation but it seems to be overlooked a
bit in bike lane planning. If riding in the street is still safer than
riding in the bike lane (or, heaven forfend, a sidepath) then I will
be riding in the street.
Apart from that I agree with Mark and don't have much more to
contribute, except that this legislation, except for the anti-
harassment bit, which seems to already be covered, doesn't really
change that much, require anything from cities or townships, and even
increases the responsibility for bikers (headlights/taillights, a good
idea to have them but mine don't work for stretches when I don't have
batteries). That said I'm glad that there's more attention being paid
to bicycle legislation and I do support most of the bill in that it
removes old language and silly regulations.

Dan

On Jan 28, 10:24 pm, Mark Stosberg <mark.stosb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Here are all  the points of the proposed bike law I would like changed
> or removed, following the chart with the 26 proposed changes published
> here:http://bikemichiana.org/2008/10/31/indiana-bicycle-legislation-minor-...
>
> * Bike lanes: I'm concerned that the current language does not allow a
> cyclists to leave the bike lane to turn left. Turning left from the
> right side of the road is dangerous, and is not legal to do in a car
> for that reason. (Described more here:http://bicycledriving.org/bikeways/bike-lanes
> ) I suggest we adopt the California language here, which several
> people from bike capital Portland, Oregon recommend:http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21208.htmhttp://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21209.htm

Paul Taylor

unread,
Jan 30, 2009, 7:55:20 AM1/30/09
to Bike Richmond
Dan & Mark. I think we're covered on the left-turn/bike-lane issue.
Take a second look at the provision. It says:

"... (2) A person riding a bicycle is required to ride in the bicycle
lane except when necessary to:
(A) pass another person riding a bicycle;
(B) avoid an obstruction in the bicycle lane;
(C) position the bicycle in order to make a left turn;
or ..."

The team spent the most time deciding on the wording for exception
(B): we decided to keep the wording at a minimum, and assume on
obstruction would include car doors, gravel, leaves, standing water,
glass, pot-holes, dogs, etc.

Regarding Dan's comment on the bike lane being on the right side of a
right-turn lane. This kind of bike lane should never exist because it
does not conform with design/construction standards. If you have time,
you might want to go to the bikemichiana.org site, and follow the
links to the AASHTO and the MUTCD guidelines on bicycle facilities. In
practice, the bike lane usually ends at intersections and resumes on
the other side of the street. If you do have a bike lane on the right
side of a right-turn only lane I would encourage you to try and get
that fixed. It's dangerous.
> > people from bike capital Portland, Oregon recommend:http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21208.htmhttp://www.dmv.ca.gov...
> > It's similar to the SC section, but adds the left turn provision and a
> > bit more.
>
> > * Mandatory helmets: I don't support adding this clause as has already
> > been discussed.
>
> > * Brakes: I think the language should be refined as Thomas Kemp
> > suggests, as I think it better accommodates fixed gear riders: "A
> > bicycle must be equipped with a means by which the operator can stop
> > the
> > bicycle within a reasonable distance."
>
> > * Violations: I defer to cyclist/attorney Thomas Kemp here, who I
> > believe is arguing that the special stipulations here are unnecessary
> > to add. I'll let him refine his proposal here himself.
>
> > * Mandatory ID: I'm against adding this, for the reasons Thomas Kemp
> > provided.
>
> > * Anti-Harassment: While I support the sentiment, I believe the
> > legislation documents a special case unnecessarily, as Thomas Kemp
> > expressed.
>
> > In summary, out of the 26 points raised, I support 20 of them-- the
> > majority of them. I would definitely support a revised version of the
> > bill that addresses the concerns outlined above.
>
> > I'd like to hear from other Bike Richmond members as well.
>
> >       Mark- Hide quoted text -

Mark Stosberg

unread,
Jan 30, 2009, 9:44:12 AM1/30/09
to bike-r...@googlegroups.com

> Dan & Mark. I think we're covered on the left-turn/bike-lane issue.
> Take a second look at the provision. It says:
>
> "... (2) A person riding a bicycle is required to ride in the bicycle
> lane except when necessary to:
> (A) pass another person riding a bicycle;
> (B) avoid an obstruction in the bicycle lane;
> (C) position the bicycle in order to make a left turn;
> or ..."
>
> The team spent the most time deciding on the wording for exception
> (B): we decided to keep the wording at a minimum, and assume on
> obstruction would include car doors, gravel, leaves, standing water,
> glass, pot-holes, dogs, etc.

Paul,

I was referencing the version posted on bikemichiana.org here, which must have old wording:

"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."

That summary format was must convenient to review. I can confirm that the
the official current draft has the left turn wording:
http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2009/IN/IN0553.1.html

Great to see! I believe I'm OK with the current 553 wording then.

Mark

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