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.
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.
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
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.
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
One group recently proposed a nationwide ban:
> 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
> Also, Paul: The helmet requirement should get cut out for three
> 1. The British Medical Journal doesn't support it, which indicates
> that support from medical professionals may not be there:
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:
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
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
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).
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:
Great to see! I believe I'm OK with the current 553 wording then.