(d) BICYCLE SAFETY. "The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road."Read more at Cyclelicious. This page includes links to senate committee members who have a say on this bill.
This may be a "camel's nose" provision paving the way for further restrictions on cycling, and we must oppose it vigorously. I have already written Senator Boxer, one of the bill's sponsors and, incidentally, my representative, as follows:
Dear Senator Boxer:Read more about Complete Streets at the National Complete Streets Coalition.
Just noted the following in your bill:
(d) BICYCLE SAFETY."The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road."
This is really pretty absurd. A bike path 300 feet to the side of a standard road (federally funded or not), may very well not lead to destinations bicycle users may want or need to access.
The answer is not throwing cyclists off to one side to make careless driving easier for motor vehicle operators, who are responsible for so much environmental and social degradation as well as death and maiming in our country; it is to design roads that safely accommodate all types of legitimate users, which certainly includes bicyclists.
Bicycles, after all, not only do not cause pollution; they measureably improve public health even when road crashes are factored in, and, because they do not require vast acreages of asphalt and the destruction of tax bases, relieve the public purse, which is in great need of relief lately. Institutionalizing prejudice against bicycle users will only further strengthen the stranglehold motoring has on our economy, our natural environment, and our civic culture, and, in national parks (site of many affected roads), would actually impede the enjoyment the populace can derive from their visits thereto. (You don't really see anything from within a car, and the space they require for roads and parking itself degrades natural areas, as well as cities.)
Would you ban cars from using any city streets that were within 100 yards of a freeway? Even if the freeway did not serve destinations commonly sought by motorists? That is the analogy to this provision.
Again, the answer is not banning bicycles but designing roadways intelligently so that all users can employ them safely. "Complete Streets" with which you really should be familiar if you're going to dip into transportation issues, should be your model, and I urge you to study and support H.R. 1780 & S. 1056, which would bring about true road safety without making unconsidered prejudices against a category of road users the law of the land. Please strike this (and any similar provisions) from this bill.
I have voted for you repeatedly for many, many years, but I am now reconsidering my support.
I do however look forward to what you have to say on this issue, as long as it isn't the usual boilerplate response one receives from one's representatives these days.