Welcome to the Hanover Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee blog. We’ll be using this to keep you updated on Town bicycle and pedestrian policies and programs, and the activities of the Committee.
Filed under Hanover, Metatalk, New Hampshire, Valley News
Bicyclists Should Engage Rather than Rage
In reply to the May 2 and May 10 Valley News Forum letters (LTE) concerning danger on the roads related to bicyclists and motorists, the May 2 LTE neglected to mention that there are actual laws that exist pertaining to bicyclists and motorists. The problem is that the laws are not enforced by police. While the legislators may have had foresight passing such laws, the minimal size of the fines associated with the laws ($100) may show the true colors. The May 10 LTE from White River Junction had prejudiced and negative opinions of bicycling on the road, opinions that are simply embarrassing in today’s world…a world where road biking addresses issues such as individual fitness, fossil fuels, climate change, and the positives associated with outdoor recreation.
The New Hampshire law RSA 265:143 states that drivers should exercise due care when approaching a bicyclist to insure the safety and protection of the bicyclist. A reasonable and prudent distance between the vehicle and a bicyclist should be left with at least three feet when traveling at 30 MPH “or less” and an additional one foot of clearance is required for every 10 MPH above 30. This law went into effect on January 1, 2009.
RSA 265:144 covers a number of relevant issues related to bicyclists that also bear mentioning. Bicyclists riding two or more abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and on a laned roadway, they shall ride within a single lane. Bicyclists traveling at speeds less than normal traffic in the same direction shall remain on the right portion of the way as far as practicable except when it is unsafe to do so (exceptions include avoiding fixed or moving objects, pedestrians or animals, and hazardous conditions such as broken pavement, glass, sand, puddles, ice, or opening doors of parked vehicles. The white fog line on the right side of the road is not a bike lane unless the lane is marked or signed as a bike lane.
There are more bicyclists on the road in the region these days. The Bike Commuter Act that went into effect across the nation on January 1 may very well encourage businesses to take advantage of tax deductions to provide incentives ($20 per month per employee) to employees to use a bicycle to commute. This may increase the number of bicyclists.
Who knows if the perspective of the May 10 letter writer can ever be changed. At minimum, it appears that he could use a visit from the ghost of Christmas past. It is time to share the road.
For more info about bike laws in New Hampshire and current activities of the Hanover Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee check http://www.hanoverbikeped.wordpress.com
NH BikeSmart and Hanover Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee
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