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Legislative push for cyclists’ safety would curb bike travel, irking advocates

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Legislative push for cyclists’ security would curb bike journey, irking advocates

Steve Marcus

A bike owner heads towards Las Vegas on Freeway 159 close to the Pink Rock Canyon Nationwide Conservation Space Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

Nevada lawmakers are contemplating a invoice that might kick cyclists off journey lanes with pace limits of 65 mph or above.

In presenting Senate Invoice 183 Wednesday, Republican state Sen. Joe Hardy mentioned the proposed laws would assist forestall bike owner fatalities. 5 cyclists have been killed in December after being struck from behind by a suspected impaired field truck driver on U.S. 95 close to Searchlight, which is a part of Hardy’s district.

However biking advocates in Nevada, together with the widow of one of many December victims, say the proposal would have an antagonistic affect by punishing the unsuitable folks. And cyclists pay for these roads via their tax {dollars}, and have full rights to them.

“I don’t imagine that the invoice absolutely does what it’s aiming to do, which is to guard cyclists,” mentioned Angela Ahmet, the widow of Aksoy Ahmet, who was killed within the tragedy close to Searchlight. “The purpose shouldn’t be to penalize cyclists for his or her capability to be on the highway.”

Bike journey on about 4,400 miles of highway in Nevada can be impacted, advocates mentioned. These roads are a well-liked vacation spot for locals — with a rising quantity that picked up biking in the course of the pandemic — and vacationers passing via on lengthy excursions. Rural jurisdictions profit from bike tourism, they added.

“Why is it that the response to cyclists being killed by an impaired driver on a state freeway is to ban them?” Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones mentioned throughout public remark. “There’s no equal response to motorists being killed by an impaired driver on a state freeway.”

“Why punish the victims of a tragedy?” Jones, an avid bike owner, added.

The invoice states that almost all individuals on bikes, electrical bikes or electrical scooters couldn’t go on roadways 65 mph-plus, besides when turning left, turning into a motorbike path or when there’s no shoulder accessible to experience on.

When there’s no shoulder or bicycle path, cyclists in teams should experience single-file versus two abreast or extra, a place that advocates say makes them extra seen to motorists, due to this fact safer.

Those that oppose the laws acknowledged what they described as an excellent intention behind the invoice however instructed lawmakers that they need to contain the biking neighborhood when discussing such adjustments.

“We acknowledge the intent of SB183 to keep away from a repeat of the latest tragedy that killed 5 cyclists; nonetheless, we expect the invoice as written is the unsuitable strategy,” wrote Rob Hutchinson, president of the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition, in a letter to lawmakers. Educating motorists to coexist with cyclists on the highway, bicycle infrastructure, updating DMV assessments to incorporate the legal guidelines already in place to guard them, and growing enforcement towards those that break them are among the steps lawmakers can as a substitute take to forestall deaths, the advocates mentioned.

Hardy mentioned he was open to additional discussions.

Ahmet mentioned she appreciated Hardy for “what he’s attempting to do.”

Pat Treichel of Ghost Bikes Las Vegas, which locations white bikes as memorials at scenes of bike owner deaths, instructed Hardy he opposed the invoice.

“However I would wish to thank Sen. Hardy as a result of I truthfully do imagine that his intentions have been good,” he mentioned. “And people of us within the biking neighborhood, we’re all too bored with not seeing motion, not seeing change and I do imagine that his intent was to create change and take motion,” he famous, providing the lawmaker a seat with the stakeholders.

https://www.frebike.com

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