• SB 120 passes unanimously in Senate, House awaits

    by  • July 7, 2011 • Legislation and Policy, Traffic Control • 1 Comment

    In what may be another “first” for the First State, Senate Bill 120 passed the Senate unanimously on June 30, and now awaits House approval in January 2012. This bill would confirm that bicycles may legally operate when proceeding straight in right-turn-only lanes, as well as when operated upon the paved shoulders of Delaware’s roads and highways. Bicyclists routinely use these features in the interest of safety, mainly to avoid altercation and stay out of harm’s way. It’s value is profoundly evident on our minor and principle arterials, where right turn-only lanes (RTOLs) are the norm and bicyclists often find themselves using them as a continuation of the shoulder. This often results in competition with turning drivers as they try to position themselves correctly, with the bike continuing straight through the intersection or side street. Under the present code, a crash here usually puts the cyclist at fault for “being in the wrong lane”.

    Not only will SB 120 provide much needed legal protections, it also lays the groundwork for shared RTOLs, which includes a simple striping modification and bike lane symbol(s). Bike Delaware is currently working with DelDOT Traffic on a few design proposals for testing and eventual implementation.


    AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21, CHAPTER 41 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO BICYCLES.

    Section 1. Amend title 21, Chapter 41, Delaware Code by deleting the word “or” appearing at the end of Section 4196(a)(2) thereof, and further by renumbering current Section 4196(a)(3) thereof as Section 4196(a)(4), and further by adding a new subsection (a)(3) to Section 4196 thereof, to read as follows:

    “(3) When proceeding straight in a right-turn-only lane; or”

    Section 2. Further amend Section 4196, title 21, Chapter 41, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (d) thereto, to read as follows:

    “(d) Any person operating a bicycle may ride upon a paved shoulder, with due regard for any traffic control devices intended to regulate or guide traffic or pedestrians.”

    SYNOPSIS

    This bill would confirm that bicycles may legally operate when proceeding straight in right-turn-only lanes, as well as when operated upon the paved shoulders of the state’s roads and highways. Because many of these shoulders are also used as parts of entrances and turning lanes, the bicyclists are required to use due regard for those conditions in traversing these pavement segments. 

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    Bike Delaware thanks the Delaware Bicycle Council, DelDOT and their attorney for taking on this process, including sculpting the language, drafting the actual bill, finding sponsors and introducing it. SB 120 can be found on line and tracked HERE.


    One Response to SB 120 passes unanimously in Senate, House awaits

    1. Anonymous
      July 11, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Yeah! This law greatly effects my bike commute. I hope we can get the word out to the motorist population.

      Thanks!
      Lauri Jenkins

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