Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed SB 3014 — “The John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act” — this week. This “Bicycle Safety Law” includes a “three foot” passing requirement and other important changes to Mississippi law. Mississippi also joins the 41 states with discriminatory “Far to the Right” laws on the books.
Effective July 1, 2010, the Bicycle Safety law includes these changes to Mississippi traffic law:
- Currently, Mississippi is one of nine states without the discriminatory “Far to the Right” (FTR) law opposed by the League of American Bicyclists. This new bicycle safety law adds an FTR requirement that applies specifically to cyclists, with the usual exceptions (normal speed of traffic, unsafe conditions, passing, move out of a right turn lane, making a left turn, hazard avoidance).
- Motor vehicles may not block a bike lane. Confidential to Biking In Law: I think that means no parking in bike lanes.
- Many cyclists will like this part:
(1) While passing a bicyclist on a roadway, a motorist shall leave a safe distance of not less than three (3) feet between his vehicle and the bicyclist and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the bicycle.
(2) A motor vehicle operator may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a nonpassing zone with the duty to execute the pass only when it is safe to do so.
(3) The operator of a vehicle that passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction may not make a right turn at any intersection or into any highway or driveway unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety.
- With the new law, cyclists may extend their right arms to signal a right turn.
- Cyclists will also like this part:
It is unlawful to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be fined One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for the first offense, Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for the second offense, and a fine of Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) and imprisonment in the county jail for seven (7) days for the third and subsequent offenses.
Some background on the passage of this law in Mississippi in this news story. Ignore the ignorant comments from readers that follow the article.
Tip of the hat to Paul Metz & Richard Swent.