South Dakota bill to require cyclists to dismount for passing cars

South Dakota House Bill 1073

South Dakota legislators last week introduced House Bill 1073, which would remove the “substandard lane width” exception to the state’s “far right as practicable” law, and also require cyclists to stop, move off of the roadway, and dismount when followed by faster traffic.

Here’s the full text of this bill as introduced. Stricken language are parts of existing law that would be removed. Underlined text is an addition to the law.

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to require persons operating bicycles under certain conditions to stop and allow faster vehicles to pass.
Section 1. That ยง 32-20B-5 be amended to read:
32-20B-5. Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. However, a person operating a bicycle may move from the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway to overtake and pass another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction, to prepare for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or roadway, or to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
If a person is operating a bicycle within a no passing zone on a roadway that has no shoulder or a shoulder of less than three feet in width, the person shall stop the bicycle, move the bicycle off the roadway, and allow a faster vehicle to pass.
A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Fully 11% of the South Dakota House of Representatives and nine percent of the state Senate are listed as co-sponsors of HB 1073. Click through to the bill information page for sponsor contact information, if you desire. The prime sponsor, 71-year-old Mike Verchio of Hill City in the Black Hills of South Dakota, chairs the state House Transportation Committee. Verchio consistently votes against state measures to improve safety for all road users (e.g. mobile device use while driving, safe passing laws, even youth restrictions on cell phone use while driving), and votes in favor of measures to decrease traffic safety (e.g. higher speed limits, especially interesting given where Verchio lives and presumably drives).

Via Minus Car in Sioux Falls and Biking In LA.

Best of luck to the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition in fighting this. I learned Monday morning that the state bicycle coalition has been defunct for some time. This guy in Sioux Falls is trying to get something going again.


  1. OMG – Insanity abounds amongst these legislative morons.


    NO – they’re SLAVES – bought and paid for – doing what they’re told by the morons WHO BOUGHT THEM AND OWN THEM.

    Git’a rope !!!

  2. Sorry about confusing my north and my south…

    As for “bought and paid for” these cases in South Dakota and Missouri seem like they might actually be overzealous responses to constituent input.

  3. Wouldn’t there first need to be a couple of laws in place, one requiring a rear-view mirror on a bicycle, and the other prohibiting earbuds, to even know that a faster moving vehicle is approaching from behind? I say this as a combination bicyclist/motorist.

  4. Obviously written by someone without cycling experience. The effect of this could be to unintentionally slow the process by which automobile operators pass cyclists. It only has merit where there is a continousflow of traffic in the opposite direction. And even then, what if there is a guardrail or drainage ditch or other drop off? The cyclist has dismounted, has no ability to move off the road and therefore is impeding traffic flow!

  5. Update: “Tabled until the 41st Day” means it didn’t pass out of committee.

    Mytzpyk/MinusCar has been an ongoing voice in these matters. Much credit is also owed to Chris Parsley, who heads up our local bike group, Falls Area Bicyclists ( He’s been up in Pierre (pronounced “peer”) both this year and last to help educate the politicos about safe use of the roads by all. A big thank you to them and to all the people who contacted relevant legislators.

  6. This law will open legal ramifications for motor vehicilists to be able to sue bicyclists for impeding drivers adding the if bicyclist is hit, that it was said riders’ fault for not getting off the road!!!!! The law also takes away all responsibility “TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD” and it lays 100% of the responsibility on the cyclists to get out of the way of vehicles also opening up the way for creating more stupid laws to eventually ban bicyclists completely from all roadways!!!!!!!

  7. In related news, SoDak’s 2nd bicycle bill of the session:

    This one builds on last year’s 3′ / 6′ passing law ( for 35 MPH) to remove the “as far right as practicable” language and clarify that a cyclist moving more slowly than prevailing traffic shall move to the right to allow passing *if* such passing would be safe and reasonable.

    This would remove the barrier to taking the lane when that is the safe way to ride. I expect there will be some opposition from the same quarter that was in favor of HB 1073 (above), and it may give opportunity for one of our safety-focused legislators to bring back her favorite idea to require cyclists to wear a minimum quantity of fluorescent clothing.

  8. This just underscores the way in which much of the motoring public see bicyclists: road negros. (Or perhaps a different n-word.)

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