Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Transportation Bill Includes Draconian Mandatory Sidepath Provision

I suggest folks read this bill and be prepared to call our Senators. I don’t know with any degree of certainty how this could affect us but it could reasonably be expected to apply to our Federal roads (which could include Dept of Energy, National Park Service, possibly other roads). I’d like to hear from LANL whether this would apply to DOE roads.

I see no safety benefit to cyclists in proportion to the drastic restrictions this could put on bicycling if passed and mismanaged, since to my knowledge, there is no real good definition of what would constitute an acceptable sidepath. John Allen is pretty cynical.

Recall that those of us who live in Los Alamos are at the mercy of DOE and Park Service roads (East Jemez, W. Jemez, our work routes to our jobs, Bandelier National Park)

Those of you who are normally apolitical but whose cycling is dependent on access to the open roads might want to wake up and smell the coffee this time.

O:\DEC\DEC11671.xml [file 2 of 7] S.L.C.
8 ‘‘(d) BICYCLE SAFETY.—The Secretary of the appro
9 priate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the
10 use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a
11 speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adja
12cent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of
13 the road.

Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists, has written an excellent analysis of this bill here.


Yokota Fritz said...

Most of your roads are owned by the state or county (e.g. Jemez Road), but there might be some under NPS control in the national monument, and the DOE owns the roads (including Pajarito) at LANL.

The wider effect of this proposed law is the bad example it sets for those who want to ban cycling from roads at the local and state level.

John Allen gives good examples of why the sidepath might not be a great place to ride. Another reason: I know a few women who avoid paths at night in favor of higher visibility on the road due to personal safety concerns.

Khal said...

Actually, both East and West Jemez roads are on land owned by the Dept. of Energy. Enforcment jurisdiction goes to the state and county, as these are accessible to the public. The question is whether, since land ownership is technically by the Dept. of Energy, will the law apply?

Agree with you that this is a horrific precedent to set. I'm surprised no one challenged this before it got out of committee, but wonder who in the Senate even read that far.

Yokota Fritz said...

Right about land ownership, but the important thing is who the road is maintained by. U.S. Highway 36 through Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado runs through Federal land, but the road itself is the responsibility of the state of Colorado, not the national park service. Ditto for a lot of your local roads in Los Alamos. Ditto I-5 through Camp Pendleton, CA; I-25 through the Air Force Academy, CO; etc. -- through Federal land, but state responsibility and ownership of the road, so MAP-21 doesn't apply.

But hopefully this stupid clause will be removed to make this all a moot issue.

Khal said...

Actually, both E. and W. Jemez Roads, Diamond Drive starting at the N. end of the Omega Bridge, and of course Pajarito road are maintained by the Dept. of Energy, not the state or county. Enforcement is by state and local authorities. I doubt they would enforce some weird Federal restriction, but who knows. Hence the potential for conflicting ideas of what applies. State and County laws give us full rights to the road. What would this Federal idea do??

Gotta get rid of that clause on general principles, though. It is unnecessary, counterproductive, and sets a bad precedent for defining "bicycle safety" as getting us off the road.

John Allen's examples are compelling.

Yokota Fritz said...

ah, thx for correct about E & W Jemez. I assumed a state highway designation meant it was under state control.

Trucking Savannah GA said...

Nice one!!
keep it up....