The Senate’s transportation authorization has drafted the S. 1813 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act that if passed, would force cyclists to paths and trails parallel to all roads in national parks and other federal lands. Yes – new law that forces cyclists off the road.
Are you kidding me?!
The Section § 203 (d) (p. 226) says,
“(d) BICYCLE SAFETY.—The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road.”
Andy Clarke, the President of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) says,
“The problem with the provision is that the restriction applies regardless of the quality, safety, and utility of the path provided; it disregards cyclists need the roadway to reach shops, services etc.; and ignores our fundamental right to the road.”
Answering why this proposed provision, Clarke says,
“One such idea is that it’s just not safe for cyclists to sharing the road with cars going more than 30 mph and thus, for our own safety, we should have to use the provided path. This paternalistic (at best) approach is guilty of not only blaming the victim but simply doesn’t make sense unless every higher-speed roadway has a path alongside it.
The second principle at play is the idea that “we provided this path for you, you’d darned well better use it”. To which our response should be…if the path is any good, you shouldn’t have to force anyone to use it; they will use it voluntarily because it works. Our communities are replete with examples of poorly designed, built and maintained paths that are little more than glorified sidewalks. “
One blogger brings up a meaningful point. Michael Frank of Adventure Journal says, “just code for a screaming headline, ‘Mountain Biker Takes out Iowa Mom on Grand Teton Walking Path'”.
This provision would affect 22 national parks in New York State according to the National Park Service. This includes sites from New York City, into the Appalachian Mountains and many others. Who’s to say this law won’t spill over into state parks? How will we get to food and service shops on the roads? What about road cyclists?
Are we going to let law makers force us cyclists off all US national park roads?
To remove the provision that would force cyclists off national park roads there is a petition, the League of American Bicyclists have started with over 12,500 signatures thus far. Sign the petition. The petition tells, “the Senate that the mandatory side path law is a bad idea.” If this law passes, we are supplying a deterrent against bicycling.
Join the effort to keep us on the road by signing the petition.
KEEP US ON THE ROAD!
The League of American Bicyclists represents 57 million cyclists with 300,000 members, 25,000 individuals and 700 organizations. LAB works for better bicycling.