Update: H.3909 passed the House in May, 2015. It currently resides in the SC Senate.
Known as the 2015 Dylan Paul Mitchell Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety bill, this piece of SC legislation aims to make our streets safer. We all want to travel here and there, by our chosen means, in the safest possible way. This bill moves us towards that goal. It’s just the right thing to do. It would primarily updates SC bicycle and pedestrian laws according to modern standards, and it also institutes more appropriate penalties for killing or injuring a vulnerable road user.
Here is what H. 3909 does:
1. Amends the pedestrian crosswalk law so when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.
2. Amends our due care law so in addition to pedestrians and bicyclists, it also includes a person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device, or a wheelchair, or a farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use. Further, it increases penalties for killing or causing serious injury to any of these road users. Those additional penalties include requiring those found guilty be issued a citation following by suspension of driving privileges suspended for a period equaling 6 months; and one or more of the following: (1) pay a monetary penalty of not more than two thousand dollars; or (2) serve a period of incarceration which may not exceed thirty days; or (3) participate in a motor vehicle accident prevention course; or (4) perform community service for a number of hours to be determined by the court, which may not exceed two hundred hours.
3. Amends/updates our special pedestrian control signals law so they’re further defined to include walk and wait symbols, in addition to the words “walk” or “wait”. Further, for pedestrian crosswalks equipped with countdown indicators, pedestrians may cross if they can complete the crossing in the remaining time shown.
4. Defines a bicycle lane as designated through pavement markings and signs, intended for exclusive use by bicyclists.
5. Excludes low speed electric-assist bicycles from the moped regulation bill moving through SC House now. Defines low speed electric-assist bicycles, also known as bicycles with helper motors, according to the League endorsed definition, specifically the Consumer Product Safety Commission definition: 2 or 3-wheeled vehicles, each having fully operable pedals and an electric motor of no more than 750 watts, or one horsepower, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such motor while ridden by an operator weighing one-hundred-seventy pounds, is no more than twenty miles per hour. Further, make them subject to all the rights and duties of bicycles, as described in Section 56-5-3420 (PCC’s 2007 bike law updates).
Related link: PCC’s April 13th Action Alert.
This bill appears to have some “teeth” and, in my opinion, is long overdue. I have a question and a comment.
Specifically, what citation shall be issued? And, in conjunction, can you elucidate the requirement of a hearing?
If I, as a cyclist, am injured by a motorist, my responsibility of providing for my family is by all probability, suspended. If I am killed, my ability to provide is irrevocably revoked. With that said, may I suggest that in addition to the convicted motorist’s suspension of driving privileges, they be offered the use of a bicycle to commute to their place of employ. Perhaps they can become more sensitive to the trauma of their cavalier attitude.
Further research found a hearing is already required, so this section was removed. Local municipalities can offer bicycle safety education and education on where to purchase a bicycle, in lieu of any fine from the citation. A Municipal Court Bicycle Safety Program would need to be started: http://bikeathens.com/programs.
I wish it defines what constituents dangerous passing of a cyclist by a motor vehicle. It seems that to many law enforcement takes the present law to mean that if a motor vehicle does not actually hit a cyclist and do not injure them that it means it was a safe passing. Been through that twice already with being touched but not injured. Had video of both incidents but did not mean a thing to the Sherrif department.