- Motorists would be required to follow the same laws for passing bikes as for passing cars
- Repeals the “mandatory sidepath law”
- Gives the right of way to cyclists when operating lawfully in a crosswalk
- Send an email of support to Senator Jim Smith
- Send an email of support to all senators on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
- Contact your state senator by the morning of January 20th
- Attend the hearing on January 20 at 1:30 PM.
Details about senator contact information and hearing location are provided below.
We believe that the common sense legal clarifications strengthen the rights of people on bicycles (and on foot), clarify a motorist’s responsibilities, and assist law enforcement in their ability to enforce the laws that apply in these instances.
LB 39 is an enhanced passing law making it clear for motorists and law enforcement, and safer for cyclists.
First, it further defines the actions people in vehicles must take to pass a cyclist. LB 1030, passed in 2012, mandated that three feet of clearance be given when possible when passing a person on a bicycle, foot, or motorized wheelchair; LB 39 clarifies that motorists would be required to follow the same passing laws for bikes as they do for cars: using lane markings where applicable, changing lanes to pass if needed, giving no less than three feet of clearance. This is easier for motorists to remember and visible easier for law enforcement to enforce.
Second, it repeals the ‘mandatory sidepath law’ that states “… whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a highway, a person operating a bicycle shall use such path and shall not use such highway.” These types of mandatory use laws are problematic for people on bikes, and the League of American Bicyclists, Legal Affairs Committee states:
Laws that mandate that a bicyclist use a particular facility undermine the ability of a bicyclist to protect him or herself when those facilities are not well planned, designed, and/or maintained….There are numerous operational reasons why a dedicated bike facility might be rendered unsafe or impractical — such as an accumulation of debris, illegally parked vehicles, the need to make a left turn — and in such cases cyclists need to be able to ride in the adjacent or parallel travel lanes without fear of prosecution.
Third, LB 39 gives people on a bike the right of way when operating lawfully in a crosswalk. Under current laws, a person on a bike that is riding lawfully in a marked crosswalk could be ticketed for failure to yield if hit by a person in a car. This is especially problematic for multi-use trails that have at grade street crossings.
Finally, this bill clarifies that people on bicycles may legally ride two abreast on highway shoulders when it is wide enough to do so.
LB39 was introduced by Senator Rick Kolowski from Omaha. Click here for the complete content of the bill. LB 39 should not be confused with another bill on bike safety that Sen. Kolowski has introduced (LB 38, which does not yet have a hearing date scheduled).
Action: Contact Senator Jim Smith
Send an email of support directly to Senator Jim Smith, who is the Chairman of the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Indicate in the email that you want your message to part of the record.
- Be sure and list your name and address or your information will likely be disregarded.
- Indicate why you support this bill and why you think it should pass. Give examples of your own cycling situations with motorists that may help the cause.
Action: Contact the Committee and your Senator
Send an email to all of the senators on the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee, as well as your own senator. The committee members are:
Sen. Jim Smith – Chairman – Omaha
Sen. Lydia Brasch – Vice Chair – West Point
Sen. Al Davis – Hyannis
Sen. Tommy Garrett – Bellevue
Sen. Beau McCoy – Omaha
Sen. John Murante – Gretna
Sen. Les Seiler – Hastings
Action: Attend the Hearing
A hearing date is set for LB 39 on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 1:30 pm in Room 1113, the Ernie Chambers Hearing Room, along the southwest hallway of the Capitol. There are two other bills that will be heard first. If you want to attend the hearing to show support, and sign in, that would be very useful.