Tag Archives: transportaition

Bills to Support or Oppose in the 2016 NE State Legislature

7 Mar

There are three legislative bills currently in the Nebraska Legislature of interest to active and public transportation advocates. Please contact your state senator and the appropriate committee members designated below to express your support or opposition.

LB 716 – Provides and Eliminates Provisions Regarding Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Description:  Introduced by Senator Rick Kolowski (Omaha), LB 716 would repeal the mandatory side path law and clarify the right of way for when people on bikes and people walking are crossing streets while using a trail.

Analysis: Nebraska’s current law is based on the 1968 version of the Uniform Vehicle Code, which repealed its mandatory side path provision in the 1990s. We are one of only four states that still have such a provision in the law. The provision currently on the books does not give a person on a bike the choice to ride safely on the road if the available side path is poorly designed, poorly maintained, or if the sidepath has debris that could be dangerous through which to ride.

This provision is also important from a planning perspective. Cities should be given the flexibility to plan, design and build infrastructure that optimizes the safety of all users. Side paths should be allowed to coexist next to a street with a bike lane if a city feels that this creates the safest environment for all users. Under current law, this example would technically make it illegal for a person on a bike to ride in a bike lane if there is a side path adjacent to the street.

These provisions clarify the law with regards to who has the right of way when bicyclists and pedestrians cross streets while using a path designed for pedestrians and bicyclists. This only applies to trails; not to sidewalks that are not designated trails. Many Nebraska cities have trail systems where these types of crossings are an issue, and many of them are expanding or actively looking to expand their systems. Current statutes do not specifically address this type of crossing, and a clarification in the law is needed.

Analysis provided by Nebraska Bicycling Alliance. See their full analysis here.

RecommendationSUPPORT. Please write to your state senator to let them know you want them to support this bill. See also Nebraska Bicycling Alliance’s talking points. Continue reading