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Spartan

New Bicycle Laws

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The Post & Courier reports that the General Assembly has passed new legislation that changes the rights that bicyclists in South Carolina have on the road. The bill now awaits the governor's signature. Bikers will now be allowed to use a full lane at all times, and more importantly, motorists will now be faulted for injuries caused to bikers.

Text Summary

Post & Courier Article

Palmetto Cycling Coalition

You can rest assured that this will not get national news coverage since it is positive news. This is despite that fact that this is one of the more progressive steps that SC has taken to provide for better and safer alternate modes of transportation.

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Funny you should mention this. I just bought a bike to commute to work, and I'm terrified of traveling on major roads! I'm glad the GA is looking out for biker's safety.

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Awesome, what kind of bike did you get?

Check out the League of American Bicyclists' website and look at their certified instructors. If you contact one of them that is near you, they should be able to tell you when and where they offer courses that teach you how to safely ride with traffic.

You will probably be most interested in their Road I, Road II, and Commuting courses. Biking to work is a different experience, but it saves a ton of money on gas! I've been biking for about 8 months now, and I love it. It took about a month or so to really adjust to what I was doing, but it is totally worth it. The most difficult part is on major thoroughfares, but I've learned how to avoid them :)

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Thanks for the link, Spartan! I'm interested in trying to figure out if it's possible for me to feasibly commute to work. I'm going to look into it.

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Thanks for the info and the encouragement, Spartan! I bought a Trek Navigator 2.0. I haven't ridden a bile in 16 years! I wasn't going for speed, just something sturdy that will hold up to being ridden every day. I have mapped out a way to get to work while avoiding major thoroughfares that is actually quite a nice route that takes me through some very nice neighborhoods. Just because I live in the ghetto doesn't mean I have to travel through them!

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I'm glad to hear a lot of you making the move to ditch your cars or at least considering (of course we can't completely ditch them). I bought a bike about 3 months ago and have been riding to work since. I highly enjoy the ride and it's nice to come home and see your car parked in the same spot. I didn't get gas at all last month.

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You don't need speed for commuting. Road bikes are too expensive for me. I have a hybrid type of bike that is designed for commuting and some light off-roading if needed.

I bought a bike about 3 months ago and have been riding to work since. I highly enjoy the ride and it's nice to come home and see your car parked in the same spot. I didn't get gas at all last month.

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The bill now awaits the governor's signature. Bikers will now be allowed to use a full lane at all times, and more importantly, motorists will now be faulted for injuries caused to bikers.

This is despite that fact that this is one of the more progressive steps that SC has taken to provide for better and safer alternate modes of transportation.

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Drivers are supposed to be on the look out for bicyclists and treat them as they would any other vehicle on the road. This law makes motorists liable when that does not happen. Bicyclists should be treated as a vehicle.

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Indeed. Bicyclists also need to drive like vehicles.

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Let's play devils advocate for a moment then. Since bikes should be treated as any other vehicle on the road, should we now tax bicycles? Should bicyclists be forced to obtain a tag or use permit, and pay ad valorem? I mean, with the added responsibility & all......

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You are taking your argument to an unrealistic extreme fromsc2tx. Be rational - bikes make a zero to negligible impact on the road infrastructure.

But - several cities & counties nation-wide do require bicycles to have permits - but I doubt SC will ever have too many bicyclists for that to be a real need.

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You are taking your argument to an unrealistic extreme fromsc2tx. Be rational - bikes make a zero to negligible impact on the road infrastructure.

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Motorists are not taxed for using the road- yet. They are taxed for using gasoline and for license tags, which are then applied to the roads. The exception is toll roads, on which bikes are not currently allowed. When bikes start using gasoline, they will be paying taxes just like cars.

Now, as far as a permit or license tag is concerned, I am not opposed to that in principle. Many European and Asian countries require tags for bicycles. Infact, many universities across the nation require bike tags. The catch is that in practice, cities in the USA will not see that requirement until the volume of bicycles reaches some critical threshold, which will be some arbitrary number.

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"Bicyclists also need to drive like vehicles. "

That's the truth.

I'd also like to see some courtesy. If there are cars backed up behind you, pull over and let them pass. Please.

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Keep in mind that we're generally viewing this from our auto-centric perspective. The problem is that if one only drive and only see bikes as an inconvenience, then one is not understanding the point of the law. But rest assured if someone tried to infringe on one's second amendment rights, regardless of whether or not one has a gun, they'd be there in defense of those rights (as they should be). Drivers need to be aware of the fact that they are not the only vehicles on the road and that other users have just as much right to it as they do.

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The bicyclists that I'm thinking about are those that are doing it for recreation, rather than for commuting, etc. The stop signs and traffic signals don't apply to them apparently. If they want a full lane, then they should also obey traffic laws, should they not?

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Even the guys commuting can back up traffic. Going 20mph in a 35 mph zone is a hazard to everybody, especially the cyclist. I'm not denying them the right to ride, but they should be aware of the cars, just as the cars should be aware of them.

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As a cyclist I can tell you that we are highly aware of impatient cars coming up behind us at all times. Regarding stop signs and what not, cyclists are supposed to obey the law too. But I'll point out that stop signs or traffic lights were created for cars, not bicycles. They are intended for drivers so their steel cages won't kill each other. What's really frustrating is that in the past, the biker was always assumed to be at fault when in vehicle-related crash. This new law holds drivers liable for their mistakes.

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^Exactly. I've been riding for only a few months, and I'll tell you that I'm always on alert, looking out for vehicles and trying not to get squashed. The thing is most cyclist are not the inconsiderate type that hog the road and never move over (there are the bad apples of course).

I encounter plenty of horrible drivers who are inconsiderate, impatient, on their cell phones, and think they are the only ones on the road. I've almost been hit twice.

Bicycles will never drive like cars, so drivers just need to adapt (as do riders).

Also, most cyclist own cars, so they do pay for the roads. Requiring bicycles to pay for roads is a little ridiculous as they cause little impact on roads and are actually an alternative to reducing congestion and pollution. We don't want to discourage that.

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"What's really frustrating is that in the past, the biker was always assumed to be at fault when in vehicle-related crash."

Good point. The law was probably written when only kids rode bikes, and I guess generally they were at fault. Good to see it updated.

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Usually in the 1930s and 40s, before the personal vehicle became dominant, the laws regarding bicyclists were pretty progressive by todays standards because they were the fastest mode of transportation. Even in the 60s they had laws for bikers, but over time these were deleted because they were viewed as irrelevant since "everyone drives" (thats a major assumption). For examples, in North Carolina, the NCDOT is looking back to drivers manuals from the 50s to reference the laws that they USED to have for their drivers manual update. I assume that SC is in a similar boat in that the old laws probably used to be good, and now they are not.

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