Bad Bill Bob's Commentary on SB249
This bill has good intent, but the new regs could cause some issues for users
of our highways trying to avoid bicycles.
SB249 is nearly the same bill as HB395 that was tabled in House Judiciary.
The intentions of the bill is to create separation with bikes and cars, but too
often there could likely be a problem. Anytime you cause for car to give way (required) to
a slow moving bike, there are other cars that may not understand (or be prepared for)
the car to slow down. A ’slow moving vehicle (aka SMV)’ is often a machine that is unable
to go the speed of traffic (ie tractors, loaders, graders, etc). If cars slow up behind
them, at least more cars behind can see the reason for traffic slowing down. That is
not true of a bike. Those who ride on highways a lot and give full respect to motorized
traffic. To have a law that would require a large truck (w/ trailer) to do what this bill
would require could become a danger.
Traffic that is passing thru MT that would likely not realize of the MT laws that label a
bike as a SMV.
When many ride on the side of a highway they exercise great caution. You need to
watch for debri, parked cars, dogs, other bikes, and walkers. Car drivers have a
lot to watch out for. And even more problematic is a distracted driver (cell phone, etc)
or impaired (DUI) driver and their effect on bike riders.
If this bill makes it out of the Senate, I would imagine it will share the same fate as
HB395. And it could die for the simple reason that the legislative rules do not permit
a bill being introduced in the other house if it has been killed in the first
house (assuming they declare SB249 the same as HB395).