Bicycle Accidents in Indiana Target of New Proposed Laws


Bicycle Accidents in Indiana Target of New Proposed Laws

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 726 cyclists died and another 49,000 were seriously injured in accidents where the cyclist was hit in a motor vehicle traffic accident in 2012.   While not a huge number statistically, the fact that most bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles cause serious injury to those riding the cycle mean that these accidents are serious dangers and of particular concern, given that children and young adults (like college students) are often those who are sharing roads with cars and trucks while riding their bikes.

It’s a situation worthy of legislative concern.  In fact, there are two new laws being proposed by Indiana lawmakers this year that are targeting the dangers to people riding bicycles of serious injury and death in bicycle traffic accidents. Both would work to increase criminal laws for drivers who share the roads with bicyclists.

New Indiana Laws to Fight Against Serious Traffic – Bicycle Accidents

Each proposal would make it a Class C misdemeanor for a driver of a car, truck, SUV, minivan, or other motor vehicle to overtake a bicycle rider or bicyclist without keeping a minimum of THREE FEET between their vehicle and the bicycle when overtaking the bike and not waiting to return to their original lane until they were a safe distance from the bicycle.

What does this mean? If someone is convicted of a Class C misdemeanor in Indiana, they can be jailed for two months and fined $500.00. This is not law, yet — but it’s a good step toward helping keep people riding bikes safe on Indiana roads.

To track these new proposed bike safety laws:

Senate Bill 36

Citations Affected: IC 9-13-2-14; IC 9-21-8-5.

Synopsis:

Vehicle clearance when overtaking a bicycle. Provides that it is a Class C infraction for a person driving a vehicle overtaking a bicycle to not allow at least three feet of clearance between the vehicle and the bicycle and not return to the original lane until the vehicle is safely clear of the bicycle.

Effective: July 1, 2015.

House Bill 1233

Citations Affected: IC 9-13-2-14; IC 9-21-8-5.

Synopsis:

Vehicle clearance when overtaking bicycle. Provides that it is a Class C infraction for the operator of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle to not: (1) allow at least three feet of clearance between the vehicle and the bicycle; and (2) return to the original lane until the vehicle is safely clear of the bicycle. Revises the definition of “bicycle” for purposes of the motor vehicle code.

Effective: July 1, 2015

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