Senate Bill could force Cyclists off Roads in some National Parks

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cyclists may want to make note of legislation in the U.S. Senate that could force cyclists off roads in some national parks.

The draft of the Senate's transportation authorization bill, S. 1813 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, includes language that would introduce a mandatory sidepath law on roads in our National Parks and other Federal lands.

Section § 203 (d) (p. 226), states:

(d) BICYCLE SAFETY.—The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road.

Based on the surface of this language, it doesn't sound like Newfound Gap in the Smokies, or Skyline Drive in Shenandoah, or the Blue Ridge Parkway would be impacted by this law, simply because there aren't any bike paths that exist next to any of these roads. However, according to Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists:

What precedent does this set? Two pretty awful ones come quickly to mind: why stop at Federal land highways; and if roads with higher than 30 mph speed limits are so unsafe for bicyclists to share with motorists, bicyclists shouldn’t be using them, period.

You can read his full analysis on this piece of legislation here. The League of American Bicyclists is also organizing a petition to strip this language out of the bill.

Thanks to the National Parks Traveler for alerting me on this one.


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