Cleveland City Council Set to Pass Bicycle Safety Legislation



As part of our work to build a more bicycle-friendly community, we at Bike Cleveland have been advocating Cleveland City Council to pass a series of policies that will protect the growing number of cyclists on the road, including an important law that requires motorists to maintain a three-foot distance when passing bicyclists. These policies, known as the Bicycle Safe Street Ordinances, were introduced on Monday, May 7th in Council by councilmen Anthony Brancatelli and Joe Cimperman.

The Bicycle Safe Street Ordinances are modeled after successful ones passed in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Forth Worth, TX. In detail, the ordinances will:

· Require motorists to yield the right-of-way to all vehicles—including bicycles—at intersections, helping to prevent right-hook and left-hook collisions;

· Make it a finable offense for parking in a bike lane, multipurpose path, or other facility dedicated solely for bicycles or non-motorized vehicles;

· Remove the requirement to license a bicycle in the City of Cleveland and instead encourage bicyclists to utilize the National Bike Registry; and

· Require motorists to give cyclists three feet of space when passing on city streets. Commercial vehicles will be required to give six feet of space.

The city’s passage of a Complete and Green Streets Ordinance that took effect in January 2012 is a direct precedent for the pending Bicycle Street Safety Ordinances, which will continue to ensure that local streets are increasingly safe for both motorists and cyclists.

In a statement, Cleveland City Councilman Anthony Brancatelli praised the legislation. “I am pleased to be sponsoring this important legislation with Councilman Cimperman, with ordinances like this one Cleveland is quickly gaining a positive reputation as a bike friendly city.”

Bike Cleveland believes this series of ordinances provide a cost-effective way to make our streets safe for all users immediately. They will help transform Cleveland’s transportation infrastructure into one that accommodates all users, and encourages more people to bike more often. As seen in cities across the county, more biking leads to a healthier, more vibrant community.

The Bicycle Safety Ordinances are designed to serve as an educational tool. They will help outline safe practices for motorists and bicyclists using the same road. Bike Cleveland is of the opinion that there is enough room out on the streets for everyone. In instances of enforcement, this law ought to add clarity to the Ohio Revised Code in defining what constitutes a “safe distance” for passing (ORC 4511.27). The law should also help to reinforce for all road users that bicycles are legal vehicles on the road, and define what it means for motorists and cyclists to share the road.

“These ordinances make Cleveland a more bike-friendly city and a heart- and mind- friendly city. Bike Cleveland really has the city's longevity in its focus—this is just the beginning”, says Cimperman. We couldn’t have said it any better.

For more information about the ordinances visit BikeCleveland.org. While you are on there, become a member of Bike Cleveland, and add your voice to our powerful work of creating a more bicycle-friendly region.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 9:56 PM, 06.05.2012