Wednesday, March 04, 2015

HB 1030 - Yesterday's Failed Amendment...and The Future of SD Bicycling

Yesterday my Senator Omdahl attempted and failed to amend HB 1030. Because this amendment is a bit hard to find I’ve copied it from the Senate Journal and pasted it below. I think it deserves a careful read.

It begins with rendering 3' and 6' passing moot when riding outside municipalities. Then certain roads that have “sufficient lane width in the highway to provide the separation distance required” by 3’ and 6’ of passing can be designated by local governing bodies as roads that “may be used for bicycle travel.”

This amendment faced a far from unanimous voice vote. Senators who rose in favor of this very bad amendment were: Omdahl (Minnehaha County), Ewing (Lawrence) and Monroe (Hughes, Hyde, Stanley, Sully).

Think about the future:

Next year is a new legislative session and bicycles are a hot topic. Riders should prepare for yet another clothing bill – as a way to collect the pound of flesh ostensibly owed for providing increased safety for cycling road users. Also the Howie and Omdahl amendments won’t disappear. Heck – if invited to make HB 1030 “better” I’d put forth a bill that inserted “or a full lane change” after the 6’ passing requirement. This would allow easier passing of me when I’m controlling a lane on my bike.

Riders may not like politics. But acts of legislatures do not happen in a vacuum.

Whose job is it to keep a senator with an amendment and a silver tongue from banning cycling on roads throughout the state?

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Sen. Omdahl moved that HB 1030 be further amended as follows:

On page 1, line 14, of the House Transportation Committee engrossed bill, after "bicycle." Insert:
"The provisions of this section do not apply to any highway outside the incorporated boundaries of a municipality unless the highway has been designated for bicycle travel pursuant to section 2 of this Act.".

On page 1, after line 14, insert:

"Section 2. The Transportation Commission or board of county commissioners may designate a highway that may be used for bicycle travel. The highway may only be designated for bicycle travel if there is sufficient lane width in the highway to provide the separation distance required by section 1 of this Act. The commission or board shall identify the beginning and end point of the highway designated for bicycle travel. Signs shall be posted on the highway designated for bicycle travel to notify the motoring public of the beginning and end point and at regular intervals along the designated highway.".

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

HB1030 Passes Senate - Next Stop, The Governor

There is never enough thanks to go around on days like today. For what its worth...I'm giving thanks:

Thank you Chris Parsley, Clint Kolda and Chad Pickard. Since January 20 this team has been in constant contact around this bill. Strategy, ideas, thoughts, research, sanity, insanity - day and night - our lives have been just short of consumed by this bill. It's a great experience being on such a stellar team. Thank you guys. All volunteer all the time!

The American Heart Association and Megan Myers. Without diversity of thought and presentation bills like this are tough to pass. The Heart Association brought healthy living into the conversation and was a constant presence in the capitol. Also, Megan never seems to tire of my many question about how things work. I owe her. Thanks AHA & Megan.

Finally iPhone and Facebook Messenger. Seriously. I'd love to have all that conversation rolled up into a book to read. Couldn't have done it without you two.

On to Governor Daugaard's desk.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

HB 1030 - 3' Passing Bill - Friday!

It feels like a month has passed...

A quick update to say HB 1030 will be heard by the Senate Transportation Committee this Friday at 8am. Assuming no complicating amendments or testimony requiring additional consideration the bill either moves to the Senate floor or dies a quiet death by tabling.

I've been waiting to contact the Senate Transportation Committee until now. Here's a link to the committee's page containing the contact form.

Showtime!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 3/28

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is March 28. We'll depart at 9am from Panera Bread 5117 S Louise Ave.


Here is a link to the general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the speed of this ride a bit mentally challenging. If you want to see the entirety of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides posts follow this link.

Here is today's motley crew. We waited for a train on 8th Street before finding an alternate route. Missing from this photo is the guy who chased us down in his car to say he had been planning to ride with us and chickened out. It was easy to catch us, remember we were stopped for a train. Dude, see you next month - I'll ask you if you're from Chicago.


If 10 miles seems a bit short then ride to the ride. Here's today's loop.


Mr Bendo and I. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

HB 1030 - In Waiting...


HB1030 continues to wait for a place on the Senate Transportation Committee's agenda.  It is not on the next (2/25) one. It is however being examined, scrutinized and analyzed. There is possibly a malicious force working against it. I note the esteemed Gordon Howie has proposed an amendment for it from his "rightsidesd" blog. I ain't linking because he doesn't deserve the views. It seems likely some random citizen will see that and nod their head and copy and paste it to all the senators.
Any energy arguing at him is wasted compared to making respectful contact with the senators themselves. If you have not yet contacted the committee members consider doing so. Explain your reasons the bill is important and ask that it not be weakened.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

HB1030 - Round 3 - The Senate Transportation Committee - Go!

IT'S TIME FOR ACTION! Again.

HB1030 was read today in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee. It is not yet on an agenda but it is time to contact the Senate Transportation Committee: sen.Cammack@state.sd.us, sen.hunhoff@state.sd.us, sen.monroe@state.sd.us, sen.Otten@state.sd.us, sen.solano@state.sd.us, sen.peterson@state.sd.us, sen.Vehle@state.sd.us.

All the same words used before for the representatives are valid for the senators. There is increasing opposition to this bill which is no surprise. Apparently South Dakota roads are now too narrow and not straight enough for safe bicycle travel.

Or, be inspired by this wise man and send them a letter...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rumbles!! Part 2


Tuesday 10am HB 1214 - the reflective clothing bill - will be considered by the House Transportation Committee. At 2pm HB 1030 - the 3' passing bill - will be considered by the full House.

In the meantime...

Read Rumbles!! Part 1 here. 

This complete "Rumbles!!" series is a demonstration of the value that Argus Leader Journalist David Montgomery has brought to the local cycling community. Without this article as the starting point the destruction of this piece of cycling habitat - Highway 151 south of Hartford - would have been a surprise to most and seemed anonymous.

To be sure my view is the riding community ought to take responsibility and be their own watchdog. To be equally sure there simply aren’t enough riders engaged enough in the process of how cycling habitat is created and destroyed to be very effective.

Here David Montgomery filled some of the gap. He caught something in a meeting somewhere and it registered enough with him to make some calls and write an article. Because of this, the rumbles planned for Highway 151 will not be a surprise and will not be done seemingly anonymously; at least to me and followers of The MinusCar Project.

I view this as my newspaper subscription dollars being put to good use directly connecting and contributing to the work I do for bicycle advocacy.

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David Montgomery named names. Let’s look at the starting lineup, the players involved – pulled directly from the Argus Leader article in order of appearance:

Minnehaha County Commission – sometime between December 13 and 20, 2014 they approved rumble stripes on Highway 151. As an elected body they should at least pretend to care about me and my concerns. Maybe there’s even one of them that would champion my concerns. Some of them I may have voted for or against in elections, but to be honest I do not know which.

Minnehaha County Commission Chairwoman Cindy Heiberger – a cyclist! She’s concerned about creating the hazard! “Bicyclists beware,” she says. As an elected official she should at least pretend to care about me and my concerns. However, she is not someone that I am eligible to vote for, she lives elsewhere.

Larry Hayes – private citizen, local rider of bicycles.

Andy Vandel – Highway Safety Engineer with the South Dakota Department of Transportation. State staff should be reasonably responsive to a reasonable number of reasonable requests.

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To me the most glaring thing in this article is not at all related to rumbles. It’s the claim by Department of Transportation Andy Vandel that “they have a dedicated liaison to bicyclist groups.” This is both damning and encouraging.

It’s damning because as a leading bicycle advocate in South Dakota nobody has ever presented themselves to me as a dedicated liaison to bicycle groups. I checked with four other leading advocates in the area and they all agreed, nobody had ever presented to them as being a dedicated liaison.

It’s encouraging too! Because – have you heard?!? – the state has a dedicated liaison to cycling groups. Might has well see if I can meet them...

Saturday, February 07, 2015

SD House: I'm Just a Bicycle Bill

I'm monitoring with interest 3 bills in the South Dakota House.

HB1030 - the 3' bicycle passing bill. It is currently in the House Transportation Committee listed on the February 10th agenda as a "bill for possible action which [has] had prior hearing." At the moment I'm satisfied with the work that's been done on this bill. However it's been 10 days since I've heard anything about it so I'm a little nervous for what could happen while I can't see.

HB1032 - the protection for pedestrians in crosswalks bill. This is also listed as a "bill for possible action..." on the House Transportation Committee February 10th agenda.This one got hastily tabled January 22 by a 9 to 4 vote after Rep Stalzer pretended to know that traffic in Sioux Falls would get really backed up if it passed.

Perhaps the 9 yays were just annoyed to have to consider so much biking and walking in what they previously had experienced as an internal combustion transportation committee.

Five days later on January 27 Bolin and Duvall prevailed by a 7 to 5 vote to take another look at it. Feickert, Schaeffer and Werner had previously voted to table but were willing to go along for a second ride.

I'm not too worried about this one. I think it's extreme to have a legal requirement to wait for a pedestrian to completely cross a street before moving through an intersection. But I'm also guy who practices transportational walking and all too often I've got an idiot driving across my heels in anticipation of his next Big Mac. So pass the bill sure, but try to find a way to amend it.

HB1214 - the reflective or florescent bicycle clothing bill. This one is assigned to the House Transportation Committee but has not yet appeared on any agenda. It's an alarming bill that it is our duty as South Dakota riders to keep from becoming law. I understand Wyoming successfully fought off their 2015 version. Oklahoma is working one too. We must not become the first state to have this law.

I am currently happy with the work that has been done on this bill - but like HB1030 I acknowledge that bills can change when nobody can see.

Please. Let it be enough that the Federal standard for bicycles is that they ship with a white front and red rear reflectors. That South Dakota Law requires a lamp on the front and a reflector or lamp on the rear of every bicycle. Finally, that the problem with the visibility of bicycles is that too many riders fail to ride where they can be seen. Sometimes it's because they're afraid to be in the street and other times it's because the only place far too many drivers are looking is at a cell phone screen.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride:February 21

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be February 21. For those scoring at home, indeed the 21st is February's third Saturday. It will depart from MB Hasketts - 324 S Phillips Ave. We're going to climb 1000ft and primarily explore two or three neighborhoods boxed by 10th & 41st & Cleveland & Bahnson.

Remember the ride leaves at 9am. The loop is just about 10 miles and weather adjustable. We'll enjoy coffee or full breakfast after. There are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

The route goes a little something like this:

(apparently embedding isn't working so well - click here for a map)


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Today in South Dakota Bicycle Legislation

The Transportation Committee met today and discussed HB 1131 the “increase road funding” bill. I feared the possibility of an amendment that would make a tax specific for bicycles or riders. My fears were not realized today. The committee amended the bill a few times and then talked about referring the bill to the State Affairs Committee. Upon further consideration they instead deferred discussion to Thursday 2/12. After two hours of HB 1131 Duvall had had enough and her motion to adjourn was readily seconded by Hickey and quickly agreed to by the others over their shoulders no the way out the door.

What about HB 1030 the “3’ passing bill?” It is on Thursday’s 2/5 agenda.
But wait! That’s not all! Remember when Rep Deutsch was being asked to kindly remove his helmet prop from atop his head? Rep Rasmussen indicated she had a bill that is complimentary to his yellow helmet? It has perhaps arrived!

South Dakota now has its very own “reflective & fluorescent clothing” bill. Meet HB 1214. It has not yet been assigned to a committee.
“Any person operating a bicycle on a highway shall wear garments made of fluorescent or reflective material. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

I do not like this bill. This bill should not pass. Please don’t let this bill pass. Wardrobe choices should not be legislated.
Here are some arguments against…

In 2010 Sen Jerstad’s 3’ passing bill was amended with a similar requirement. The South Dakota Bicycle Coalition (such as it was) promptly dropped its support of the bill.
The effectiveness of reflective or bright clothing is doubtful. As a bicycle educator I recommend bright clothing as a reasonable option. In practice I wear what I have on. Sometimes my clothes reflect black. Cyclists have visibility problems because they are not willing to ride where drivers are looking. It is also increasingly difficult to ride where drivers are looking. I can’t fit myself between a driver’s face and their cell phone.

Bicycling is the cheapest and most efficient form of transportation in the world. Bicycling is the way many poor people move around. It is not appropriate to legislate what a person should wear to work.
And then there’s SDCL 32-17-25 – with thanks to Jessica for leading me through this...

“Bicycle lamps--Visibility and color--Violation as petty offense.  Every bicycle shall be equipped with a lighted lamp on the front thereof visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least three hundred feet in front of such bicycle and shall also be equipped with a reflex mirror or lamp on the rear exhibiting a yellow or red light visible under like conditions from a distance of at least two hundred feet to the rear of such bicycle. A violation of this section is a petty offense.”
See that riders are already required to have a lamp on the front and a reflector or lamp on the back. I fail to grasp the improvement of having the reflective or colorful item on the person rather than the machine.

Also note failure to have lights carries the penalty of “petty offense.” It is provable that lack of lighting is a strong contributor to bicycle/car crashing. The penalty for riding without reflective or fluorescent garments will be a Class 2 misdemeanor which is akin to speeding. The disparity of these two punishments is irreconcilable.
Someday soon this bill will land in a committee. Stay awake.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 2/21

First: the next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is February 21. We'll depart from MB Haskett's 324 S Phillips Ave. February is one of the months where we don't wait for the last Saturday of the month.

Second: the general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the speed of this ride a bit mentally challenging. 

Next: a photo of January's group.


Other Next: remember if 10 miles seems a bit short then ride to the ride. All nine of January's riders did. Here's what us westsiders did.


Final Next: somebody's been practicing studded tire fat bike track stands. The whole driveway looks like this - which is actually pretty cool looking.





Friday, January 30, 2015

Rumbles!! Part 1

Today while I was standing in the Minnehaha County Administration Building parking lot talking bikes with local riding legend Larry Hayes we observed an orange body on two wheels doing fat bike repeats on the 6th Street hill.


Warning: he's already beating you.

Why was I in the Minnehaha County Administration Building parking lot? It's because on 12/22 the Argus Leader printed this article.


Coming soon, how journalism matters to advocacy and activism.

Outdoor Campus Gets Bike Ed

May 23rd the Outdoor Campus is hosting a four hour "Need to Know" class. This class will be led by myself with Clint, Chris and Kurt. A bike education experience hosted by the State of South Dakota.



Did you know, if you're going to teach safe cycling in this city your name must contain a hard 'c' sound, preferably at the beginning?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

HB1030 - Making Spicy Sausage

Last Tuesday HB 1030 got assigned to a Transportation Committee Sub-Committee so that 4 or 5 of them could take a good hard patient look at the problem and decide some language that suits them. My friend Chris Parsley sat in and participated on one - and perhaps the only one - meeting. If no further action is taken on the bill by the sub-committee there should be some pretty nice language regarding the passing of a bicyclist presented to the whole committee. Rep Fred Deutsch seemed to have the an accurate inside track on the language.

But these things don't happen in a vacuum. Maybe by the next time this bill is discussed in the Transportation Committee proper, it will have changed dramatically. One never knows.

When will this bill be discussed in the Transportation Committee? Rep Vericho is the chair. The chair sets the agenda. Ask the chair. As of now it is not on the agenda for the 2/3 meeting. I suppose a motion to consider the bill could come on 2/3. So I'll be listening via SDPR in case it does.

On the agenda for 2/3 is HB 1131 - "revise certain taxes and fees to fund improvements to public roads and bridges in South Dakota." This is a hugely important bill for the funding of our infrastructure.

In the context of HB 1030 It's consideration sends a chill down my spine. For all the times I heard the chair joke, then half joke, then no joke suggest taxing riders and bicycles HB1131 is the bill that could make that happen. So I'll be listening on 2/3 anyway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

HB1030 - Opening Pandora's Box

Well South Dakota riders. Your House Transportation Committee has formed a sub-committee to look at all bicycles laws and try to align them so that they can figure out how to make safe passing a reality. The full committee expressed their desires for the sub-committee and many of them go far beyond the scope of a 3' passing bill.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride:This Week!


First. Bike it!

Here is a link to information about the general expectations of attending a Saturday Coffee Shop Ride.

Here is a link to route information specific to this month's ride on January 31 @ 9am from Starbucks on 13th & Minnesota Ave.

The route has been tested. We'll tour extensively in the area north of Russell and south of the Airport. We'll ride past the air base, we'll stop at an historical marker and review some history of the area, we'll note the progress of Badlands Pawn which should have freshly broken ground by that time.

We'll also observe the lesser known South Dakota Navy Base.


Come and join us on our Saturday Coffee Shop Ride, a very Americana edition.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

HB1030 = 3 Feet Please:Committee Consideration


Today the House Transportation Committee considered HB1030 South Dakota's second attempt at passing a 3' Passing Bill for bicyclists. These are three of the very handsome folks who testified in favor of the bill. They are: Fred Deutsch freshman representative from District 04, Jessica Andrews from Chamberlain, & Chris Parsley from Sioux Falls.

If you want to know the gritty details of what went down in room 413 you simply must listen to this audio recording. Start at minute 24 and listen until they stop talking about bicycles. You'll catch Fred's Freshman Fashion Faux Pas - no helmets allowed in committee and Chris, when asked about shoulder rumbles bothered to mention the seeming inability of South Dakota drivers to stay on the road - to widespread chuckles I might add.

Speaking of inability to stay on the road...


...no pedestrians were killed during the destruction of this sign...


...perhaps we should rumble Kiwanis Ave. That's glass, but I digress.

Seriously South Dakota riders owe these three a very big debt of gratitude. They did very nice work for all of us. Seriously. I mean it. Chris and Jessica did this on their own time.

There are some other folks heavily involved in the effort. DOT legal counsel Bill Nevin has been assigned the job by the DOT to present the bill. The American Heart Association of South Dakota has active transportation/healthly lifestyles on their advocacy agenda therefore they've done great work in support of this bill.

The broad strokes...District 09 Rep Steve Hickey moved an amendment to include the important word "minimum" to modify the required 3 feet. The amendment passed. Then the questions of obfuscation rolled in. The main concerns seemed to be about the possibility that existing laws already meet the goal of a 3' passing law and the question of whether riders already pay enough to be allowed on the roads in the first place.

Rounds moved to pass the bill with a second from Hickey. A substitute motion from Stalzer/Kaiser to defer the bill to Tuesday 1/27 prevailed.

In our estimation there are 2 strong opponents and 3 strong proponents of this bill. That leaves 8 on the fence. These folks will be talking about this bill between now and Tuesday. Quick notes to all the committee members, yes again, are important. The page to do that from is here.

...and come back here Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

HB1030 Has Its Day

HB 1030 - the 3' Passing Bill - is up for discussion in the Transportation Committee during it's Thursday 10am meeting. I wonder which South Dakota riders will go to Pierre and stand for all South Dakota cyclists and say, "Please pass this bill. There are people injured and killed and the awareness through this laws will save lives."

Readers should understand the message that is sent by the absence of a cyclist.

Hey Black Hills. Raise your hand if you contacted your friend from Hill City, the chair of the committee. I understand he's a tough one.

Also, HB1032 - the one that protects pedestrians is also on the agenda.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride:January 31

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be January 31. It will depart from Starbucks on 14th and Minnesota Ave. We'll explore the happy little industrial complex hidden away north of Russell Ave and south of the airport.

Remember the ride leaves at 9am. The loop is always just about 10 miles. We'll enjoy coffee after.

The untested version of the route looks a exactly like this:



Create Maps or Search for a route from millions at MapMyRide

Here's the general postcard we have:

 

Friday, January 09, 2015

Legislative Alert: HB 1030

It’s officially official. HB 1030 is a bicycle related bill that will work its way through the South Dakota Legislature this winter. Riders will want to pay attention to this bill. When laws are scrutinized anything can happen to them. Additions, deletions, omissions. The last time a bicycle bill was in the legislature South Dakota was close to becoming the first state in the union to legislate cyclist wardrobe – and that was on a 3 foot passing bill.

This year HB 1030 is mostly a 3 foot passing bill. Notably this bill seems to have originated with the Department of Transportation. My sense is a change to law recommended by state staff is more likely to be successful.

Part I

The bill will introduce a new section into the books that reads:

“The driver of any motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall allow a three foot separation between the right side of the driver's vehicle, including any mirror or other projection, and the left side of the bicycle. The driver of the motor vehicle shall maintain that separation until safely past the overtaken bicycle. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

I’m pretty ok with adding this into law. I do recommend adding the word MINIMUM in the sentence “shall allow a three foot separation.” Many riders say 3 feet isn’t enough and adding this word implies more is better.

Part II

The bill will amend an existing law. The bold portion indicates the amendment:

A person operating a bicycle shall give a continuous signal of intention to turn right or left during the last one hundred feet traveled by the bicycle before turning. The signal shall also be given while the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn. A signal by hand and arm need only be given intermittently if the hand is needed in the control operation of the bicycle. No driver of a bicycle may overtake another vehicle on the right if the overtaken vehicle is signaling to make a right turn.

I am always happy to point out the most dangerous place to ride is to the right of a right turning vehicle. How do you know vehicle is turning right? You don’t. This amendment would make it illegal to ride to the right of a right turn signaling vehicle. I say don’t ride to the right of any vehicle.

I’m neutral on this amendment while pointing out my personal standards are more strict than this amendment would require.

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So write your state representatives. Get them early. They don’t start real work till Monday. Tell them this weekend what you think of HB 1030. Surprise them by showing them you care.

Find your reps now!!!