Monday, January 30, 2006

Who's Got More Time For 1190?

Cyclists Against 1190 - Fact Sheet

•HB1190 – “an Act to specifically exclude ridden animals and bicycles from the definition of vehicles.”

•This bill is not intended to affect the use of bicycles on the roads.

•The story being told about this bill is that it will allow drunken people more legal options to get home from the bar.
o“’We don't want these people driving cars,’ Willadsen said, and the bill is a broad-brush stroke to encourage intoxicated individuals not to drive.”

o“’We should not push people to stop driving when they've been drinking, and at the same time penalize them if they get on a bicycle when they're drunk,’ the former police chief said.”
•We think it’s time to tell a different story about this bill.

•To accomplish the intent of this bill, legislators seek in part to change the definition of vehicle (SD Law 32-14-1), to explicitly remove bicycles.

•We believe, whether intended or not, this bill will affect the use of bicycles on South Dakota roads.

•Currently every state has laws that define bicycles as vehicles or they have laws specifically granting that bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles. South Dakota should to.

•Changing the definition of vehicles to exclude bicycles consequently affects ALL laws affecting vehicles and, hence, bicycles.

•Excluding bicycles from the definition of vehicle would leave bicyclists in South Dakota without the protection of the law in terms of rights to the road and obligations when on the road.

•The bicyclists we're concerned about include our children, on their way to school, when they're on the road, even if they're following the rules of the road that we've taught them.

The example from right here in our backyard:
June 16, 1986 two Sioux Falls cyclists collided on Tomar Road. They sued each other. During the trial, one of the cyclists attempted to use, as part of his argument, SD Law 32-26-3, which grants that drivers going in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right and give each other half of the road.

The trial court rejected the cyclists’ use of this argument after they misinterpreted (according to the SD Supreme Court) the legal definition of vehicle (SD Law 32-14-1) to exclude bicycles.
We reasonably conclude that if the trial court had been correct in their interpretation of 32-14-1, then 32-26-3 would not have applied. If 32-26-3 doesn’t apply then all the rest of the Rules of the Road written for vehicles don’t apply. If no laws apply, then there is no legal protection for cyclists on South Dakota roads.

Please, do not exclude bicycles from the legal definition of vehicle. Do not allow HB1190 to pass as it is currently written.

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