Late Post: Oklahoma City Approves Bicycle Ordinance Changes

Someone asked me about this the other day and I realized that in my earlier absence from the blog I had forgotten to post about it.  The previously mentioned ordinance changes being considered by the Oklahoma City Council were passed on May 24th during the normal meeting.  The highlights of the proposed changes are as follows:

  1. The proposal would allow cyclists to have full use of the lane on any road designated as a bicycle route.  A bicycle route is a designated piece of a road way primarily consisting of the 200 miles of bike routes laid out in the city’s cycling master plan, not just a road containing a “Share the Road” sign.
  2. In relation to the proposal above, the ordinance would specifically state that a vehicle would be required to fully change lanes to over take the cyclist on designated bicycle routes.  If there is no room, to change lanes, the vehicle would be required to yield to the bicycle as a piece of normal traffic and comply with “all traffic control devices and pavement markings which prohibit lane changes.”
  3. Limits the conditions upon which more than two people can ride upon a bicycle.
  4. Broadens the places where cyclists can park their bicycles on sidewalks.
  5. Limit the use of “tall handlebars” (handlebars taller than 12 inches) except upon recumbent bicycles.
You can read the specifics on all the changes here.

Oklahoma City Council Conducts Public Hearing on Bicycle Ordinance Changes

Sorry folks, but I’m back to playing catch up.  Firstly, the Oklahoma City Council is holding the public hearing phase on the major changes to the city’s bicycle ordinances.  The meeting is occurring today starting at 8:30 AM in the City Council Chamber on the 3rd floor of 200 N. Walker.

As you can see from the full agenda, there is a lot of ground being covered so I can’t really say when the ordiances will changes will be considered.  If it happens when I happen to have a free moment, I will be live tweeting the discussion at @okcbicyclist.

As previously reported and in brief, these ordiance changes consist of the following:

  1. The proposal would allow cyclists to have full use of the lane on any road designated as a bicycle route.  A bicycle route is a designated piece of a road way primarily consisting of the 200 miles of bike routes laid out in the city’s cycling master plan, not just a road containing a “Share the Road” sign.
  2. In relation to the proposal above, the ordinance would specifically state that a vehicle would be required to fully change lanes to over take the cyclist on designated bicycle routes.  If there is no room, to change lanes, the vehicle would be required to yield to the bicycle as a piece of normal traffic and comply with “all traffic control devices and pavement markings which prohibit lane changes.”
  3. Limits the conditions upon which more than two people can ride upon a bicycle.
  4. Broadens the places where cyclists can park their bicycles on sidewalks.
  5. Limit the use of “tall handlebars” (handlebars taller than 12 inches) except upon recumbent bicycles.

You can read the full list of changes here.


Edmond City Council Passes 3-Foot Rule

Following the cue of Oklahoma City and Norman, the Edmond City Council has passed an ordinance change that requires vehicles to pass cyclists with at least 3-feet of distance. Violation of the ordnance comes with a fine of not more than $500. The Ordinance also makes several other changes to cycling rules in Edmond:

  • It officially defines a bicycle as a vehicle when traveling on the road ways.
  • Clarifies the definitions of bike lane and shared-use paths.
  • Requires that cyclists stay under the posted speed limit.
  • Allows cyclists (NOT REQUIRES) to ride on the sidewalk everywhere in Edmond except for the downtown area which is defined as “south of Thatcher, east of the railroadright-of-way, north of Second Street, and west of Littler.”  Not that I would ever recommend taking up the extremely dangerous practice of cycling on the sidewalk.
  • Removes the requirement that cyclists have a bell, whistle or other noise maker on their bike.

You can read the full ordinance and background information in the City Council Agenda packet: http://edmondok.com/docs/city_council/meeting_agendas_and_minutes/03_28_2011_packet.pdf


OKC Traffic Commission Considers Broad Changes to City Cycling Ordinances

Today, at 1:30 PM, the Oklahoma City Traffic and Transportation Commission will consider a recommendation to make several large changes to the city’s cycling ordinances.  In brief, the changes consist of the following:

  1. The proposal would allow cyclists to have full use of the lane on any road designated as a bicycle route.  A bicycle route is a designated piece of a road way primarily consisting of the 200 miles of bike routes laid out in the city’s cycling master plan, not just a road containing a “Share the Road” sign.
  2. In relation to the proposal above, the ordinance would specifically state that a vehicle would be required to fully change lanes to over take the cyclist on designated bicycle routes.  If there is no room, to change lanes, the vehicle would be required to yield to the bicycle as a piece of normal traffic and comply with “all traffic control devices and pavement markings which prohibit lane changes.”
  3. Limits the conditions upon which more than two people can ride upon a bicycle.
  4. Broadens the places where cyclists can park their bicycles on sidewalks.
  5. Limit the use of “tall handlebars” (handlebars taller than 12 inches) except upon recumbent bicycles.

The full documentation for the proposed changes by Mr. Randall Entz of the Planning Department, can be found at the Meeting Agenda website: http://www.okc.gov/AgendaPub/meeting.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&docid=30140.  If approved by the Traffic Commission, the proposal would then move to the full city counsel for consideration.  The meeting agenda does allow for public comments from citizens.  The meeting will be held at the City Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, 200 N. Walker.

Thanks to Pete on the OBC Voices mailing list for the heads up.


SB 1329 and Bicyclists — Updated

There are reports in the news that SB 1329, which went into effect today, allows bicyclists to cross intersections on a red light when the street is clear:

Senate Bill 1329 allows motorcycle and bicycle riders to go through red lights at traffic lights that are engineered to detect motor vehicles.

In Tulsa, two types of automobile-detection lights are used – an underground loop tripped by the weight of a vehicle and a camera-based laser that turns lights green when the beam is broken by a vehicle, Murray said.

Motorcycles and bicycles that aren’t heavy enough may proceed through a red light if no cars are located around the intersection.

“Mostly, this will be at intersections not having some traffic around,” Murray said. “But I know we are going to be getting calls on this one.”

via New laws going into effect | Tulsa World.

I was very excited last year when I heard about this bill.  However, the final bill had the exemption for bicyclists nixed at the last minute.  The bill as passed by the State Legislature and signed by the Governor only applies to motorcycles (https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/legislation/52nd/2010/2R/SB/1329.pdf).

Some resourceful souls on the OBS mailing list asked about why it ended up this way and the prevailing thought was that bicyclists wouldn’t have enough time to cross at a red.  I know, it’s absolutely silly, but that’s what they reasoned.  So until then, we are legally required to sit at a light that we can’t trigger until a vehicle comes along to trigger it for us. Fun, fun, fun!

Update 11/10/2010:

The Tulsa World has printed a correction regarding the incorrect reporting about Senate Bill 1329 applying to bicyclists, though the online version of the story does not contain the correction:

A Nov. 1 Tulsa World story about new laws going into effect incorrectly listed the vehicles being allowed to proceed through a red light. Only motorcycles will be permitted to go through a red light if no other traffic is present.

via Corrections, clarifications | Tulsa World.

Additionally, The Oklahoman, who also carried this story, printed a correction on page 2 of today’s physical  edition of the paper.


Nichols Hills Require Bicycle Licenses

Walter J. posted this interesting little legal tidbit about the bicycle licensing requirements of Nichols Hills to the OBS mailing list:

Sec. 22-221.  Impoundment.

Any bicycle found upon any of the streets, sidewalks, alleys, parks, or public ways, or upon private property not under the control of the owner of the bicycle, and not licensed as herein required, or which does not otherwise comply with the provisions hereof or state law, shall be impounded until compliance is made. Abandoned bicycles shall be seized and impounded for safe keeping by the police department.

(Code 1989, § 20-105)

Sec. 22-222.  License.

(a)   It shall be unlawful and an offense for any person to operate or use a bicycle with a wheel diameter of 20 inches or more, propelled wholly or in part by muscular power, upon any of the streets, sidewalks, alleys, parks, or public ways of the city without first obtaining a license therefor and having the license placed thereon as hereinafter provided.

(b)   Such persons as the city manager may designate are hereby authorized and directed to issue bicycle licenses and attach the license to the bicycle on the upright portion of the frame below the seat or in such other form and manner as the city manager may prescribe. At the time of issuance of the license, the person issuing the license shall record the date of the issuance of each license, the name and address of the person to whom the same is issued, and the license number, together with a description of the bicycle licensed. There shall be no fee or charge for the issuance of such licenses.

(c)   In the event the license becomes obliterated, mutilated, removed or for any other reason, its numbers and lettering cannot be read, the owner of the license shall be required to obtain a duplicate license.

(Code 1989, §§ 20-100–20-102)

Via: http://www.municode.com/resources/gateway.asp?pid=12449&sid=36

I have no idea how often this law is enforced if ever.  However, since punishment for an unlicensed bike is having it impounded, I may have to rethink my little trips to the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays.  Anyone ever been asked for their license?

UPDATE: 07/06/2010

The license can be obtained at no cost from the Nichols Hills Public Works Department at

1009 NW 75th.


Reminder of State Bicycling Laws

Not that they make much difference, given the woman who ran me off the road a week ago shouting something about me being on “her” roads, but I’m glad to see these articles reminding people about traffic laws in Oklahoma . . .

With a few exceptions, Oklahoma law gives bicycles as much right to use public roads as cars, on the condition that bikes shouldn’t "impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic."

Tulsa World: Roads are for bicycles, too

 

Update:

And just to prove my point . . .

A recent incident involving an Edmond bicyclist hit by a car is sure to stir the discussion about sharing the road.

Nate Gomez said he was out for an early morning ride Saturday when someone in a car pulled up behind him and yelled at him for being on the street. Gomez said the driver then swerved into him causing a collision. He wasn’t hurt, but his $5,000 bicycle was damaged and the driver sped away.

Bikers, drivers clash | NewsOK.com


Possible Changes for Bicyclists and Stoplights

Generally, I’m not a big fan of changing laws specifically for bicyclists.  I think the best way to improve the relations with bicyclists and motorists is for us to be viewed as normal vehicles on the road and not as special charity cases.  However, given the number of poorly set sensor lights out there, I’m inclined to agree with this one . . .

Representative Chuck Hoskins has authored House Bill 1795, which would make it legal for motorcycle drivers [and bicyclists] to continue through an intersection even if the light is red. The only requirements would be that the driver come to a complete stop and then make sure it is safe to proceed before going through the light.

Bill lets drivers run red light – KFOR

The bill has already passed the house and is currently languishing in the Senate’s Public Safety and Homeland Security committee which seems a bit grandiose for this bill.

You can read the text of the bill here