Oklahoma Legislative Update

Oklahoma Capital Building Topaz

Photo By: George Thomas

With the end of the legislative session, we now can report on the final disposition of the four major cycling bills that were being considered this year:

  • SB443: Requires bicycle safety questions on the driver’s license exam.
    Passed and signed by the governor.
  • HB2049: Designates Route 66 as the Historic Route 66 Bike Trail.  Originally, the bill only partly covered Route 66, but in the end it was expanded to cover the entire length.
    Passed and signed by the governor.
  • SB487: Would have allowed for  an optional $5 donation during driver’s license renewals to go for bicycle safety education.
    Died waiting for final vote after reconciliation.
  • SB951: Probably the most important bill in this year’s session would have clarified the 3-foot rule and would have increased penalties for people throwing objects at cyclists.
    Died in Senate Subcommittee.

Legislative Update

Law Books

Photo By: Mr. T in DC

Over the last couple of months four new bills regarding bicycling have been introduced to the Oklahoma Legislature and are making their way through the committee and floor processes. The first three are part of the safety legislation that Sen. Andrew Rice has been discussing for the last several months and the last designates old Route 66 as a bicycle trail.

SB 443:  Requires that all people seeking a drivers license demonstrate knowledge of the traffic laws of the state including bicycle and motorcycle safety.  This bill has already moved out of committee and has been unanimously passed in the Senate (41 ayes, 0 nays).  The bill has been passed off to the house for their consideration.

SB 487: This bill sets up a voluntary revolving fund (paid for by a $1.00 donation when you get or renew your drivers license) to be used to “provide awareness to the road traveling public of the presence of bicyclists by any media promotions, publications or signage.”  This bill has made it’s way out of both the Public Safety and Appropriate committees with a recommendation of “Do Pass”.

SB 951:  This bill contains the majority of  Sen. Rice’s safety legislation.  Firstly, this bill specificially mentions bicycles as it pertains to objects being thrown at a moving vehicle.  The penalty for this offense remains unchanged at not more that 10 years imprisonment or $10,000 fine.

Secondly, this bill states that  a cyclist should have a 3 foot safety margin from a motor vehicle on both the left AND right side.  It goes on to require a state wide mandiated 3 foot passing requirement for vehicles going around cyclists.  Violation of this statute comes with a minimum $500 fine.  If the statute is violated and an injury occurs, the fine rises to a minimum of $1,000.  Finally, if the statue is violated and a death occurs, the fine rises to a minimum of $5,000.

This bill is currently awaiting co-authorship by Sen. Halligan (District 21).

Finally, there is HB 2049.  This house bill authored by Rep. Lewis Moore of Arcadia (Dist. 96) designates old Route 66 from the Edmond city limits to the Sapulpa city limits as a “historic bike trail” and will receive signage stating such and, if there is money, a well paved shoulder running the length of the trail.  This bill is also co-authored from the senate side by Sen. Rice.  This bill has made it out of the Transportation committee with a “Do Pass” recommendation.