Why NC cyclists are insisting the Senate backpedal on House Bill 44

BIKELANEThe word bicycle does not appear in the title of House Bill 44, but the bill stands to have a major impact on those who like to bike for pleasure or as an alternative form of transportation.

Buried in the Local Government Regulatory Reform Act is a provision that stands to restrict the advancement of bicycle lanes across North Carolina.

Section 7 of the bill reads:

Reduction of travel lanes to accommodate the addition of bike lanes within the existing paved and marked travel lanes of any State highway system street or highway located within a municipality shall be approved by a majority vote of the members of the Board of Transportation.”

Got that? Local official could not add bike lanes to a city until a majority of the NC Board of Transportation offers its blessing.

The group Asheville on Bikes is urging cyclists to reach out to their legislators opposing Section 7 of this bill. As they note:

Each year 960 bicyclists are hit by vehicles in North Carolina, making North Carolina one of the least safe states in the US for bicycling. On average, about 160 pedestrians and 20 bicyclists are killed each year in the State, representing about 12% of all traffic fatalities that occur on North Carolina roads.

Section 7 of HB44 is counterproductive to NCDOT’s measures to improve public safety on our roads and NCDOT’s Complete Street Policy.

The state Senate could give the bill final approval later today.

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