ACTION ALERT: Get LB 716 to Select File

Posted on February 29, 2016 · Posted in General

capital1As you may know, the bill we’ve been working hard to get through the Unicam, LB 716, has made it through committee and given a chance to be heard via a Speaker’s Priority designation.  Previous to this, we only needed to educate a group of 8 senators about the benefits.  Now our task is bigger.

It’s time to let all 49 state senators know that LB 716 needs to be passed, and we need your help. Please take a moment to email your state senator and ask them to vote in favor of LB 716 to move it to Select File.  

(Who is my state senator?  Search via your address here or check the alphabetical list for email address here.)

To be most effective, say up front that you are a constituent of the senator and provide an personal connection to the proposed bill, such as experiences you’ve had while riding trails that intersect streets.

It is important to note that this bill’s focus is narrow (applied only to trails), so please make sure your comments reflect the benefits of what has been specifically proposed. It has been our experience that any discussion with policy makers about laws pertaining to people on bikes, regardless of how narrow, turns into a referendum on all things bicycling.  These global discussions can quickly overshadow what the proposed law would actually do.  For now, we need to stay focused. There will be opportunities in the future to address the myriad of other issues we need to tackle.

Without further ado, here are our talking points:

LB 716:  RIGHT-OF-WAY CLARIFICATION
Introduced by Senator Kolowski
Co-Sponsored by Senators Gloor, Hilkemann, Lindstrom, McCollister, Mello

Why we support LB 716:
Many Nebraska cities have trail systems with crossings involving traffic signals, and many of them are expanding or actively looking to expand their systems. Current statues do not specifically address right of way issues for this type of crossing, and a clarification in the law is needed.

Language added for bicyclists mirrors language already in the statute applying to pedestrians, creating consistency for the duties of both pedestrians and bicyclists.

The mandatory sidepath provision currently on the books does not give a person on a bike the choice to ride safely on the road if the available sidepath does not lead to their destination, is poorly designed, poorly maintained, or contains debris that could be dangerous through which to ride. This provision is also important from a planning perspective: cities should be given the flexibility to plan, design and build infrastructure that optimizes the safety of all users.

DETAILS: 

LB 716 would clarify right-of-way laws for bicyclists. 

  • LB 716 would clarify that any bicyclist who is riding on a designated path* that intersects with a street or highway would have the right-of-way within the crossing if he or she follows the traffic control device and does not suddenly leave a position of safety.

  • Bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians in these circumstances.

  • Language has been added to address the responsibility of people on bicycles; specifically, to exercise due care and to not suddenly leave a position of safety.

*Note that this clarification would ONLY apply to intersections with designated paths (trails). It would not be applicable to sidewalks or street intersections.

LB 716 also repeals the mandatory sidepath law.

  • Repealing this statute gives a person the legal option to ride a bicycle in the road if necessary.

  • Gives Nebraska cities the freedom to design safe streets that best accommodate vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

  • Nebraska is one of only 3 states with this blanket, mandatory provision.

We appreciate your help very much. We’ll keep you posted on when the bill gets scheduled for a floor hearing and any other details that arise before then.