Posted on April 6, 2016 · Posted in General

LB 716 will be coming back to the floor of the legislature soon on Select File. There have been two additional amendments filed – bad ones-  that will also be debated.  It’s time to call and/or email your state senator and urge them to support LB 716 in its current form and vote against the amendments that have been filed by senators Coash and Bloomfield.

Find your senator’s contact info here

Below is an example letter you can use. The key points to remember:

  • The right of way issue ONLY APPLIES TO TRAILS CROSSING STREETS. It does NOT apply to sidewalks.

  • The mandatory sidepath law is outdated (NE is one of only 3 states left with this blanket provision) and does not give people on bikes the ability to choose the route that is safest for them.

Dear Senator _____,

As your constituent, I urge you to support LB 716 in its current form and vote against the amendments that have been filed by senators Coash and Bloomfield.

We need to make bicycling safer and more accessible for all Nebraskans. LB 716 does this by clarifying the law that deals with the right of way when designated trails cross streets. People on bikes deserve to be protected when they cross streets legally with a green light or other traffic control device while riding on a trail. The bill also specifically states that “Nothing in this subsection relieves the bicyclist … from the duty to exercise care.”

We need to give people on bicycles the freedom to choose a route that they believe is the safest, based on the conditions, their destination and their ability. LB 716 does this by repealing the outdated, mandatory sidepath law that is currently on the books. Given the opportunity, the majority of bicyclists would likely choose to ride on a sidepath rather than a street. However, if the conditions aren’t safe, a person on a bike should not be forced to break the law when choosing a safer option.  Conditions that could  impact the safety of a sidepath include temporary flooding, accumulated debris after a storm, or ice patches. Further, sidepaths being enjoyed by pedestrians, especially those walking with young children and pets can get crowded, making it safer for everyone for a bicyclist to ride on the adjacent street.

The amendments filed by senators Coash and Bloomfield will not make bicycling safer, and will discourage kids from riding their bikes. In a time when childhood obesity is skyrocketing, the last thing we need to be doing is discouraging kids from riding in their neighborhoods or riding to school.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I hope you will vote for better bicycling by supporting LB 716.