Mark Sanford signed into law new rules for the time honored bicycle auto confrontation. About 482,000 South Carolinians ride a bike at some point during each month. The number avid (read rabid) cyclists is hard to pin point but most agree the number is increasing.
Sanford a long time cyclist signed the new laws into effect providing that "taunting, harassing or throwing objects at bicyclists" would become a misdemeanor that could result in fine of at least $250 and up to 30 days in jail.
Rep. Garry Smith, a Simpsonville Republican, said the bill he co-sponsored "gives cyclists the assurance they're going to be treated equally on the road." (Garry Smith is a ding dong)
Also drivers are now prohibited from blocking bicycle lanes and would have to maintain a "safe operating distance" from riders. Violators who do great bodily injury to cyclists would face fines up to $1,000.
The bill also requires bicycle riders to use hand signals when turning, slowing or stopping unless they need the hand to control the bike. Violators would face a fine up to $25.
Photo Showing Required Hand Signals
Bicyclists can, but are not required to ride on the shoulder of the road. However, riders are required to stay in bicycle lanes when available, except when passing other bicyclists or obstructions. They are not required to use a "recreational bicycle paths" instead of the road when available.
All this is well and good, but common laws can't replace common sense.
If the Post and Courier online edition comments are any indication theres a lot of frustration with the spandex clad peddle pushers, and it seems to me the trouble with the new law is perspective:
How the average cyclist sees things on Savannah Highway:
1. I have just as much right to be here as these cars.
2. I can ride fast enough to keep up with traffic.
3. I'm in better shape than the guy in the F150 next to me.
4. I wear a helmet and reflective clothing so you can't miss me.
5. Share the road is Now the law.
6. Harass me and you'll get a fine or even jail.
7. I can use the whole lane if I need to.
8. Your SUV is causing global warming.
9. I'm in training, stay out of my way.
10.The Governor just signed new laws to protect me from all these cars.
How the average driver sees things on Savannah Highway:
1. What cyclist?
America has a love hate relationship with cyclists
Some we love:
Some we hate:
Some we have arrested:
Others we would just as soon forget:
In closing some Cyclist Humor: