Join or Renew

 
Monthly Archives

June 2013

Maine cyclist's death shows risks of draft from big vehicles (PPH)

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Stay Safe

This article originally appeared in the Portland Press Herald.

Maine cyclist’s death shows risks of draft from big vehicles

A preliminary report says turbulence from a passing truck probably caused the Trek Across Maine rider to lose his balance.

By David Hench dhench@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

The death of a cyclist in the Trek Across Maine fundraiser earlier this month has focused attention on the risks that bicyclists face from the draft created by passing vehicles, especially large trucks.

click image to enlarge

David LeClair, 23, is shown in an undated photo from the Athena Health team web page.

Police say David Leclair, 23 of Waltham, Mass., was probably knocked off balance by the air turbulence from a passing tractor-trailer. They say he died either when he hit his head on the truck or after his arm hit the truck and he was thrown onto the road.

“It would be very difficult to be a cyclist and not have something like this operate as a wake-up call, just in terms of vulnerability out there on the road,” said Brian Allenby, spokesman for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. “It also throws into focus the need to be hyper-vigilant and aware of surroundings and really riding defensively.”

The Maine State Police’s preliminary investigation concluded that the possible cause of the June 14 crash was the draft created by the truck, which caused Leclair to move to his left, hitting the rear tires of the truck.

That assessment is consistent with what troopers said was a possible contributing factor, and state police Lt. Walter Grzyb said Thursday that nothing in the subsequent investigation has changed that theory.

Police also learned that Leclair was taking a drink from his water bottle and had only one hand on the handlebar, which made him less steady.

The power of the “drag” created by a passing truck — the force of the wind as air is pushed away from the front of the truck and then fills in behind the rig as it passes — is familiar to many cyclists.

“It’s something I personally have experienced many times as well as every other cyclist I know who’s ridden on the road,” Allenby said. “The trucks don’t even have to be doing 50 or 60 mph, they could be going 30 to 40 mph. Any time you’re moving a mass that large through the air, you’re creating quite a bit of turbulence.”

Police have said that Leclair was riding about 2 feet inside the breakdown lane, based on witness statements. The truck was about 2 feet into the travel lane, leaving about 4 feet between the two as the truck passed.

The law requires motorists passing cyclists to stay at least 3 feet away.

Grzyb said the investigating trooper is still interviewing witnesses and hopes to have a final investigative report finished in another two weeks, although it may take longer.

The Trek Across Maine is an annual fundraiser in which more than 2,000 cyclists ride over three days from Sunday River ski resort in Newry to Belfast to raise money for the American Lung Association.

Leclair, part of the athenahealth cycling team from Massachusetts, was killed when he crashed on Route 2 in Hanover just a few miles from the ride’s starting point.

The crash report completed by Trooper Ronald Turnick on the day of the crash was approved by Trooper Kyle Tilsley on Tuesday.

The report indicates that Leclair was riding east, “near the breakdown lane.” The tractor-trailer driven by Michel Masse-Dufresne, 24, of Quebec, also was headed east.

Masse-Dufresne was apparently unaware that the rear of his 80,000-pound truck, which was hauling corn, had collided with Leclair. Masse-Dufresne continued driving until he was pulled over about five miles away in Rumford.

The report says it appeared that Leclair died of neck injuries; however, an autopsy determined the actual cause was blunt trauma to the head.

The crash report notes the road conditions that morning were dry and clear, the road straight and that Masse-Dufresne was not distracted.

A diagram of the crash scene shows there were a series of road signs as the truck approached the stretch of road where Leclair was riding. One indicated the speed limit was dropping to 40 mph, the next said to watch for pedestrians and the third indicated the speed limit had dropped from 55 mph to 40 mph.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a nonprofit group that advocates on behalf of cyclists, says in its literature that motorists should imagine a yardstick poking out the passenger window to gauge 3 feet, the minimum distance a car should be from a cyclist it is passing. Allenby said that is an absolute minimum.

“The example I always give is if a child is standing on the side of the road, would you pass them at 40 mph only 3 feet away? Of course not.”

New Hampshire state law requires a distance of 3 feet between a cyclist and motorist when the vehicle is traveling 30 mph, 4 feet when it’s going 40 and 5 feet when it’s going 50, he said.

In parts of Europe and Japan, where there are many more bicycles and motorized scooters sharing the road with trucks, many trucks are required to have underride side guards. The devices, barriers that stretch between the wheels of the trailer and below the container, prevent cars, cyclists and pedestrians from going beneath a trailer and being hit by the rear wheels.

Certain types of side guards reduce aerodynamic drag, according to a study by the National Research Council Canada’s Centre for Surface Transportation Technology.

However, the 2010 study did not explore the impact of reducing turbulence on safety, or identify turbulence as a significant safety threat.

There are important steps cyclists should take to keep themselves safe, Allenby said.

“One of the biggest keys, especially in urban areas, is to ride in a manner that you don’t surprise … motorists,” he said. “The more you can do to let them anticipate your next action, the safer you both will be.”

When large trucks are approaching, cyclists should grab the handlebars firmly, but not tense up their arms and shoulders, he said.

“You certainly want to have a good grip, but if your arms and shoulders are locked, it’s hard to react,” Allenby said.

That technique, along with other strategies for safe riding in traffic, are taught in many cycling classes, he said. Such classes can be valuable, especially for adults who rode as children and take up the sport again later in life but are now using the bicycle in a much different way, he said.

More information is available on the group’s website at: https://www.bikemaine.org

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@mainetoday.com

Cyclists say there’s a pro-motorist bias when tragedy strikes (BDN)

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Speak up for Biking, Stay Safe

This article originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News.

Cyclists say there’s a pro-motorist bias when tragedy strikes

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff
Posted June 25, 2013, at 4:46 p.m.
Last modified June 25, 2013, at 7:15 p.m.
 

BELFAST, Maine — Two weeks ago on a stretch of U.S. Route 2 that runs through the tiny western Maine community of Hanover, tragedy struck.

A cyclist in the annual Trek Across Maine charity ride was killed when he lost control of his bike as a tractor-trailer passed him. So far, the driver of the truck has not been charged by police in connection with the accident. But other cyclists, many in Maine and others from as far away as Oregon, said they believe that the way Maine law enforcement officers handled the death of David LeClair shows a pro-motorist bias.

“Essentially, the police are motorists. They’re not cyclists. The motorists come up with a version of the events that put the blame on the cyclist who’s not there to defend themselves,” said Bob Mionske of Portland, Ore., a former professional cyclist and attorney specializing in bicycle law. “Who’s to say any different?”

But in LeClair’s death, it’s different because there were witnesses, Mionske said on Monday. The 23-year-old from Watertown, Mass., was pedaling with half a dozen of his athenahealth cycling teammates on the first morning of the 180-mile ride to raise money for the American Lung Association. They were among more than 2,000 cyclists who had left Sunday River Resort in Newry, just 10 miles to the west, earlier that day.

When LeClair grabbed his water bottle to take a drink, he and his teammates were passed by a tractor-trailer from Quebec that was hauling corn to Augusta. Lt. Walter Grzyb, a Maine State Police commander, said later that the draft created when Michel Masse-Defresne, 24, of Quebec, drove by caused LeClair to lose his balance and fall over. The cyclist hit his head and was partially run over by the truck, Grzyb said.

The trucker kept going, telling police who stopped him six miles down the road that he had passed hundreds of bikes and hadn’t noticed anything unusual.

Police investigating the accident have not lodged any charges against Masse-Defresne, whom other cyclists said passed them with three and a half to four feet to spare. Maine law requires that motorists give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing. Maine State Police Spokesman Stephen McCausland said Tuesday that there is little likelihood charges will be lodged against the trucker. Police looked at physical evidence at the scene and on the truck and interviewed witnesses to the accident.

“This was thoroughly investigated,” McCausland said. “There is nothing to indicate the truck driver was in any way at fault here, and he had passed hundreds of bicyclists at that point.”

Nancy Grant of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, an advocacy group which works to make Maine better for cycling, said she’s not surprised to see police take the side of the motorist when accidents happen.

“Very often, the motorist has made an obvious mistake, and yet the police officer who is creating the report does not give a citation,” she said. “We’ve had cyclists call us to say police officers told them [cycling] is simply too dangerous — they should stay off the road.”

She said that although a lot of law enforcement officers and drivers “get it,” there are still some that don’t, but concern around LeClair’s fatal accident might help change that.

“One of the terrible realities of bicycling accidents are that the cyclists are very often really damaged, especially if there’s a car involved. More especially if there’s a giant truck involved,” Grant said. “The fatality was so tragic and the whole accident was so sad, I do think it’s been a huge wakeup call for both cyclists and motorists.”

John Parke, president of the Augusta-based industry group Maine Motor Transport Association, said that it’s every truck driver’s obligation to drive professionally and safely. He also said that truck drivers and cyclists need to work together for roadway safety.

“We think that the vast majority [of truck drivers] take that responsibility very seriously,” Parke said. “Do I think that every single truck driver is 100 percent in the right, 100 percent of the time? No. Do I think that every cyclist is? No.”

Grant said she believes that new laws may come about in the wake of the accident. In other states there is legislation on the books that increases the distance between cyclists and motorists depending on the speed of the passing vehicle. In those states, she said, at 30 miles per hour, the clearance is three feet, but it’s four feet at 40 miles per hour and five feet at 50 miles per hour.

Mionske said most states don’t have a range of legal consequences for drivers who operate carelessly or dangerously. There’s vehicular manslaughter, which requires gross negligence such as driving drunk or going 100 miles per hour in a neighborhood. But for drivers in violation of the three-foot passing law, the legal consequence might be just a $100 ticket — even when a cyclist’s life is lost.

“In Oregon, we have a vulnerable user law, which tries to fill in that gap. It has higher consequences for seriously injuring or killing someone out on the highway,” he said. “A vulnerable user is someone who’s not encased in a metal cage.”

In Europe, many countries take an even stronger pro-cyclist tack, Mionske said.

“They have a presumption of guilt on the driver. The presumption is you shouldn’t have done it,” he said. “[In the U.S.], what happens is there are no witnesses and the cyclist is dead. In practice, what happens is the police don’t charge.”

Matthew Littlefield is an avid cyclist from Waldo who has ridden in the Trek Across Maine before. He said that he, too, has noticed that motorists are generally more accepting of cyclists, but he’s had some close calls with what he calls the “truck suck” — the wall of wind caused by a truck passing fast and too close.

He said he knows truck drivers are doing a job, but taking 30 extra seconds to safely pass a cyclist is worth it.

“It is getting a lot better, but for every hundred motorists out there that wave to you, smile and do what they’re supposed to do, there are those who honk and pass too close,” he said Tuesday. “All it takes is one person to make a bad decision, and someone gets hurt.”

 
 

Portland legislator's bicycle 'rights' bill becomes Maine law (The Forecaster)

By | Coalition News, Stay Safe

This article originally appeared in the Forecaster.

Portland legislator’s bicycle ‘rights’ bill becomes Maine law

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 11:30 am
 

PORTLAND — Bicyclists in Maine are now better protected under the law, thanks to legislation sponsored by state Rep. Erik Jorgensen, D-Portland. 

LD 1460, “A Bill to Revise Maine Bicycle Law,” was passed June 14 without the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. The new law gives cyclists the right to determine where it is safest and most “practicable” to ride on the state’s roads, and forbids cars from turning in front of cyclists when doing so interferes with the bike’s safe operation.

The law also establishes that a collision between a bike and a passing car is evidence that the 3-foot buffer zone motorists are required to leave next to cyclists was violated.

Cyclists are already allowed to ride on every road in Maine except interstate highways and the portion of U.S. Route 1 between Brunswick and Bath. Portland has also launched several initiatives to make the city more bike friendly.

But some people claim that there’s increasing tension between motorists and cyclists trying to share the road. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which supported Jorgensen’s legislation, hopes the new law will change that.

“We’re thrilled to improve and clarify the foundation of bicycle law in Maine and are hopeful this bill will act as a catalyst for future legislation to protect the rights and safety of bicyclists,” Executive Director Nancy Grant said.

Jorgensen represents House District 115, which covers the city’s Back Cove neighborhood. He was elected last November and until recently served as executive director of the Maine Humanities Council.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or whall@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter:@hallwilliam4.

New law places more responsibility for cyclists’ safety on motorists (BDN)

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Stay Safe

This article originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News.

 

New law places more responsibility for cyclists’ safety on motorists

Cyclists race up Belfast's Main Street as part of the annual Maine Bike Rally in July 2005.

Cyclists race up Belfast’s Main Street as part of the annual Maine Bike Rally in July 2005. Buy Photo
By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff
Posted June 24, 2013, at 7:01 p.m.
 
 

AUGUSTA, Maine — A new law aimed at increasing the safety of bicyclists in Maine’s roadways is scoring an enthusiastic thumbs-up from cyclists in the state’s biggest city.

The bill, LD 1460, introduced by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and passed into law June 13 without the governor’s signature, adds teeth to the state’s 6-year-old “3 feet” rule and gives cyclists the right to determine for themselves the safest place to travel within a roadway.

It also changes the state definition of “traffic” to include cyclists and rollerbladers and prohibits motor vehicles from making right turns near cyclists in a way that would interfere with the cyclist’s travel. Advocates say that action, dubbed a “right hook,” is one of the most common causes of bicycle-motor vehicle accidents.

The law will take effect sometime in September, 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Jason Unterreiner, a 30-year-old Portland cyclist, said he was happy the law recognized his right to make the safest decision while riding his bike to and from Falmouth for work.

The previous law, requiring cyclists to ride as far to the right as possible, was “fundamentally unsafe,” he said.

“Oftentimes the safest place in the lane [will change], and quite often it’s toward the center of the lane, far away from where people will hit you with opening doors, far away from dirt and broken glass on the shoulder,” he said.

The Bicycle Coalition said passage of the law is an incremental step toward their ultimate goal of passing a “vulnerable user” law in Maine. Such laws exist in several other states and protect cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists by placing the responsibility for their safety on motor vehicle drivers.

“Our goal, with these improvements to the law and with future improvements, is to make it automatic,” said Nancy Grant, executive director for the Coalition. “When a bicyclist gets hit by a motorist, it should be a presumption of negligence on the part of the motorist. Vulnerable users, who aren’t encased in 5,000 pounds of steel, need to be traveled around carefully.”

Interactions between cyclists and motorists can be a tense and dangerous one, as shown in two recent news stories: the verbal altercation in Falmouth between a cyclist and a Portland TV show host who drove too closely and shouted a homophobic slur, and the death of a Trek Across Maine cyclist in Hanover in a collision with the back end of tractor-trailer.

Police said the cyclist in Hanover lost control of his bike while drinking from a water bottle as the tractor-trailer created a draft driving past him. The big rig was 3½-4 feet from the cyclist when it passed, witnesses told police. The driver will not face charges, according to police.

Maine law stipulates that motorists must give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing bicyclists. Under the new law, any accident involving a motor vehicle and a bicyclist is automatically considered evidence the driver violated the 3-feet law, though it is not the “presumption of negligence” the Bicycle Coalition had proposed in an earlier version of the bill. It sounds like jargon, but it’s a big difference in the courtroom.

Grant said she hoped the new law would help prevent accidents such as the one in Hanover.

“I was riding the trek,” she said. “That was incredibly tragic, and we want to do everything we can to prevent that from happening in the future.”

Christian Dyer, another Portland bicycle commuter, said he hoped adding more legal teeth to the 3-feet rule would make drivers obey the law.

“Motorists, on the whole, do not acknowledge the 3-feet rule,” he said. “They’re distracted, they’re on their cellphones. It scares the daylights out of me when I see someone coming through the intersection and they’re on their phone. I actually asked someone yesterday to get off their cellphone [while they were driving], because they’re endangering my life.”

Grant said that she recognized that cyclists aren’t perfect, and that not every car accident involving a bicycle is the driver’s fault. She also said many motorists are left with a bad taste in their mouths when cyclists cruise through a red light or turn without signaling.

“They ask, ‘How do you share the road with them?’” she said. “I agree it’s a challenge, and we’re working all the time to teach bicyclists how to ride their bikes safely and predictably.”

Maria Fuentes, executive director for the Maine Better Transportation Association, said letting cyclists choose for themselves where is the best place to ride may be “confusing” for some motorists, but said that enough education will help Mainers make it work.

“I think that would certainly be subject to interpretation; What’s one person’s safe spot might not be another’s,” she said. “It will be up to public safety people and the commuting community to make sure we educate people and raise awareness.”

“Most people who drive cars are conscientious, but there are always some who aren’t,” she added. “The same is true of people who ride bicycles.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

New bicycle law should make Maine roads safer, more accessible (Portland Press Herald)

By | Coalition News, Stay Safe

This article originally appeared in the Portland Press Herald.

New bicycle law should make Maine roads safer, more accessible

Wednesday June 19, 2013 | 10:24 AM

With the tragic news last week of 23-year-old Massachusetts cyclist David LeClair being killed while riding in the American Lung Association Trek Across Maine, little attention was given to Maine’s newest bicycling law.

On June 14, LD 1460, “A Bill To Revise Maine Bicycle Law,” became law thanks to the hard work and attention from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

The hope is that the bill, sponsored by Rep. Erik Jorgensen of Portland, is just the beginning of a process that will make cycling safer and more accessibility for riders around the state. And it is interesting to note that, with all of the recent vetoes and threats of veto out of Augusta, the bill was made into law without Governor LePage’s signature.

The following are the key points of the law:

The operator of the bicycle determines where it is safest and most “practicable” to ride on a roadway. This common sense change clarifies that when a bicyclist feels the need to use a travel lane (for example, because a shoulder is not in safe condition), the bicyclist has a clear legal right to do so.

A collision of a passing car with a bicycle is “prima facie” evidence of a violation of the three-foot law. BCM hopes that this change will encourage more citations for violations of the three-foot law, whether or not a collision occurs.

Cars may not make turns in front of bicycles when doing so interferes with the safe and legal operation of a bicycle.

“We’re thrilled to improve and clarify the foundation of bicycle law in Maine and are hopeful this bill will act as a catalyst for future legislation to protect the rights and safety of bicyclists,” said BCM Executive Director Nancy Grant.

For a detailed description of provisions in the new law go to bikemaine.org.

Urge your State Senator and Representative to support bike & pedestrian funding!

By | Funding Sources, Speak up for Biking

 

Background

The Appropriations Committee is currently looking at 30 bonds to issue.  A number of them focus on transportation.  LD 16 asks for $100 million for transportation infrastructure including $5 million for bike/ped projects.  One other proposed bond specifies funding for bike/ped, but only $1.5 million.  None of the others mention bike/ped.  All the transportation bonds will most likely be combined into one bond and we want to ensure that 5% of the total amount to be dedicated for bike/ped projects.

 

WHY do we need a bond to fund bike/ped projects?

Last spring (2012), when the MDOT opened the biennial Quality Communities Program (QCP), which funnels federal funding for biking or walking projects to Maine towns, 92 communities applied for funding, for projects adding up to $45 million.

In June 2012, Congress finally passed the federal transportation re-authorization. This law cut dedicated funding for walking and biking projects in Maine by 47%.  The result is that the MDOT has only $6.6 million in 2013-14 to fund the QCP projects.  Because of a huge backlog that already existed, all of the funding for the 2012 Quality Community Program will be used for construction of previously approved projects that have completed preliminary design.  That means that NONE of the 92 towns that submitted applications will be funded this cycle.

Clearly, we need another source of funds to support this demand and this is why dedicated funding for walking and biking projects is essential.

Need more reasons to support this bond?  The folks at the Maine Better Transportation Association shared this:

  1. MaineDOT will have to cut projects from Its work plan without a bond
  2. We need a bond to help fIx our brIdges
  3. MaIne needs the Jobs
  4. WIthout a bond, MaineDOT’s projected annuaL shortfall grows by $50 million
  5. Critical projects that are brIngIng new busIness to Maine will be put on the back burner
  6. Our towns and cities will come up short
     


Take Action Now!

  1. Call your legislator!  Phone call is best, even if you have to leave a voicemail.  Paper letter is next best.  Email is ok but the legislator may never get to it.
  2. You can find out your legislator and their contact info here.  Enter your town, street number and street name.  Click the “Submit” button.  At the next screen, click the “Elected Officials” tab and scroll down to “Maine Senate” and Maine House of Representatives”.
  3. Ask them to include dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the new transportation bond!
  4. If your legislator is on the Appropriations Committee, it’s even more important to call them–they have extra power in the bond decisions.  If your legislators aren’t on the committee, but you like making these calls, please call the chairs of the committee (Dawn Hill, York; Peggy Rotundo, Lewiston).

Please share this extra information with your friends.  Again, the more calls, the more likely the final version of the bond will specify dedicated funding for bike/ped.

New Law Aimed At Protecting Cyclists In Maine (WGME – Video)

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Stay Safe

This article originally appeared on WGME.com

For video, please click here.

New Law Aimed At Protecting Cyclists In Maine

STATEWIDE (WGME) — There is a new law aimed at protecting cyclists in Maine. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine says the law does three things:

  • If a cyclist is hit, then the 3-foot law is automatically broken.
  • The new law also allows a cyclist to determine how far to the right they ride, so if the shoulder has cracks or is unsafe, the cyclist can move closer to the middle.
  • The law also makes it illegal for drivers to peel out in front of cyclists.

Nancy Grant, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine says, “I can’t tell you how many accidents in Maine are what we call right and left hooks where a motorist is making a turn and just takes the bicyclist right out – doesn’t wait for the bicyclist to proceed, doesn’t give the bicyclist enough chance and takes the bicyclist right out.”

The law went into effect without the governor’s signature. 

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will also push for a law that would create automatic citations if a cyclist is hit, no matter what the reason.

LD 1460, "A Bill To Revise Maine Bicycle Law," becomes law

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Stay Safe

On Friday, June 14, LD 1460, “A Bill To Revise Maine Bicycle Law,” became Maine State Law! 

Here’s what LD 1460 does for you:

1. It clarifies that the operator of the bicycle determines where it is safest and most “practicable” to ride on a roadway. This common sense change clarifies that when a bicyclist feels the need to use a travel lane (for example, because a shoulder is not in safe condition), the bicyclist has a clear legal right to do so. 

2. It makes the collision of a car with a bike while passing “prima facie” evidence of a violation of the three foot law. If the car hits the bike, it didn’t give three feet! It is our hope that this change will encourage more citations for violations of the three foot law, whether or not a collision occurs. 

3. It clarifies that cars may not make turns in front of bicycles when doing so interferes with the safe and legal operation of a bicycle. 

Enacting this bill is just the beginning of what we hope will be a process that changes Maine’s bike laws to improve safety and accessibility for all riders. Your membership and support of the Coalition helps us make the roads safer for YOU!

 

The complete text of the law is as follows:

Act To Update and Clarify the Laws Governing the Operation of Bicycles on Public Roadways

PLEASE NOTE: Legislative Information cannot perform research, provide legal advice, or interpret Maine law. For legal assistance, please contact a qualified attorney.

An Act To Update and Clarify the Laws Governing the Operation of Bicycles on Public Roadways

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 29-A MRSA §101, sub-§83, as enacted by PL 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 and affected by Pt. B, §5, is amended to read:

83. Traffic.   “Traffic” means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, bicycles and other conveyances either singly or together using public way for travel.

Sec. 2. 29-A MRSA §2060, sub-§1-A, as amended by PL 2009, c. 484, §3, is further amended to read:

1-A. Right turns near bicyclists or roller skiers.   A person operating a motor vehicle that passesnear a person operating a bicycle or roller skis and proceeding in the same direction may not make a right turn at any intersection or into any road or way unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety and without interfering with the safe and legal operation of the bicycle or roller skis.

Sec. 3. 29-A MRSA §2060, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 and affected by Pt. B, §5, is amended to read:

2. Left turns on 2-way roadways.   At an intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each way entering the intersection, an approach for a left turn must be made in that portion of the right half of the way nearest the center line and by passing to the right of the center line where it enters the intersection. After entering the intersection, an operator must make the left turn so as to leave the intersection to the right of the center line of the roadway being entered.

When practicable, the left turn must be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.

An operator intending to turn to the left must yield the right-of-way to a vehicletraffic approaching from the opposite direction that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Sec. 4. 29-A MRSA §2063, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2009, c. 484, §5, is further amended to read:

2. Riding to the right.   A person operating a bicycle or roller skis upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time and place shall driveoperate on the right portion of the way as far as practicable except when it is unsafe to do so as determined by the bicyclist or roller skier or:

A. When overtaking and passing another roller skier, bicycle or other vehicle proceeding in the same direction;

B. When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;

C. When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted; and

D. When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, roller skiers, pedestrians, animals, broken pavement, glass, sand, puddles, ice, surface hazards or opening doors from parallel-parked vehicles, or a lane of substandard width that makes it unsafe to continue along the right portion of the way. For purposes of this paragraph, “lane of substandard width” means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or roller skier and a vehicle to travel safely side by side in the lane.

This subsection does not apply in a municipality that, by ordinance approved by the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation, makes other provisions regarding the operating location of a bicycle or roller skier on a roadway.

Sec. 5. 29-A MRSA §2070, sub-§1-A, as amended by PL 2009, c. 484, §6, is further amended to read:

1-A. Passing bicycle or roller skier.   An operator of a motor vehicle that is passing a bicycle or roller skier proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care by leaving a distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle or roller skier of not less than 3 feet while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle or roller skier. A motor vehicle operator may pass a bicycle or roller skier traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so.

The collision of a motor vehicle with a person operating a bicycle or roller skis is prima facie evidence of a violation of this subsection. 

Effective 90 days following adjournment of the 126th Legislature, First Regular Session, unless otherwise indicated.

BikeMaine entry deadline looming (BDN)

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Featured Posts

 

This article originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News.

 

BikeMaine entry deadline looming

Posted on  

If you’re an avid cyclist who has been considering spending the second week of September with hundreds of others who share your passion for the sport, your time is running out.

Brian Allenby, the communications director for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, said the deadline for entry into BikeMaine 2013 is looming, and prospective riders should plan to enter by June 14.

BikeMaine 2013 is a 400-mile tour that will take riders across Eastern Maine over a seven-day span. The tour begins and ends in Orono, but overnight stops in Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, Castine, Bar Harbor and Ellsworth are planned.

Allenby said that some riders have told him they thought they had no chance of getting into the first-time ride.

“There’s still room on the ride,” Allenby said. “Initially there was a lot of hype about it and a lot of folks thought it sold out immediately. There’s been a great response, but we’re lucky enough to have a few spots available and we’re looking to fill these up by June 14.”

While in each town, participants will be treated to meals featuring locally grown or produced products.

While Bicycle Coalition of Maine officials have cautioned prospective participants that BikeMaine 2013 shouldn’t be taken lightly — covering 400 miles in a week requires more than a basic level of fitness — Allenby said entrants needn’t be avid racers or top-notch endurance athletes to enjoy the ride.

“I think it’s important to reiterate that you don’t have to be a superman to ride this ride,” Allenby said. “If you’re a fit rider with some training this summer, you’ll be able to do it.”

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has put a few training hints and guidelines on its website, which will help guide participants through pre-ride training.

“It gives a month-by-month breakdown of how much riding you should be doing,” Allenby said.

Allenby said more in-depth training guides will be posted to the site as the ride approaches.

This year organizers have capped the field of riders at 350; the entry fee is $875.

Billed as a “400-mile celebration of Maine,” the tour includes camping at each site, along with 18 meals, entertainment and support along the route.

And Allenby said Bicycle Coalition of Maine officials have already heard from communities that might be interested in getting involved with future BikeMaine events.

“When we’re in other parts of the state working on other portions of the coalition programming, we’ve had people ask what it takes to be a BikeMaine community,” he said.

The route:

Saturday, Sept. 7, Arrive in Orono

Day 1: Sunday, Sept. 8, Orono to Dover-Foxcroft, 70 miles

Day 2: Monday, Sept. 9, Dover-Foxcroft to Belfast, 69 miles.

Day 3: Tuesday, Sept. 10, Belfast to Castine, 73 miles.

Day 4: Wednesday, Sept. 11, Castine to Bar Harbor, 62 miles.

Day 5: Thursday, Sept. 12, rest day in Bar Harbor.

Day 6: Friday, Sept. 13, Bar Harbor to Camp Jordan, Ellsworth, 69 miles.

Day 7: Saturday, Sept. 14, Camp Jordan, Ellsworth, to Orono, 57 miles.

Editor’s ote: BDN Maine is a sponsor of BikeMaine 2013.