Illinois Getting Tough on Drivers Who Injure Bicyclists

Now that 2011 has arrived, the new Illinois bicycle saftey legislation signed into law in July will take effect.  Governor Pat Quinn signed the new laws at a bike shop and talked about riding bikes as a kid.  He also said, "The road belongs to everyone," and "Leave no child inside."

The new Illinois State Laws strengthen the existing three foot law and provide criminal penalites for reckless driving and driving unessessarily close to bicyclists.  Depending on the type of injury, a driver could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for causing injury to a bicyclist by driving too close.  The misdemeanor charge is the same as a first offense dui in Illinois.

The Illinois legislation also created a "share the road" campaign involving license plates.  Funds raised through purchases of the plates go towards bicycle saftey campaigns. 

Currently, Wisconsin has a three foot law to protect bicyclists.  However, unlike Illinois, there are generally no criminal penalities for injuring a bicyclist.  If a Wisconsin driver violates the three foot passing law, he may be fined not less than $25 and not more than $200 for a first offense, and not less than $50 and not more than $500 for a second offense within four years.  That is a best case scenario.  Sometimes, a driver may hit a bicylist trying to pass her, and not even get cited dispite obviously not giving at least three feet.   The Bike Federation of Wisconsin is currently working on vulunerable user legislation and hopes to get new laws on the book that will provide additional protection to bicyclists like Illinois.

Los Angeles is working to strengthen its municpal laws regarding protecting bicyclists as well.  Referred to as the "anti-harrassment" law, the Los Angeles City Council  recently unanimously approved moving forward with preparation of an ordinance that would make threats, harassment, or assaults on bicyclists a civil violation with fines of up to $1000 or actual damages, whichever is greater. 

While it is disturbing that states are having to create new laws to specifically prevent drivers from recklessly injuring bicyclists, it is good to know that people are aware of the problems bicyclists are facing across the country from careless and reckless drivers.  It is no longer just bicyclists who are aware of the multitude of drivers who intentionally harass and jeopardize the lives of bicyclists.

Below are a few comments regarding the new law from a Chicago Newspaper.  It seems these people do not understand that a several thousand pound car is much more likely to cause injury than a bicyclist.  I wonder if these people also feel that laws protecting children in cross walks and school zones are pointless and if the children get hit by a speeding car it is the child's fault and not the drivers?  How about looking at fellow human beings and caring about them.  The fact that you saw a bicyclist go through a red light in the past or give you the middle fiinger does not mean you should pass a different cyclist days later without giving at least three feet. 

This is an idiotic piece of legislation. The far greater problemns if the 99% of cyclists who run stop signs, drive against the traffic, blow through intersections, and disregard every known traffic law. Yet somehow they manage to save time to give you the finger or kick the side of your car when they blast through a stop sign.

what about protecting motorist when bike riders disobey the laws and cause accidents, ride against traffic lights ,dont stop for stopsigns, ride in middle of streets,ect ect ect, Quinn you dont have any idea and yyour just stumping for votes as you know you are on way out. Your party had eight years now and you did nothing but bring this state down

What about bicyclists who ride recklessly and unneccessarily close to vehilces and pesdestrians, or wilfully run lights? What a stupid law, the traffic laws are already sufficient to penalize bad drivers!

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