Indiana Bike Safety Standards in Critical Need of Improvement
According to a comprehensive independent study from the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) program, Indiana is the 12th least bicycle-friendly state in the country. While three out of four US states have adopted straightforward yet comprehensive Safe Passing Laws that meet BFA standards, Indiana remains one of 15 states that leaves its bicyclists woefully unprotected.
The Importance of Safe Passing Laws
Accidents involving the passing of motorists consistently rank among the most common causes of death for road bicyclists. To prevent these accidents, Safe Passing Laws make it explicitly illegal to overtake a bicyclist unsafely and ensure that law enforcement and judicial systems sufficiently protect bicyclists and duly compensate them when they suffer injuries due to unsafe passing.
The official BMV Indiana Drivers Manual includes a range of roadway sharing guidelines including a statement that “drivers may pass a bicyclist when there is a safe amount of room beside the bicyclist (minimum three feet) and when there is no danger from oncoming traffic. However, Indiana has no concrete Safe Passing Laws to properly enforce safe motorist behavior and support appropriate compensation for injured bicyclists. We firmly believe that no traffic safety culture can exist without the adoption of a firm Safe Passing Laws that stress a strict three-foot passing restriction.
Making “Dooring” a Ticketable Offense
Although the Indiana Drivers Manual contends that “after parking and before opening vehicle doors, a motorist should first check for bicyclists,” the negligent act of “dooring” is not an official punishable offense in Indiana. This is particularly egregious in light of the fact that the vast majority of the country (42 US states) have adopted laws to protect bicyclists from this highly dangerous threat.
Legislation on this issue is every bit as important as inducting Safe Passing Laws that require a three-foot passing radius. If we truly want to make bicycling safer for the residents of Indiana, it is an absolute must to make dooring a ticketable offense.
Take Action Now!
If protecting cyclists and general traffic safety is important to you, join us in the battle to pass Safe Passing Laws and anti-dooring legislation in Indiana. Click here to sign our petition to make biking (and bikers!) much safer in Indiana.