Transportation committee signs off on new motorcycle, bicycle rules

Posted May 24, 2016

— The House Transportation Committee passed a pair of bills of note Tuesday to those of us who ride around on two wheels.

House Bill 1050 would bar publicly owned parking garages from banning motorcyclists.

Rep. John Torbett, R-Gaston, said he had been told that, because motorcycles aren't as big or heavy as cars, they might not trigger automatic sensors in the garage.

"The only thing I heard from the parking deck people is there might be some litigation brought by an arm coming down and hitting a motorcyclist on the head," Torbett said. "Well, as you know, helmets are required throughout our state. That just didn't sound like good logic."

That measure passed with little debate. It is due to be heard by the Appropriations Committee before heading to the House floor.

The same committee signed off on House Bill 959, a roundup of various transportation-related measures, including some redefining an electric bicycle and adding new requirements for bicyclists who ride at night.

The new nighttime rules require that bicyclists have front and back lamps that are are visible from at least 300 feet away and "wear clothing or a vest that is bright and visible from a distance of at least 300 feet to the rear of the bicycle." Current rules require only a reflector on the back of the bike.

Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick, said he pushed to adopt the bicycle provisions based on problems he was seeing in his coastal community.

"With dark clothing, riding at night, it's just impossible to see," Iler said. "We had a lot of requests for local authorities on the coast to have additional lighting."

While Iler and others described the provision as "common sense," at least one lawmakers took issue.

"I see a bunch of nanny state laws here in this bicycle stuff," Rep. Larry Yarborough, R-Person, said.

Yarborough said he could understand having the requirements for riding on big roads with high speeds.

"We ride bikes down at the beach all the time. They're old bikes. They do have a light on the back, but usually the battery is dead," he said. "When you're riding around in a 25- or 30-mph zone, you're breaking the law half the time."

Other members didn't object, and the measure passed on a voice vote. It is next scheduled to be heard on the House floor.

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  • Lance Boyle May 24, 2016
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    more and more regulation. but when the election cycle comes around they will all say regulation is what is holding us all back. oh well