Senate Bill 148, which would require motorists to keep 3 feet of space between vehicles and bicyclists - is not only an accident waiting to happen, as one opposing legislator has pointed out, but a slew of lawsuits as well. Just try driving Florida Road any nice weekend, and you'll encounter everything from polite defensive bikers strung out in their lane single file, to mobs of dozens huddled together blocking entire lanes and refusing to "line out" even when cars are stacked up behind them with horns tooting.
Even just one biker riding near the inside of the too-narrow shoulder lane can force a car over the centerline on narrow roads such as this, and on constantly curving roads such as Florida, that's a head-on potential at every bend. Worse, twice as bad, is bikers and traffic going both directions and meeting in a sandwich, so that oncoming cars are forced to the center on opposite sides of a curve, meeting in the middle. If bicyclists cause a head-on collision, whether it is their rudeness or a too-narrow road, the ensuing "blow up" will likely take them out along with the cars.
Possible solutions? Not another mushy law, but wider bike lanes, such as those provided on U.S. 550 north of town. Let bikers pay a road tax to provide for regular sweeping of the shoulder lanes, because gravel and other debris collected there frequently prompts bikers to ride too near or in the vehicle lanes. Set a maximum legal size for groups of bicyclists traveling together. Decree some county roads simply too narrow, winding, high-speed and dangerous to allow for bicycle traffic at all. The 3-foot limit will do nothing but prompt even more death-defying arrogance than we already see among too many road bicyclists.
And as for the stories we hear about truckers trying to "swat" bicyclists with their side mirrors: Whether they hit or miss, they should be tried for attempted first-degree murder.
David Petersen, Durango