It is great to see the amount of activity regarding HB 689. This type of activity (contacting the sponsors of the bill, contacting your representatives, etc) needs to continue to ensure that our voices are heard…and represented in the 2014 Legislative Session.
I have read countless emails that many have already contacted their representatives; we need everyone to do the same. If you read my last Blog entry from Georgia Bikes, you know they are poised to work on our behalf. As a small organization, they can only do so much, so that is where we all need to do our part.
A recent email from the Alpharetta area included the response from one of the 3 sponsors of the bill; Rep. Lee Hawkins. When I read it, I didn’t get the feeling that he was willing to let this thing go. You read it and form your own conclusion.
Finally, our own Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is an avid road cyclist…and even has his own charity bike event this month in Flowery Branch. He is our huge voice at the Capitol and is very aware of the bill.
Response from Representative Lee Hawkins— (Bill Sponsor)
I have always considered patient and constituent safety to be of the upmost importance. HB689 was dropped to address the safety issues concerning both cyclist and motorist. As a delegation, we have had numerous complaints from motorist who are concerned about these safety issues. Some of the complaints had become very heated. I was asked to sign on to this
legislation as a response to the concerns of these constituents. It would be irresponsible to ignore this issue until we are forced to do so by resulting fatalities. While I do not support tag fees for bikes, it does address a recurring complaint of identifying those cyclist who are creating
a safety issue for themselves and motorist who will be ultimately responsible for an accident. While the vast majority of riders are thoughtful and courteous of motorists and other bicyclists, there are those who are not so thoughtful, resulting in dangerous situations. I have had complaints by individuals of bicyclists who attempt to prevent motorists from passing them by moving to the left as the car comes around them. I have personally seen this occur and saw the truck turn back so as to speak to the folks on the bikes. I live on a road which is often used by cyclists and 95% are single file on the right shoulder, causing no problems and enjoying the day. Frankly, I like to see them out and often wish I was one of them.
Although the present law addresses the issue of riding close to the right side of the lane, there are exemptions, one being a narrow lane road, which allows the rider to ride more to the center. It does not designate nor describe a narrow lane road and thus becomes the opinion of the rider. There are those who are reporting bicyclists who are riding 3 or more abreast forcing motorist to cross center lines in order to pass them.
While this is a seldom occurrence, it does become a great concern for the
safety for all.
The legislation was drafted to bring focus to the concerns of the before mentioned citizens, to promote safety, and provide for a method of identifying those who are not obeying the present laws. At the very least, we will hold hearings to allow citizens to voice their opinions and explore amiable solutions.
Representative Lee Hawkins