It’s sad bike law is even necessary

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

Codifying common sense into written state law is nearly impossible, yet it’s a task our state lawmakers are forced to do from time to time.

Senate Bill 3014, known as the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act that became Mississippi law this month, is an exact case in point.

Frerer was a north Mississippi bicyclist who died after being struck by a motor vehicle.

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Logic would tell a motorist that they should seek to share the state’s roadways with bicyclists, giving them a clear berth when they pass.

No one, common sense dictates, should routinely drive so close to a bicyclist that endangering that person’s life would be likely.

But, unfortunately, we live in a society in which common sense, public decency and respect for one’s neighbors no longer is the rule of the day.

The mode of the day is, “It’s all about me.”

A few of our world’s inhabitants feel it’s OK to endanger someone on a bicycle.

The new state law attempts to put common sense into words by mandating that motorists provide a minimum distance of 3 feet between their cars and bicyclists.

Further, the same law requires bicyclists to ride on the right-hand side of the lane — to allow faster cars more easy access around them — and to not ride more than two abreast.

The law is imperfect — all such attempts to legally put sense into inhabitants’ brains are — but maybe it will bring enough awareness to the issues so that even one life will be saved.

One saved life would make the law worthwhile.