Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Illinois Senate Passes a Bill to Ban Throwing Stuff at or Crowding Cyclists

Posted By on 03.24.10 at 11:05 AM

3_feet.jpg
  • www.3feetplease.com
Illinois looks likely to get its own version of a strangely controversial law that Colorado passed last August, making it illegal to throw things at cyclists. Mike Keating reports on his Illinois Bicycle Law blog that the Illinois senate almost unanimously passed Bill 2951 last week (it still has to pass in the house before it'll be signed into law). The bill would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to make it a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine, for a driver to throw anything at—or to crowd or threaten—a cyclist. If crowding or threatening a biker "results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement," it'll be a Class 4 felony.

Of course, it's already illegal in Illinois to pass a cyclist with less than three feet of space. As far as I can tell, the new bill would strengthen the existing law by adding a criminal penalty; there's a thread about it on the Chainlink. But I also came across a recent letter to the editor in the Baltimore Sun that advocates against legislation for a three-foot rule in Maryland. While the author makes some very good points, in light of Tony Kornheiser's recent charming comments on sharing the road with cyclists—his general philosophy is "get the hell out of my way or I'll run you over," and it seems to be a popular one (especially among talk show hosts)—I'll take all the legal protection I can get.

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