Bicycle Riding Permit Bill Proposed

Image result for bicycle with a lock in the wheels

Big government continues to run amuck in Minnesota and now their sights are aimed at your bicycle.   An amendment to MN Statute 169.222, subdivision 4 proposes an “urban bicycle lane permit” that is essentially a bicycle drivers license complete with costly education courses with an examination, user fees, and bicycle registration requirements.  The legislation was proposed by Republican Duane Quam of Byron (outside Rochester).

Existing MN Statute 169.222 subdivision 4 codifies the preexisting bike riding rule, often known as “don’t be a #$@”, by requiring riders to stay to the right hand side of the road unless turning, don’t ride four wide, don’t ride down a crowded sidewalk, etc.  But the new additions proposed on January 26th, 2017 requires possession of a government provided “permit” to ride in “urban bike lanes”, which are defined as bike lanes within an “urban district”, which is defined as “the territory contiguous to and including any city street or town road that is built up with structures devoted to business, industry, or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than 100 feet for a distance of a quarter of a mile or more”.  That broad and wonderfully “inclusive” definition would likely be construed by liberal judges to include not just bike lanes in the urban core of downtown, but would include many of the more highly frequented trails.

The permit would either be a standalone card or would require a notation on a drivers license.  The use of the “urban bike lane” would require 1) successful completion of a bicycle safety course, 2) age of at least 15 years – sorry kids, 3) registration of your bicycle with the commissioner of public safety, and 4) payment of an annual fee.  The statute goes so far as to specify what must be covered in the safety course: legal requirements governing operation of a bicycle, best practices for riding, recommended and required safety equipment, riding skills and collision avoidance, and “any other information the commissioner deems necessary”.  At the conclusion of the course the “commissioner must administer an examination on the material covered by the course” and those individuals “who, in the commission’s judgement, demonstrate sufficient knowledge” are “eligible for the permit”.

As it is written, it would appear this ridiculous law would apply to the NiceRide program.  So the program designed to bring bicycles to the so-called “underprivileged” will now require them to obtain a government permit to ride downtown?  NiceRide must go, but that is another post – and that post can be found here.

The underlined portion is the proposed change.

A bill for an act
relating to public safety; establishing an urban bicycle lane use permit and a bicycle
safety education program; imposing a fee; appropriating money;amending
Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 169.222, subdivision 4, by adding a subdivision;
proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 171.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 169.222, subdivision 4, is amended to read:

Subd. 4.

Riding rules.

(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride
as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of
the following situations:

(1) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;

(2) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;

(3) when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects,
vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or narrow width lanes, that make it unsafe
to continue along the right-hand curb or edge; or

(4) when operating on the shoulder of a roadway or in a bicycle lane.

(b) If a bicycle is traveling on a shoulder of a roadway, the bicycle shall travel in the
same direction as adjacent vehicular traffic.

(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway or shoulder shall not ride more than two
abreast and shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned
roadway, shall ride within a single lane.

(d) A person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a
crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal
when necessary before overtaking and passing any pedestrian. No person shall ride a bicycle
upon a sidewalk within a business district unless permitted by local authorities. Local
authorities may prohibit the operation of bicycles on any sidewalk or crosswalk under their
jurisdiction.

(e) An individual operating a bicycle or other vehicle on a bikeway shall leave a safe
distance when overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on the
bikeway, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.

(f) A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder
on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same
circumstances.

(g) A person may operate an electric-assisted bicycle on the shoulder of a roadway, on
a bikeway, or on a bicycle trail if not otherwise prohibited under section 85.015, subdivision
1d; 85.018, subdivision 2, paragraph (d); or 160.263, subdivision 2, paragraph (b), as
applicable.

(h) Prior to operating a bicycle in an urban bicycle lane, a person must obtain and be in
physical possession of an urban bicycle lane permit under subdivision 12.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 169.222, is amended by adding a subdivision to
read:

Subd. 12.

Urban bicycle lane use permit.

(a) For the purposes of this section and section
171.336, “urban bicycle lane” means a bicycle lane, as defined under section 169.011,
subdivision 5, that is located within an urban district, as defined in section 169.011,
subdivision 90.

(b) The commissioner of public safety must establish an urban bicycle lane use permit.
The permit issued must be in the form of an individual card created by the commissioner
of public safety, or as an endorsement on a driver’s license or Minnesota identification card
issued under chapter 171.

(c) In order to receive an urban bicycle lane use permit under this subdivision, a person
must: (1) successfully complete the bicycle safety education program under section 171.336;
(2) be at least 15 years of age; (3) register the bicycle with the commissioner of public
safety; and (4) pay a fee of $5 to the commissioner of public safety.

Sec. 3.

[171.336] BICYCLE SAFETY EDUCATION PROGRAM.

Subdivision 1.

Program created.

(a) A bicycle safety education program is established,
which shall be administered by the commissioner of public safety. The bicycle safety program
may be based in part on the motorcycle safety education program under section 171.335.

(b) The bicycle safety program must consist of (1) a bicycle safety course; and (2) a
bicycle safety examination.

(c) At a minimum, both the bicycle safety course and the examination must include:

(1) the legal requirements governing operation of a bicycle, including traffic regulations
under chapter 169 that apply to the operation of bicycles;

(2) best practices for the safe operation of a bicycle on public roadways;

(3) recommended and required bicycle safety equipment;

(4) riding skills and collision-avoidance techniques; and

(5) any other information the commissioner deems necessary to ensure the safe operation
of bicycles.

Subd. 2.

Bicycle safety examination.

(a) At the conclusion of the bicycle safety education
program, the commissioner must administer an examination on the materials covered by
the bicycle safety course. Individuals who, in the commissioner’s judgment, demonstrate
sufficient knowledge to safely operate a bicycle on a public roadway are eligible for the
urban bicycle lane use permit under section 169.222, subdivision 12.

(b) A person who attends the bicycle safety program but does not intend to apply for an
urban bicycle lane use permit under section 169.222, subdivision 12, is not required to take
the bicycle safety examination under this subdivision.

Subd. 3.

Appropriation.

All funds collected from the fee imposed under section 169.222,
subdivision 12, are annually appropriated to the commissioner of public safety to carry out
the purposes of subdivisions 1 and 2, and to pay the administrative costs associated with
issuance of the urban bicycle lane permit under section 169.222, subdivision 12.