A committee of The Nebraska Unicameral allowed LB39 to die a few days ago. This was a bill designed to protect people who bike on state roadways by requiring people who drive to move completely into the other lane. While we currently have a three foot passing law, it’s not always easy for people who drive or local law enforcement officers to correctly judge that distance in practice. LB39 would have made such judgement unnecessary in many cases.
The major objection seemed to be a concern that the flow of traffic would be impeded by people who drive waiting to pass people who bike. Interestingly, the same concern doesn’t appear to be present when passing other slow moving vehicles on many of the same roads, vehicles such as large agricultural equipment. Perhaps this is because a collision with these road users would cause great damage to the automobile involved. Facetiously, I considered a KickStarter for equipping bicycles with a directed explosive charge that would blow the front end off a car that struck it.
The reality is that we are making progress. Yes, LB39 didn’t make it past committee, but not that many years ago it wouldn’t even have been proposed. So let’s stay the course we’ve set. Our ship is a large one that won’t turn quickly, but she is turning. Continue to support your advocacy groups. Join them if you haven’t already. Let your legislators know that not only do you bike, but you vote. Let’s look forward to the day when, instead of concern that “Nebraska will be the only state with such a law,” our Senators can say “Nebraska was the FIRST!”