Bicyclists' right to the road solidified

Image by flickr user ArbronImage by 20080606bicycle.jpg

A ratified bill clarifies that bicyclists have the right to ride on the sholder of a road and makes it unlawful to harass a cyclist. It also grants bicyclists "all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle."

Among the bill's other provisions:
- "A bicyclist may, but is not required to, ride on the shoulder of the roadway";
- Cyclist may not ride two or more abreast "except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles" (which could signal problems for Critical Mass events held in town);
- Car drivers must keep a safe distant from bikes;
- While on a road, cyclist may not pull any other vehicles;
- Bikes used at night must have a front light and rear reflector;
- Cyclists must give hand signals unless the are is needed to control the bicycle;
- Bikes must have working breaks;
- Fines of at least $250 or not more than 30 days if people "harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object" at a cyclist;
- Fines of $100 for car drivers that violate parts of the bill; and
- Fines of up to $500 and $1,000 for car drivers that are the proximate cause of bicyclist's injury.

In 2003 (the most recent year available), South Carolina had 2.9 cyclist fatalities per million residents, making it the 7th highest in the and U.S. and 40 percent more than the U.S. average of 2.1.

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