New Bike Law ‘Good News’ For South Dakota Cyclists & Motorists

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In 2013, more than 700 were bicyclists killed and an estimated 48,000 injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States. But a new law in South Dakota might just help lower that number, while keeping cyclists safe out on the road.

Every day, thousands of motorists and bicyclists share the road.

“As long as you’re inside the interstate, Sioux Falls is a fairly bike friendly town,” said Peter Oien, Bicyclist. “There are wide residential boulevards without too much traffic on it.”

But it’s time for South Dakota motorists to keep their distance from bicyclists.

“The new law basically says that on roads where the speed limit is posted 35 MPH or slower, vehicles must leave a three foot separation from the right side of their vehicle and the left side of the bicyclist,” said Chris Parsley, Falls Area Bicyclists President. “When the speed goes over 35 MPH, that distance increases to six feet.”

President of Falls Area Bicyclists Chris Parsley took it upon himself to lobby the new law in Pierre.

“I felt that not a lot of the people making decisions are active cyclists or maybe they haven’t considered some of the things that cyclists are concerned about,” said Parsley.

Peter Oien has been riding his bike for transportation for 10 years.

“I’ve been hit once and I’ve been brushed a few times by side view mirrors,” said Oien. “But in large, 99 percent of the people out there are very respectful and cooperative with other people on the road.”

But he says by requiring more space between motorists and cyclists, the new bike law will be rewarding for both parties.

“I hope that it can be a learning tool for a lot of people out on the road,” said Oien.

South Dakota now joins 25 other states with the same bike law.

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