AUGUSTA, ME (BRAIN)—Governor John Baldacci held a ceremonial signing on July 24 for L.D. 1808, the Act to Improve Road Safety and Update Bicycling Laws. The law, which takes effect in September, represents a major victory for Maine bicyclists.
Flanked by about 15 members of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM), Baldacci praised the measure for helping to improve safety for both bicyclists and motorists. He predicted that the law will "encourage more people to get out on their bikes."
Some of the major provisions in the new law include: a requirement that motorists leave at least three feet of space when passing cyclists; giving motorists the right to cross the centerline in no passing zones in order to pass bicyclists, when safe to do so; clarification of the requirement that cyclists ride to the right. The law recognizes numerous situations when bicyclists need to move from the right portion of the roadway such as avoiding obstacles, proceeding straight near right-turn lanes or preparing to turn left; and waiving liability for businesses with drive-up windows that serve cyclists.
The new law "just makes sense," Baldacci said.
Jeffrey Miller, BCM's executive director, cited the work of Sen. Dennis Damon (D-Trenton), Rep. Richard Cleary (D-Houlton) and several other legislators in passage of the law. —Sean Hong