I'm writing about one proposed bill that could change relations between motorists and bicyclists in North Carolina, and about a second bill that would put new limits on towing operators that remove cars from private parking lots.
If you've had experience with either of these issues, I'd like to hear from you. Please e-mail me and let me know how I can contact you. [See updates, added 5/10/10, below.]
1) With NCDOT reminding North Carolinians during Bicycle Safety Month that "bicyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers," legislators are considering a proposal to put new restrictions on groups of bike riders when they share the highways with car drivers.
A joint House-Senate committee next week will consider a draft bill that would prohibit cyclists from riding more than two abreast on the road. And when cyclists riding side-by-side are approached from the rear by a faster vehicle (i.e., car), they would be required to "move into a single file formation as quickly as practicable."
[Update added 5/10/10] Here's the draft text (it is likely to be amended before any votes):
SECTION 1. Chapter 20 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 20-171.3. Operation of bicycles on streets and highways. Bicyclists riding bicycles upon a street or highway shall not ride more than two abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane. Persons riding two abreast shall move into a single file formation as quickly as is practicable when being overtaken from the rear by a faster moving vehicle..
2) Another proposed bill would govern situations where an unauthorized car is parked on a private lot.
Before that car could be towed away, there would have to be a big sign with the tow company's name and phone number. There would be new limits on how far away the car could be taken (15 miles) -- and how high a ransom the owner would have to pay to get the car back:
[Update added 5/10/10] Any person or company that tows or stores a vehicle pursuant to this section shall charge reasonable fees for the services rendered, and any fee charged shall not exceed the fee for other service calls the person or company provides for the same service, labor, and conditions.