By Martha Zoller
You can tell the legislature is just around the corner because there’s starting to be discussion of bills to be presented to the Georgia legislature. Yesterday on Erick Erickson’s radio show on Newstalk WSB, he called out State Representatives Emory Dunahoo, Lee Hawkins and Carl Rogers about H.B. 689.
Here’s a synopsis of the bill from the “first read:”
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, so as to provide for registration and licensing of bicycles; to revise a definition; to provide for the acquisition of a license plate prior to the operation of a bicycle on streets with motor vehicle traffic; to provide for the design of license plates for bicycles; to provide for the option of a one-time bicycle registration fee in lieu of annual registration; to prescribe fees for annual and one-time registration of bicycles; to provide for requirements for the operation of bicycles upon a roadway; to authorize the establishment of rules and regulations; to provide for enforcement; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Listeners reported to me from Hall County that Erickson said he would contribute money to candidates who would primary the trio and would help them raise money. I listened to the audio and I’m pretty sure it was in jest. Sources close to Rogers, Dunahoo and Hawkins have said they expect Tea Party opposition in their races.
Rep. Lee Hawkins issued a statement today:
I have always considered patient and constituent safety to be of the utmost importance. HB 689 was dropped to address the safety issues concerning both cyclist and motorist. As a delegation, we have had numerous complaints from motorist who are concerned about these safety issues. Some of the complaints had become very heated. I was asked to sign on to this legislation as a response to the concerns of these constituents. It would be irresponsible to ignore this issue until we are forced to do so by resulting fatalities. While I do not support tag fees for bikes, it does address a recurring complaint of identifying those cyclist who are creating a safety issue for themselves and motorist who will be ultimately responsible for an accident. While the vast majority of riders are thoughtful and courteous of motorists and other bicyclists , there are those who are not so thoughtful, resulting in dangerous situations. I have had complaints by individuals of bicyclists who attempt to prevent motorists from passing them by moving to the left as the car comes around them. I have personally seen this occur and saw the truck turn back so as to speak to the folks on the bikes. I live on a road which is often used by cyclists and 95% are single file on the right shoulder, causing no problems and enjoying the day. Frankly, I like to see them out and often wish I was one of them.
Although the present law addresses the issue of riding close to the right side of the lane, there are exemptions, one being a narrow lane road, which allows the rider to ride more to the center. It does not designate nor describe a narrow lane road and thus becomes the opinion of the rider. There are those who are reporting bicyclists who are riding 3 or more abreast forcing motorist to cross center lines in order to pass them.
While this is a seldom occurrence, it does become a great concern for the safety for all.
The legislation was drafted to bring focus to the concerns of the before mentioned citizens, to promote safety, and provide for a method of identifying those who are not obeying the present laws. At the very least, we will hold hearings to allow citizens to voice their opinions and explore amiable solutions.
Representative Lee Hawkins
Hawkins says he doesn’t support the licensing of bicycles but is concerned about safety and the rules of the road.