Mississippi Bicycle Safety Act
Mississippi's number of bicycle enthusiasts has skyrocketed in recent years, and with the state's growing popularity for cycling there have also been a growing number of accidents involving drivers and cyclists. One of the most recent cycling casualties was John Paul Frerer, a young man from North Mississippi who was struck and killed by a car while he was riding his bicycle. Now Frerer is the namesake of Mississippi's new piece of legislation: The John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act.
What is the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act?
This new state law aims to make Mississippi's roads much safer for cyclists and other non-motorized commuters by setting a minimum space requirement of three feet in between cars and cyclists when passing. The law also mandates that it is the responsibility of the motorized driver to recognize a situation in which a right turn in front of a cyclist traveling in the same direction can be made safely.
Of course these new regulations will undoubtedly make local roads much safer because many times it can be difficult for a motorized driver to judge just how fast a cyclist is traveling when preparing for a right turn. For cyclists, the new law is the relief they've been waiting for.
“Mississippi now stands out as a leader in the cycling world,” said Josh Sullivan, the president of Jackson Metro Cyclists and supporter of the legislation. “We are one of the few states in the nation to adopt a 3 Feet Law, which clearly defines the relationship between motorists and cyclists.”
The new law doesn't just give guideline to motorists, but it also provides many rules for cyclists as well. Some of these rules include that bicyclists are required to ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of any given road, except when turning, avoiding road hazards or passing other bicyclists or other travelers. Another very important rule that many cyclists must know is no more than two bicyclists can ride side-by-side on a road, unless that particular road is meant for bike use only.
A win for Drivers and Cyclists
But to say the very least, the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act will be a win-win situation for both drivers and cyclists as the statewide community comes together to make Mississippi's roads safer and less prone for accidents.
“We're pleased that this law recognizes that bicycles belong on the road and share the same responsibilities as cars,” said Devon Brenner, president of Starkville in Motion. “Safety is everyone's responsibility and this law helps make Mississippi roads that much safer.”
Of course this piece of legislation isn't going to magically stop cars from crashing into cyclists, but it now makes the litigation process much clearer and gives rights to cyclists that they otherwise wouldn't have had.
With this new set of rules, there can be more awareness from Mississippi drivers and cyclists to responsibly share the state's roads in a more regulated fashion.