This section – States: Traffic Laws & Training for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety – looks at state laws and driving training that is related to bicycle and pedestrian safety.
Over the course of the Benchmarking project there have been several notable developments in bicycle-related laws, including the proliferation of safe passing laws and the development of laws that regulate the use of electrically-assisted bicycles.
Distracted driving and automated enforcement laws – which can be found in Figure 2.8.2 – have been the subject of much interest in recent years. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states considered over 230 distracted driving-related bills and 24 states considered 85 automated enforcement bills in 2017. 64 These laws often have limitations on their application to drivers or other complexities that are difficult to report in a table.
Laws That Promote Pedestrian & Bicyclist Safety
Laws That Combat Bad Driving Behaviors
For the table "Laws that Combat Bad Driving Behaviors," the following notes will help you interpret the data reported:
- LIMITED – Law is limited to a specific type of person or specific locations and/or circumstances
- PRIMARY – Law can be enforced due to its own violation
- SECONDARY – Law can only be enforced if there is another violation as well
Maps of State Laws
Footnote for maps 69
Laws Regulating Electrically-Assisted Bicycles
The bicycle industry, through People for Bikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, has created a 3-class model law for the regulation of electrically-assisted bicycles. The classes are:
- CLASS 1 = top speed of 20 mph, no throttle
- CLASS 2 = top speed of 20 mph, throttle- equipped
- CLASS 3 = top speed of 28 mph, no throttle
Each class has different rules for who can use such an e-bike and where it can be ridden. Class 1 e-bikes are generally allowed to be ridden by the same people and in the same places as human-powered bicycles.
The 3-class system is similar to the regulation of e-bikes in the European Union under the type approvals L1e-A and L1e-B. 71
Driver Training on Behavior Towards Bicyclists & Pedestrians
National Conference of State Legislatures. Traffic Safety Trends: State Legislative Action 2017 (6/28/2018). Available at http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/traffic-safety-trends-state-legislative-action-2017.aspx.
The League of American Bicyclists. Bike Law University (2018). Available at https://bikeleague.org/bike-law-university.
2018 data from Ray Thomas, Esq., Charley Gee, Esq., and Meredith Thomas. Pedestrian Law Survey (2013). Distributed by Compact Disc at Pro Walk/Pro Bike/ Pro Place 2014. Updated with data from https://www.mwl-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/PEDESTRIAN-AND-CROSSWALKS-50-STATE-CHART.pdf in 2021.
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Speed and Red Light Cameras (last updated December 2018). Available at https://ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/speed%20and%20red%20light%20cameras.
GHSA. Distracted Driving Laws by State (last updated April 2018). Available at https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/distracted%20driving.
Underlying data is in Charts 8.1.1 and 2.8.2
People for Bikes. Electric Bicycle Laws by State (retrieved November 2018). Available at https://peopleforbikes.org/our-work/e-bikes/.
Bike Europe. White Paper: Rules & Regulations on Electric Cycles in the European Union (May 2017). Available at http://bike-eu.com.s3-eu-central-1.com/app/uploads/2015/09/rules-regulation-on-electric-cycles-in-the-european-union-may-2017.pdf.
The League of American Bicyclists. 2017 Bicycle Friendly State survey data from questions EE4, EE5, EE6, and EE9. For states with *, data is from Alliance for Biking and Walking. Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report. Available at https://bikeleague.org/benchmarking-report.