New New Hampshire bicycle laws

On May 7, 2008. the New Hampshire General Court (what they call the legislature in The Granite State) passed House Bill 1203, “An Act Relative to Bicycles” which generally improves conditions for cyclists in the state of New Hampshire. The new law will take effect on January 1, 2009. Among the provisions of this new state law:

  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation will be required to design rumble strips, drain grates, and other road surfaces with bicyclists in mind, although the law has a ridiculous “get out of jail free” card for the DoT by stating that the design standards will be “discretionary” and the DoT “shall not be held liable” for failure to design to these standards.
  • Three foot passing laws are all the rage right now, but New Hampshire’s three foot law has an interesting twist: an additional foot of clearance is required for every 10 mph over 30 mph that the passing vehicle is traveling.
  • New Hampshire added the standard exceptions to the “as far as practicable” rule — you can move away from the curb to avoid hazards, when overtaking another vehicle, when preparing to make a left turn, and to get out of a right turn lane when going straight.
  • Finally, we have what looks like the safety compromise for those Bike Ninjas in our midst: a cyclist must wear at least one item of reflective outwear such as a reflective vest, jacket, or helmet strip while riding at night. No standard is stipulated for what consitutes “reflective.” Technically, my black t-shirts reflect light and meet the definition of “reflective outerwear,” but I don’t think that’s what the lawmakers have in mind.

    Seen on various bike mailing lists today, but thanks to Keefer Madness for the handy dandy direct link to the text of the bill.

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