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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2007
Contact: Don Cookson
207-626-8404

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Joins Bicycle Coalition of Maine
In Reminding Mainers About New Bicycle Safety Law

Augusta, Maine – Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap reminded motorists that a comprehensive bicycle safety law, L.D. 1808, takes effect today.

Dunlap joined Jeffrey Miller, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, in outlining major provisions of the new law:

  • Motorists must give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing.
  • Motorists may cross a solid yellow centerline in order to pass bicyclists, provided it is safe to do so.
  • Bicyclists may move from the right side of the road to avoid hazards such as broken pavement, puddles or parked cars. They also may do so when passing another bicycle, turning left or proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted.
  • Children 15 and under who fail to wear a bicycle helmet when cycling may be fined $25 after the second or subsequent offense. The fine can be waived by showing proof that a helmet has been purchased. 
  • Liability is waived for businesses with drive-up windows that serve bicyclists. That ensures bicyclists equal access to banks, restaurants and other businesses with drive-up windows that often are open longer hours.

L.D. 1808, approved by the Maine Legislature last spring, increases bicycle fines from $10 to a new minimum of $25. Fines can cost as much as $250. The law also removes skateboards, wagons and roller skates from bicycle laws and creates a separate “toy vehicle” category.

“The new law clarifies the responsibilities of both motorists and bicyclists to share the road,” said Dunlap. “That will lead to a safer environment for all.”

“We are very grateful to the legislature and Gov. John Baldacci for passing these common sense provisions into Maine law,” said Miller. “We are also grateful to the Secretary of State, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Maine Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Highway Safety for helping us to educate bicyclists and motorists about these important safety issues.”

Dunlap noted that information about motorists sharing the road with bicycles has been in the Maine Motorist Handbook and on the Maine driver's exam for several years. “The clarification provided by the new law will make that education even easier,” he said.

Details about the new law may be found on the Bicycle Coalition of Maine website (www.BikeMaine.org).