March 2017

3-Feet Safe Passing Distance Becomes Law on March 21, 2017

After many years of hard work by the Ohio Bicycle Federation, and the support of the bicycle community across the state, the 3-foot law will go into effect on March 21, 2017.  Here is the important part of ORC 4511.27:

The operator of a vehicle or trackless trolley overtaking another vehicle or trackless trolley proceeding in the same direction shall, except as provided in division (A)(3) of this section, signal to the vehicle or trackless trolley to be overtaken, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle or trackless trolley. When a motor vehicle or trackless trolley overtakes and passes a bicycle, three feet or greater is considered a safe passing distance.

Motorist are encouraged to change lanes to pass cyclists, providing ample clearance when passing. Cyclist are permitted to use the full travel lane for their safety when certain conditions exist, see ORC 4511.55 "Operating bicycles and motorcycles on roadway".

Special thanks to joint-sponsors Representative Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and Representative Michael Henne (R-Clayton) for their tremendous efforts to move HB 154 through the House and Senate for passage and ultimate approval by Governor John Kasich, who signed the bill into law on December 19, 2016.  We would be remiss without mentioning the hard work by OBF Chair Chuck Smith, who worked in front and behind the scenes at the statehouse in Columbus for many years to make this a reality!  Lastly, thanks to the Ohio cycling community that worked together in support of this bill! 

Help spread the word about the new law!  Let us know if you would like one of the oval 3-foot stickers for the back of your other vehicle (car).  Coming Soon!

Toledo Blade: "Bicyclists get more room on road today 3 foot buffer zone law taking effect"

Malfunctioning Traffic Signals

Another important law that was updated via HB 154 relates to malfunctioning traffic signals.  Cyclists...how many time have you not been detected as traffic at a traffic light intersection?  This part of the new law is for you!  You may have seen news reports like "Drivers in Ohio may soon be able to legally run red lights" and others that mislabeled it as the "Red Light Law" verses the "Malfunctioning Signal Law".  We already had a law in ORC 4511.132 that provide guidance on what to do if the traffic light was malfunctioning.  Here is the existing ORC with the new portion added in green:

(A) The driver of a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley who approaches an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals shall do all of the following, if the signal facing the driver exhibits no colored lights or colored lighted arrows , exhibits a combination of such lights or arrows that fails to clearly indicate the assignment of right-of-way, or the signals are otherwise malfunctioning, including the failure of a vehicle detector to detect the vehicle:

Note the term "vehicle" was used so as to include bicycles, horse-drawn carriage and...cars.  All the other conditions in ORC 4511.132 existed before the new law, including the due care for safely passing through the malfunctioning signal.  The publicity of the dreaded "Red Light Law" caused lawmakers to include a provision to change to say "bicycles" verses "vehicles".  Wow!  The good news is that the original intent remains, to support bicyclists who are not detected at traffic signals.

When you encounter a signal that is not recognizing you as traffic, use the following guidelines:

  1. Look for grooves or marks in the roadway that form a circle, this may be the inductive loop that is meant to sense the metal in your "vehicle". Place you bike directly on top of one of the lines that run in your direction of travel.  This may help the signal detect you.
  2. Look for camera at the intersection that may be used for detection, it will be directly across the street, usually connected to the light that you are waiting to change.  If may need to motion with you arm but generally, these systems are better than the inductive loop.
  3. According to ODOT, traffic signals usually cycle within 2-3 minutes depending on time-of-day. If you've waited ~4 minutes, you can feel fairly certain that it will never pick you up to change the signal.
  4. Now you should treat the intersection just like you have a stop sign with cross traffic that does not stop.  Look for a break in traffic, both to the left and right and when clear, proceed through the intersection with caution.

In reality, we encounter this same intersection on a regular basis, on a side street with stop sign, waiting for cross traffic to clear in order to proceed. This change in the law only recognizes that traffic signals may not register bicycles due to their low metal composition, allow us to proceed through a malfunctioning signal legally.

Cyclists should note that if you encounter a traffic signal that does not detect you, report the intersection with details to ODOT.  They will try to correct or refer your inquiry to the jurisdiction that owns the signal (may be city or township).  They successfully corrected a signal on my commute!

"Real News References"
http://kfor.com/2017/01/25/drivers-in-ohio-may-soon-be-able-to-legally-r...
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local/what-you-need-know-about-ohio-...
http://nbc24.com/news/nation-world/new-law-allows-drivers-to-go-through-...

Public Meeting - Detroit Ave Reconstruction

Photo: Example of a road diet, 4-lane converted to 3-lanes with bike lanes included.

There will be a public meeting on a proposed reconstruction project on South Detroit from Copland to the Anthony Wayne Trail. This meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 29th at the Heatherdowns Branch Library at 3265 Glanzman Road from 6 to 8 pm.

There will be a presentation at 6:15 pm followed by an open house forum to view the proposed design. Design elements of the project include reducing the roadway to 3 lanes, adding bike lanes, adding a roundabout at the intersection of S. Detroit/Byrne/Devonshire, including the possibility of making Devonshire a permanent 2-way road from Rocksberry to the S. Detroit intersection.

University Parks Trail Extension - Progress!

UPDATE: October 23, 2017 -- Lucas County was conditionally awarded funding for the construction of Phase 1 of the U/P Trail Extension. The project is expected to be completed within 2018.

This is the current view from western end of the University Parks Trails at King Road. Metroparks of Toledo is wasting no time to prepare for the new extension of the U/P Trail that will take you ~1/2 mile further west to Silica Road. This is part of a larger initiative to continue the trail westward and ultimately connect to a system of on/off road facilities between parks.

Check out this MAP
Read more about the project on The Blade   
For an overview of connectivity, check out this MAP

We'll post an update when we learn more about the status of the grant that will pay for paving and the target completion date.