State lawmakers want to make it safer for cyclists to pass parked cars.
Madison resident Linda Willsey was riding her bike past a parked car last summer, when the driver of the vehicle threw open their door and knocked the Madison woman off of her bike. Willsey was injured and also received a ticket, due to a little known state law that requires cyclists to pass parked vehicles by at least three feet.
However, state lawmakers say that restriction is unrealistic and makes it so someone exiting a vehicle has no responsibility to check their surroundings first. Legislation at the Capitol would repeal that law and require the driver of a vehicle to watch out for passing bikes.
State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) is a sponsor of the measure. He says it would hold cyclists to the same standard currently applied to those driving any other type of vehicle.
David Vogt of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin says the three foot requirement is unfair to cyclists, who usually have little warning when a car door is about to open. Vogt also points out that the typical car door is much longer than the three feet mentioned in the law.
The bill is currently being considered by legislative committees in the both the Senate and Assembly.