New bike laws in effect for Kentucky

Published 11:47 am Monday, July 16, 2018

The push and pull between motorists and cyclists is an ongoing battle — with drivers and cyclists sharing horror stories about the other being a nuisance. Bell and Claiborne counties feature busy roads and highways that cut through town and keep cars and bicycles close to each other. It is inevitable that some headache is bound to occur between the two modes of transportation.

Kentucky just recently passed a new set of laws last week, and one of those involve cycling.

The new law, House Bill 33, states that a motorist must stay at least three feet away from a cyclist when attempting to pass.

Local cyclist Rick Roop has had a few run-ins with motorists over the years.

Roop mentioned an incident last year on the Natchez Trace in Williamson County, Tennessee. A cyclist captured a driver hitting another cyclist and driving away. Roop stated the only reason the driver was caught and is facing charges was because the incident was captured on film.

“Just a reminder to drivers out there who harass cyclist, you never know who has a go pro or cell phone to record your actions,” said Roop.

Roop described a situation he experienced near the Middlesboro Pinnacle Overlook.

“A car was behind my wheel by about a foot. He blew his horn to startle me. He had plenty of room to pass, and I was nearly in the ditch. While he was passing me, I asked him what was wrong. He just drove ahead and flipped me off,” he said.

Roop went on to chronicle a few other incident.

“While I was riding up to clingmans dome, a car passed me inside one of the tunnels while another car was coming the other way. Blowing your horn at a cyclist is not good if he is not in the way. It just startles him, possibly causing him to fall.

“My advice for cars and bicycles: if you ride bikes, wear bright reflective clothing, a blinking light in the place of your taillight, always make eye contact with drivers who are entering the highway where you are riding, keep your head on a swivel to be aware at all times, ride in a pack if possible, be friendly (and) always wear a helmet. Vehicles should not blow their horn at bicycle riders, give plenty of room when passing, understand that most cyclist are just as concerned about cars as cars are of bicycles (and) don’t drive distracted,” he said.