Stricter bike laws possible: Annoying cyclists “matter to someone”

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 26, 2015) -- As advocates push for lawmakers to pass stricter bike laws, one victim's sister saw it as another opportunity to raise awareness.

Neil Kelty lost his life nine months ago, after a bus driver hit him on his commute to work. His sister Stephanie said he would've been the first person to step up in support of increased safety.

"I know he would've been in support of this as well," Kelty said.

A pair of bills in the Indiana Statehouse would make the three-foot passing rule a statewide law. Already implemented in eight Hoosier cities, including Indianapolis, the rule says drivers must give at least three feet of clearance when passing a cyclist on the road.

"Most people who ride a bike regularly, recreationally or as a commuter, have had some incident that they can speak to," Jessica Hall with Bicycle Indiana said.

Hall said communities have found the rule does contribute to less accidents between bikers and cars on the road. It's a standard in more than half of U.S. states and Hall said there seems to be more interest than ever this year to pass it in Indiana.

"The biking community continues to grow, all forms of biking," Hall said.

As for Kelty, she said the law may not have been enough to save her brother's life, but her family did believe it would save others from having to endure the same pain. She hoped that it would provide another avenue of awareness for drivers who tend to see cyclists as a nuisance.

"A cyclist is more than just that annoying cyclist on the road, they’re someone’s friend, fiancé, son, brother, sister, wife (or) co-worker. They matter to someone," Kelty said.

Both bills are waiting to be heard in committee.