I don’t like mandatory sidepath laws for bicyclists, but I like the one in the Transportation Bill, applying to roads on Federal lands, even less.
(d) BICYCLE SAFETY.—The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road unless the Secretary determines that the bicycle level of service on that roadway is rated B or higher.
I have had a look at state laws on the Internet.
I’m pleased to report that I couldn’t find the ones which Dan Gutierrez earlier listed on his map for Colorado, Hawaii, North Dakota and Louisiana. Dan has updated his page: these laws appear to have been repealed.
The national trend has been for repeal of these laws. While the states have been repealing them, the Federal Transportation Bill, as of March, 2012, includes a provision which is more draconian than any of the remaining state laws, in that it would ban bicycles on a road even if the path is unusable. It might be called the “you can’t get there from here” law, to quote a New England expression. See my previous post for the details.
Mandatory sidepath laws, as far as I can determine, now are on the books in only 7 states: Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and West Virginia. All except for Oregon require the path to be usable; the Oregon law has been explained to me as not actually having any effect, because government agencies will not take on the legal burden of having to defend paths as being safe.
Some of the laws have additional limitations on where path use can be made mandatory. See comments below. The boldface is mine.
Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
(c) Wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.
Note discretionary application, and design standard and destination accessibility requirement for the paths.
O.C.G.A. 40-6-294 (2010)
40-6-294. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths
(c) Whenever a usable path has been provided adjacent to a roadway and designated for the exclusive use of bicycle riders, then the appropriate governing authority may require that bicycle riders use such path and not use those sections of the roadway so specified by such local governing authority. The governing authority may be petitioned to remove restrictions upon demonstration that the path has become inadequate due to capacity, maintenance, or other causes.
(d) Paths subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section shall at a minimum be required to meet accepted guidelines, recommendations, and criteria with respect to planning, design, operation, and maintenance as set forth by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and such paths shall provide accessibility to destinations equivalent to the use of the roadway.
(d) Wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.
60-6,317. Bicycles on roadways and bicycle paths; general rules; regulation by local authority.
(3) Except as provided in section 60-6,142, whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a highway, a person operating a bicycle shall use such path and shall not use such highway.
My understanding, based on a sicussion with former Oregon state bicycle coordinator Michael Ronkin, is that this law is never enforced, because state and local authorities will not risk ruling that a path is suitable.
814.420: Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty.
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.
(2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.
Note that this applies only where signs have been posted directing bicyclists to use a path.
41-6a-1105. Operation of bicycle or moped on and use of roadway — Duties, prohibitions.
(4) If a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, a bicycle rider may be directed by a traffic-control device to use the path and not the roadway.
§17C-11-5. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
(c) Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.