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Friday, January 01, 2010

New laws that affect Illinois cyclists

With the start of the new year, there are at least three new laws that go in effect today in Illinois that affect bicyclists.

You're probably aware of two of the new laws -- a ban on text messaging while driving and a ban on cell phone usage in school and construction zones.

You're probably not aware of the other law. As of today, no one under the age of 16 may operate a gas- or electric-powered bicycle in Illinois. In addition, you can't ride a gas- or electric-powered bicycle on a sidewalk, and you can't ride those bikes any faster than 20 mph on Illinois roads.

As for the texting and cell phones. they are moving violations with fines up to $1,000 depending on the circumstances. Texting and cell phone usage during emergencies or if the car is stopped and placed in park or neutral are legal.

"Upon conviction, it would be a mark against your driving record. Three of those means a suspension of your driver's license," Dave Druker, a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State, told WLS-TV in Chicago.

The texting and cell phone bans were prompted at least in part by the 2006 death of bicyclist Matt Wilhelm. Matt was riding on Illinois 130 east of Urbana when he struck by a car driven by a woman who was downloading a cell phone ring tone.

The News-Gazette reports that Matt's mother, Gloria Wilhelm, will appear on a January episode of Oprah Winfrey's TV show, but no date has been set for the segment to air.

"We finally have laws on the books that say it's wrong to be driving and texting and using a cell phone. We never had a law before that said it's wrong. The texting applies to all age groups, which is really great," Matt's father, Chuck Wilhelm, told the News-Gazette.

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 2:28 PM


I already have links to your excellent site, and would appreciate your consideration of adding a reciprocal link to www.biketoledo.net.

BikeToledo is a non-commercial public service site with a mission of getting people out of their cars and onto bikes. The primary goals are attracting new cyclists and helping recreational and intermediate cyclists raise their level of biking activity. We have a strong section on getting started in biking, with lots of "how-to" and "where-to-find" information and a large touring section. We also feature recreational riding, utility riding, commuting and going car-free. While some of the information is topical to the Toledo region, most is universally applicable.

Please visit and consider a reciprocal link. Thanks.

-Bob Beach
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