A statehouse bill filed by Greenville Rep. Wendy Nanney two weeks ago that riled up the bicycle advocacy community in South Carolina has been dropped.
Nanney introduced a bill on March 12 that would have banned youth from riding bikes on many public roads and would have required all cyclists to obtain a $5 permit from the Department of Transportation in order to ride on many public roads. The bill, H4923, also would have required cyclists to carry liability insurance on their bicycles.
After strong backlash from the cycling community across the state and country, Rep. Nanney posted on her Facebook page today that she has decided to drop the bill.
"After the overwhelming response from the cycling community, I have decided to drop the Bike Bill," Nanney wrote this morning. "The goal of this bill was to address the safety issues that occur when mixing cars and bikes and also to keep the flow of traffic moving. The bill has begun a good conversation and I hope we can come up with some good solutions. Thank you to the many of you who have expressed a willingness to discuss this further and help find a solution. Once again, the bike bill has been dropped."
The bill would have required cyclists to carry permits and insurance when riding their bicycle of roads with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or greater.
It would have required cyclists to pass a bicycle safety written exam at the DMV before they would be issued a permit for a $5 fee.
Frank Mansbach, advocacy coordinator for the Greenville Spinners cycling group, said the controversial bill inspired a backlash from the state's cycling advocates that played out online through social media on Monday as word spread of the bill.
Nanney said today that she filed the bill after seeing several bicycle and vehicle near collisions on Wade Hampton Boulevard as well as rush-hour
"We're encouraging more commuters on bikes," Nanney said. "We really have to address how we handle that and traffic. I'm all for cycling and sports and the cycling clubs in the area. It's really those who don't know the cycling laws and are riding in heavy traffic that we really have to deal with."
Jake Knight, a Greenville cyclist who said he commutes by bike about half the time, said trying to pass a new state law was a poor way to start a cycling safety discussion.
"The way that you don't start a discussion is by proposing a bill to the floor of the state legislature," Knight said. "You start a discussion by having a discussion with the people who are involved in that activity on a daily basis."
Nanney said she knew the bill wouldn't pass, since it was filed late in the second year of a legislative session, "but I just wanted to get the conversation going and making people aware that it was becoming more of a problem."
Nanney said she wants to continue the bicycling safety conversation with cycling groups on how best to educate cyclists who don't obey traffic laws.