Back in September I reported on House Bill 1784, which unanimously passed the Illinois legislature on August 25, officially legalizing three commonsense bike-related practices. The laws kicked in on New Year’s Day (thanks to state bike advocacy organization Ride Illinois, which proposed the bill, for the reminder), so here’s a quick recap.
Drivers may cross a solid centerline in order to safely pass a cyclist.
On most two-lane roads, the travel lanes are too narrow for motorists to safely and legally pass cyclist by providing the required three feet of clearance, without crossing the center line. In a no-passing zone with a solid centerline, drivers can now do so with the confidence that they aren’t breaking the law, assuming that there’s no danger of striking an oncoming vehicle in the other lane.
Bike riders are allowed to ride on the shoulder of the road
This should be obvious, but the new legislation specifies that it’s legal (although not required) for cyclists to use the shoulder of the road. Making it clear that cyclists may the shoulder could be helpful in liability cases where a cyclist is struck on the shoulder, and it will also be useful for road agencies that wish to designate a road shoulder as part of a marked bike route.
Cyclists may use a taillight instead of a rear reflector
Again, this should be a no-brainer, but the legislation codifies the fact that a rear, red taillight is at least as visible as a comparably sized reflector. The city of Chicago, as well as eight states, already allow a taillight to be used instead of a reflector, and now Illinois has a more logical law in this regard as well.