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The law, though unlikely to make the statute books, is the latest in a long line of kooky rules attempted for cyclists

America is home to many things good and bad, including any number of odd laws – or attempts at laws - relating to cycling. While most never make the statute book they nonetheless seem to come up with regularity.

The latest, a House Bill proposed by Missouri’s 10th District Representative Jay Houghton, could make riding into the wind tricky: Houghton has proposed all cycles, if riding on a “lettered county road”, the US equivalent of B roads, should bear a fluorescent flag at least 15 foot high. Not just any flag, though - a fluorescent orange one.

Blog cyclelicio.us points out this is taller than the clearance of many bridges, not to mention the risks it could pose to riders passing above-ground electrical utilities. One bike Missouri bike shop has rigged up a compliant flag for illustration (on a kid’s bike).  

Cycling with earphones made illegal in California

According to the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, this is just the latest action in the state “couched in the language of reason” but intended to keep cyclists off the road.

In a statement released on its website, the Federation said: “Like the proposal a few years ago by a predecessor to Mr. Houghton, which would have required all bicyclists to wear hi-vis jerseys, and the proposal last year to require all cyclists to carry liability insurance,  the bill is couched in language of safety and reasonableness, but in reality it will not help the safety situation for bicyclists or drivers, will be impossible to enforce and comply with, and is intended as another backhanded way to keep cyclists off the road.”

Houghton, who also tried to ban cycling altogether from highways in 2013, told the Federation: “I understand your concerns, but the people of my district have asked me to file this legislation in an attempt to make their rural roads safer. These roads have no shoulder, sharp curves, and steep hills.

“My constituents, who drive these roads daily, feel this is a good idea. It not only protects automobile drivers, as well as bicyclists. I believe in freedom, and this bill in no way restricts your freedom to ride on the roads. It simply requires you to have a flag, just like 4-Wheelers are required to have.”

The website Iamtraffic.org lists common laws across US states affecting cyclists, including those forcing those on bikes to ride far to the right to avoid obstructing motor traffic, to those making riding two or more abreast illegal.

13 comments

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localsurfer [202 posts] 1 year ago
10 likes

Mount it horizontally.

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alansmurphy [432 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes

It may surprise people to read but as a cyclist i am in favour of this, safety forst and all that.

As an aside, cyclists rarely kill people, therefore i propose that engines are removed from motor vehicles and they should be propelled by manpower alone. It's for your own safety motorists, so don't you dare argue!

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Mungecrundle [705 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes

Flags are a great idea, carried by a strong walker, possibly adorned with a handlebar mustache or muttonchops and a bowler hat. Said flag to be carried in front of moving motor vehicles when on public roads.

Anyway, isn't this America? Surely if someone pisses you off you just shoot them. By carrying weaponary, all road users will acquire mutual respect and therefore poor driving, i.e driving in a way that is likely to get you shot, will eventually become a thing of the past. Who said the NRA were a bunch of retarded wuckfits?

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dafyddp [428 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Never trust a politician - before you know it, you've agreed to compromise on 4ft

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ron611087 [356 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes
Quote:

Houton, who also tried to ban cycling altogether from highways in 2013, told the Federation: “I understand your concerns, but the people of my district have asked me to file this legislation in an attempt to make their rural roads safer. These roads have no shoulder, sharp curves, and steep hills. 

When Golda Meier was premier of Israel it was suggested to her that women should be curfewed to protect them from rape. She reponded by saying that it's the men who should be curfewed since they were the ones doing the raping.

Astonishing how often stupid and prejudiced people try to resolve a problem by punishing the victim.

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ron611087 [356 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Lamp posts and traffic lights- inanimate objects which demand attention by virtue of their height, and the bloody great lights sitting on the top of them - routinely get flattened by motorists, even though they aren't on even the road! What fecking good do they think a flagpole with a florescent rag will do (other than make a target to aim at) ?!

It's a country where enough people take Trump seriously enough to make him GOP front runner, which explains a lot.

(is it possible for critical faculties to atrophy? because there's clearly some Americans who haven't engaged theirs for some time now...)

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Must be Mad [610 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

hmm, that flag pole looks like it make the bike rather unstable?

First person to hurt themselves because they were made to fit that monstrocity will have the mother and father of law suits on their hands.....

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ironmancole [343 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Bring back the red flag act and I'll happily, in the interests of equality and fairness to those poor murderous shits in cages, mount a flag to my bike.

Can't say fairer than that. 

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brooksby [2235 posts] 1 year ago
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Mungecrundle wrote:

Flags are a great idea, carried by a strong walker, possibly adorned with a handlebar mustache or muttonchops and a bowler hat. Said flag to be carried in front of moving motor vehicles when on public roads.

I think you could do that in most cities during what's still nostalgically called "rush hour" and not have to make anyone drive any slower than they are now...

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kevinmorice [142 posts] 1 year ago
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Attaching it to a tiny child's bike and parking it next to a strangely shaped window to try and make it look ridiculous takes away much of the sympathy I have.

 

Put it on a real bike with a grown adult next to it for scale and then see if it still looks as stupid.

 

I know a couple of recumbent riders and they already have flags mounted by choice.

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arowland [160 posts] 1 year ago
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kevinmorice wrote:

Attaching it to a tiny child's bike and parking it next to a strangely shaped window to try and make it look ridiculous takes away much of the sympathy I have.

Put it on a real bike with a grown adult next to it for scale and then see if it still looks as stupid.

I know a couple of recumbent riders and they already have flags mounted by choice.

It is not a matter of scale. It is ridiculous. As you are European you are probably not familiar with the odd measurement system used in the US: 15ft is a bit over 4.5m. None of the recumbent riders you know have 5m flags -- maybe a metre or so, that is all. 4.5m is the height of a two-storey building (without roof). It would consistute a major hazard to the cyclist.
The most generous interpretation I can put on this politician's behaviour is that he is making a deliberately idiotic suggestion, knowing it will never be enacted, while trying to appear 'responsive' to his electorate's concerns -- or the concerns of the lunatic fringe of the electorate, anyway. The local councillors round our way leap into action at the slightest complaint from residents, however barking. I think they know the highways department ignores most of it as 'noise', but every vote counts, no matter how mad the voter.

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Leviathan [2558 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
arowland wrote:
kevinmorice wrote:

Attaching it to a tiny child's bike and parking it next to a strangely shaped window to try and make it look ridiculous takes away much of the sympathy I have.

Put it on a real bike with a grown adult next to it for scale and then see if it still looks as stupid.

I know a couple of recumbent riders and they already have flags mounted by choice.

It is not a matter of scale. It is ridiculous. As you are European you are probably not familiar with the odd measurement system used in the US: 15ft is a bit over 4.5m. None of the recumbent riders you know have 5m flags -- maybe a metre or so, that is all. 4.5m is the height of a two-storey building (without roof). It would consistute a major hazard to the cyclist.
The most generous interpretation I can put on this politician's behaviour is that he is making a deliberately idiotic suggestion, knowing it will never be enacted, while trying to appear 'responsive' to his electorate's concerns -- or the concerns of the lunatic fringe of the electorate, anyway. The local councillors round our way leap into action at the slightest complaint from residents, however barking. I think they know the highways department ignores most of it as 'noise', but every vote counts, no matter how mad the voter.

The gentleman you are replying to may well be 'European' but he is also British. We are entirely familiar with the Imperial system, lest you forget which Empire it was named after. 4.5m is only the size of a two storey building if you live in a 16th century pit cottage, and I don't think you have many of them in the US. I would be hitting my head on the doors in a house like that and I am no Longshanks. Lets just say that 15ft is the size of two and a half grown men, and is ridiculous.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1582 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
kevinmorice wrote:

Attaching it to a tiny child's bike and parking it next to a strangely shaped window to try and make it look ridiculous takes away much of the sympathy I have.

 

Put it on a real bike with a grown adult next to it for scale and then see if it still looks as stupid.

 

I know a couple of recumbent riders and they already have flags mounted by choice.

I'm not sure I'd want 'sympathy' from someone who has such a shockingly poor grasp of sizes and distances! Your recumbent riding aquaintances have 15-foot flag poles? Really?

(And are you suggesting children don't actually ride bikes, ever?)

Or are you just trolling?

Anyway, maybe they should first apply this rule to anyone carrying firearms or driving a car?