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Huge Anti-Cyclist Bill to Be Introduced in Montana

By Monica Buck

Instead of supporting the friendly relationships between cyclists and motorists, Montana Senate Leader Scott Sales is trying to drive a wedge between them. The Republican representative from Bozeman recently killed a bill encouraging drivers to give cyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing them and he’s not stopping there. He’s now going on the offensive with an extensive anti-cyclist bill.

“Cyclists are some of the rudest and most self-centered people I’ve ever encountered,” Sales says very often. It makes us wonder how an elected official can condemn such a large, diverse group of people, when it is simply impossible that he’d have met even a half of them.

His proposition would see cyclists banned from two-lane roads with less than a three-foot shoulder, require them to wear reflectors on both the bike and themselves, and force them to pay a tax for riding on public roads.

“If cyclists want safety, we’ll give them safety. Where I live, we have narrow county roads with hills and blind turns. You’re driving at the posted speed limit of 45 or 55mph, come around a corner, and all of the sudden, there are bicyclists riding two or three abreast. Both drivers and cyclists need to take responsibility for safety, but it’s more incumbent upon the cyclists because they have much more to lose,” agitated Sales said in an interview for bicycling.com

Senate President Scott Sales and House Speaker Austin Knudsen

His proposition might not only hurt the local cyclists but the local economy as well. According to Montana-based group Adventure Cycling, bike tourism has a potential to generate $377 million annually within the state. Let’s hope the bill shares the fate of a recent proposition by Barry Usher (R) who wanted cyclists banned from any two-lane roads without a shoulder.