Billings lawmaker says he’ll revise bicycle ban on 2-lane roads

By Ed Kemmick/Last Best News

State Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings, says he is working on a new draft of his bicycle-safety bill, which we reported on last week, and he wants people to know it won’t include any restrictions on bicycles or pedestrians.

His original bill draft would have banned bicyclists, pedestrians and people in wheelchairs from any two-lane road outside municipalities that did not have a paved shoulder.

Biking enthusiasts and tourism promoters came out in considerable numbers to oppose the bill, and on Sunday evening, Usher sent out a widely distributed email saying he had pulled the bill draft and is working on a new one. Here is the complete text of the email:

“I want to update you on the exciting progress of Montana House LC2196!  Since the bill draft had not yet been introduced, I have pulled it back in order to draft a bill that will address the concerns that I have heard from you.  My intent has and remains roadway safety and I appreciate all of the great feedback, ideas and suggestions I have received to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.  I am currently working with Bike Walk Montana, Cycle Greater Yellowstone and other bicycle advocacy groups in a positive direction to re-write this proposed bill, with NO BICYCLE OR PEDESTRIAN RESTRICTIONS.  At this point, we do not have any specifics we can share but will soon.  We believe that this great group of safety minded advocates will come up with something to further enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety in the great state of Montana.”