Now that 2014 is here there are few bicycle related changes to note.
First of all, the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 is now law and in effect. This means, among other things, that you're no longer required to have a bell on your bike (though I like mine) and when stopped at a red light, you can go with the pedestrian light turns green. Here's how WABA described the law back when it was passed.
The Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 makes the following updates or amendments:
- Bicyclists’ use of leading pedestrian intervals: Bicyclists can get the same head start as pedestrians at signalized intersections, where pedestrians are given few extra seconds to start crossing a street. Also allowing bicyclists the opportunity to get into the intersection before cars makes them more visible to drivers.
- Bicycle and pedestrian detours: The mayor will be able to require permits obtained from the District Department of Transportation for projects that block sidewalks, bike lanes, or other pedestrian or bicycle paths to provide safe accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Aligns bicyclists’ crash infractions with a similar pedestrian one: The bill adds “failure to yield” and “colliding with a bicyclist while failing to yield” infractions, similar to current pedestrian infractions. The penalty for “failing to yield” to a bicyclist would be three points points and a fine of $250. “Colliding with a person riding a bicycle” would be six points and a fine of $500.
- Ability to make an audible noise: The bill modifies the law that requires all bicycles to be equipped with a bell, instead requiring all bicycle riders to “be capable of making a warning noise either with a bell or mechanical device, or with his or her voice, audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet.” It also removes a section prohibiting bicyclists from a making a noise within the established quiet zones (Title 18 Section 1204.7)
The detour provisions might require some regulations to be written before you start to see any result from them. Still good news.
Meanwhile, a federal tax break for plug-in electric bikes has expired.
Even a tax credit for "2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles." [as expired] (Yes, these things do exist: The Observer reported that e-bikes have become ubiquitous in New York, used for everything from Chinese food deliveries to expensive joyrides.)
But it is possible that this tax break could still be extended retroactively, except that...Congress.