Author Topic: Daytime Lights in Montana  (Read 6335 times)

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Offline ggwbikemt

Daytime Lights in Montana
« on: January 22, 2021, 10:38:12 pm »
There is a House Bill HB0184 that is working its way through the Montana Legislature that would require headlights and taillights be lighted at all times including daytime when bicycling anywhere in the state. It would also require either blaze orange or high vis yellow be worn while biking on highways with speed limit of 35 mph or higher and limit bicycling to either the right half of the right lane or paved shoulder most of the time with some exceptions.  The text of the bill is here.
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2021/billpdf/HB0184.pdf

There will be a hearing in the transportation committee on this bill on Monday Jan 25 at 3 pm MST.

For bill status check here:

http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/LAW0203W%24BSRV.ActionQuery?P_SESS=20211&P_BLTP_BILL_TYP_CD=HB&P_BILL_NO=184&P_BILL_DFT_NO=&P_CHPT_NO=&Z_ACTION=Find&P_ENTY_ID_SEQ2=&P_SBJT_SBJ_CD=&P_ENTY_ID_SEQ=

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2021, 11:03:36 pm »
Was there some incident that caused this or does the legislator have a bug up his butt against cyclists?

While all these are good suggestions, making them law is a bit strict IMO.  Also, if they are going to do this, I would ask they greatly increase the penalty for motorists hitting a cyclist who is obeying all the required laws.  I mean if a motorist hits a cyclist riding by himself in the shoulder with neon yellow jersey, a bright red light, a bright white light, and rear and side reflector the motorist should have a equally strict penalty.  Just my thought.

Also, are there police on bicycles in Montana?  If so, the law would have to exempt them or the yellow would cover their uniform which would not be such a great idea.

Tailwinds, John
« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 11:08:31 pm by John Nettles »

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2021, 10:39:04 am »
Welcome to the next wave of big government.
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Offline Nyimbo

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2021, 07:23:41 pm »
On my Transamerica ride I felt like Montana was the most dangerous state I rode in all things considered. I don’t really like the idea of them legislating this at all but maybe they know their drivers aren’t careful.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2021, 07:31:25 am »
On my Transamerica ride I felt like Montana was the most dangerous state I rode in all things considered.
I don't really remember Montana being bad other than really stupidly placed rumble strips.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2021, 10:28:52 am »
I don't really remember Montana being bad other than really stupidly placed rumble strips.
Same here.  Other states are much worse but of course every state has their rude, inconsiderate, and inattentive drivers.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2021, 01:28:03 pm »
I live in Montana. For the past several years there has been a strong anti-bicycle sentiment in the Republican controlled legislature. It has resulted in a number of bills in past sessions - all killed, thankfully - that restrict cyclists ability to ride freely. They included such ideas as requiring all out of state cyclists to have special pemits to ride in the state, for a fee, of course, and affixed to their bikes, not being able to ride on highways without a three foot shoulder (the vast majority of highways in the state), etc. I feel these kinds of bills are primarily introduced more out of spite than from a concern for cyclists' safety. Be assured, I will be contacting my state legislators .

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2021, 02:20:02 pm »
I would think that ACA has some type of data that shows how much money is spent just out of state bicycle tourists.  These are the best for state coffers as the tourists do not use the resources continually.  Perhaps if state legislators see that bike tourists spend $x million per year, they would be more inclined to encourage versus discourage bicyclists.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2021, 04:31:28 pm »
I feel these kinds of bills are primarily introduced more out of spite than from a concern for cyclists' safety.

While I agree that they are probably not overly concerned with cyclist safety, I wonder if maybe the reason isn't to reduce the "annoying" court cases that arise from car/bike accidents. I wonder if they are getting pressure from insurance companies and perhaps motorists involved in these cases. Money seems to drive all decisions.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2021, 04:40:04 pm »
For what i is worth I emailed all the legislators there asking that they defeat that bill.  I immediately got one reply that said "So, riding SAFELY on Montana roads is NOT a concern?".  I wrote back saying that I didn't find that those particular requirements were always necessary for safe riding and that they were not required in other states.  As a result it would be a great inconvenience to riders arriving in their state on long tours.


Offline Nyimbo

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2021, 06:56:50 pm »
Just a quick reply to my previous comment. I am sure it was just my experience on one trip across the country.  Each person probably has their own place where they felt it a bit more in dangerous. For me it was was Montana based on a couple experiences.


Regarding the original post, I wouldn’t be opposed to a debate about using running lights, although that seems a bit easier for touring cyclist than for every local kid riding their bike locally in their everyday riding around the state.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2021, 07:15:28 pm »
Regarding the original post, I wouldn’t be opposed to a debate about using running lights, although that seems a bit easier for touring cyclist than for every local kid riding their bike locally in their everyday riding around the state.
True as long as you are are aware of and expecting expecting the regulations.  Personally I don't take any running lights on tour other than a little 2AAA or 2AA rear blinkie that doesn't get used much.

I might go as far as to avoid touring in Montana again if they pass that bill.  Then again I really want to visit Glacier NP and doing so on a tour would be nice.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2021, 08:13:29 pm »
It is not just about the cyclist.  The driver needs to be responsible too.  IF there was a major penalty for hitting a cyclist if the driver is at fault, then I would be more inclined to not argue as much.  Say at minimum, the same penalties as manslaughter.  However, I see very few cyclists following the law so when a cyclist gets hit, the driver can say the cyclist is at fault since he was not following the law. 

Unfortunately, not much will happen to help the cyclist until it is a legislator or a family member who is killed.  When it touches them personally, they act quickly and severely; much like Congress is now with the Capitol protestors. Otherwise, we are like Portland citizens dealing with the Portland protestors; politicians talk but do nothing to change the situation.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2021, 09:08:40 pm »
On my Transamerica ride I felt like Montana was the most dangerous state I rode in all things considered. I don’t really like the idea of them legislating this at all but maybe they know their drivers aren’t careful.

That's surprising to me and I'm sorry you felt that way! Of the 46 states I've ridden across on bicycle, Montana (which I've ridden through 3 times) is in my top 5 of safest.

Otherwise, I always ride with a taillight during the day unless I'm on a MUP. I rarely ride with a front light except in foggy or rainy weather. I would be against high visibility colors though. Most of my bike shirts are white, blue or even black. My bike is plenty visible IMO.
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Offline Nyimbo

Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2021, 09:36:38 pm »
On my Transamerica ride I felt like Montana was the most dangerous state I rode in all things considered. I don’t really like the idea of them legislating this at all but maybe they know their drivers aren’t careful.

That's surprising to me and I'm sorry you felt that way! Of the 46 states I've ridden across on bicycle, Montana (which I've ridden through 3 times) is in my top 5 of safest.

Otherwise, I always ride with a taillight during the day unless I'm on a MUP. I rarely ride with a front light except in foggy or rainy weather. I would be against high visibility colors though. Most of my bike shirts are white, blue or even black. My bike is plenty visible IMO.

Yes that's just how it was for me on my one experience there.  So there you go, it's gotta happen somewhere. By the way, what is MUP?

I also use a rear light always, and only use a front light periodically similar to your description.  My personal experience was when riding through Yellowstone and into the Grand Tetons I teamed up and rode with a British guy who was on an around the world tour.  He had a very bright tail light and I had one of the little Blinky things.  Anyway as we entered the Grand Tetons a guy flagged us down and I thought he was a former bicycle tourist and wanted to chat about our ride however what he wanted was to tell the guy I was riding with how much he appreciated his bright tail light.  He said he could see it way before mine and it caught his attention in the middle of viewing the scenery.  It was a good enough testimonial for me and afterwards I bought a bright tail light that I always use.

This is a bit off topic but this past fall I purchased one of the Garmin Varia radar tail-lights and I completely love it.  I have tried over the years to use various rearview mirrors - on the helmet and glasses and handlebars - and for some reason they have bothered me so much that I gave up using a mirror.  But, the Varia - for me - it just works.  In the few months I have used it, it has never missed a car.  If I look down at my computer readout it tells me if a car is behind me and how far back it is.  Anyway like I said "off topic."  but my Varia is a combination radar and bright tail-light so it reminded me while I was typing.