Bicycle Fashion Bill HB-1361
New bill now in consideration by the PA House Transportation committee would require all bicyclists to wear reflective clothing after dark.
The bill would add the following line to the PA Vehicle Code:
(d) Reflective clothing. — Any person operating a pedalcycle between sunset and sunrise shall wear high-visibility safety apparel, which may include a vest, jacket or shirt, that is retroreflective.
See why this is not good, and why you should write your reps to stop the bicycle fashion bill:
Bike-Pgh doesn’t support the bicycle fasion bill:
Bike Coalition of Philadelphia has a similar opinion:
I’ve written most of the sponsors of the bill as well as the house transportation committee chair. Please help and write your own letters. The bike-pgh blog post has a good template.
This law is such a terrible idea. I really hope that is just misplaced good intentions and that a good campaign of calls and letters can dissuade them, or even get the law amended into something that will actually make biking safer and easier (like not requiring reflectors if a bike actually has front and rear lights on it).
It’s so ambiguous in the requirement that I don’t know what actually qualifies.
Does my orange jacket with some small bits of reflective piping qualify?
Does my black fiks:reflective shirt with retro reflective text qualify?
Does my white backpack with large retro reflective stripes on the back and reflective front patches on the straps qualify?
I can’t actually answer any of these questions definitively based on the text of the law. Neither will the officers tasked with enforcement. And that’s a problem. One of many.
Or even requiring bikes to be sold with lights, like in Germany. Though that would have to happen nationally.
well, you can require that (a) bikes sold in PA be sold with lights, though enforcing that against private-party sales might be difficult, and (b) bikes operated in PA be operated with lights, though we already know enforcing that doesn’t happen any more than it does against unlit cars.
I don’t think it can happen only in PA. I’d really like a national law requiring lights on bikes. I think that would make bikes much safer at night, and also lead to a lot better incorporation of lighting systems into bikes. Every biker who rides a lot at night has to figure out how to make it work as well as they can with aftermarket parts. They should be integrated systems, like on cars.
jonawebb, while in theory i agree with you, there is too much “sport” riding. many bikes (think road racing, mountain) are never ridden after dark, and adding cost and weight reduces performance.
i think there’s a way to do it, but i’m not sure what it is.
also, ben, i had the same questions, especially regarding a backpack, which isn’t listed as acceptable retroreflective clothing. Like if i had a retroreflective shirt, but covered it in a non-retroreflective backpack, i suppose i’d still be in compliance.
I don’t think this thing will move out of the house transpo committee, which is really early in the process. We’re also working on getting the League to send a letter.
The hope is that they will pull out, without much fanfare. if they continue with this malarkey, we plan to step up the pressure.
i’d like to see them change the vehicle code to allow a rear light or rear reflector.
The law was written before LED tech, and many of the newer rear lights are just LEDs w/out the reflective lens, so are technically not in compliance, despite being extremely visible. So responsible riders with only a bright rear light, may be actually breaking the law without realizing it.
After passing through the west end interchange twice one dark night in February rain/snow/sleet, then discovering that my rear light was non-functional, I now think having a rear reflector is a good idea even if you have bright lights.
no doubt. having a backup rear light in the rain/snow is also a good idea, but it doesn’t need to be the law
Yeah, according to the law as proposed I would probably be illegal riding with a neon yellow jacket that doesn’t have any reflective material, while wearing a backpack with reflective material and a light mounted on it, A helmet with reflective decals and a light, and my bike without a reflector, but a very bright led rear light, a front LED headlight, and reflective rim strips, reflective designs on the back of my shoes.
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