Safe Streets Ordinance Hearing - Testimony of Catherine Girves

Good evening Council Member Mills. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today. My name is Catherine Girves, I'm the Executive Director of Yay Bikes! and am honored to be here representing our 512 members.Yay Bikes! is thankful to you and the other members of Columbus City Council for consideration of 1182-2014 the proposed “Safe Streets Ordinance”. If adopted, this ordinance helps to clarify appropriate interactions between motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians – creating an even clearer commitment for safe and peaceful streets for all users. The Yay Bikes! Board of Directors is particularly pleased with the following components of this legislation:

  • clarifying that a bicycle is a vehicle in the definition of vehicles and throughout the legislation,
  • clarifying that the law explicitly prohibits motorists from “left or right hooking” bicyclists,
  • clarifying that bicyclists are protected under the law from being doored by motorists, and
  • affirming that motorists must pass cyclists at a safe distance and defining a safe distance as at least 3' for automobiles and 6' for most commercial vehicles

We are particularly appreciative of the many opportunities provided to Yay Bikes! and other advocates in the community of bicyclists to respond to earlier drafts of this legislation and for the thoughtful responses given to all comments. This legislation has clearly been influenced by those of us who ride the street on a daily basis. Thank you. We are here tonight to support this legislation and are excited about coming back to Chambers next week when Council is scheduled to take action on this proposed legislation. This ordinance is a wonderful step in the direction of creating peaceful streets for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Thank you.