Michael Matthew Bloomer, July 26, 2013
Yesterday, the North Carolina legislature finally surrendered to Governor Pat McCrory’s forceful and determined advocacy for one of his top priorities, motorcycle safety. Last night, the state Senate concurred in a House committee substitute for the original Senate Bill 353 which had languished since the Senate initially passed it on April 8, 2013.
According to insiders, an overjoyed Governor McCrory will soon sign this important contribution to the safety of North Carolina’s motorcycle enthusiasts. McCrory, a longtime advocate for motorcycle safety who had built his campaign around the subject, would soon put his signature on the following provisions:
A person who violates subsection (a) of this section and causes a motorcycle operator to change travel lanes or leave that portion of any public street or highway designated as travel lanes shall be responsible for an infraction and shall be assessed a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00). A person who violates subsection (a) of this section that results in a crash causing property damage or personal injury to a motorcycle operator or passenger shall be responsible for an infraction and shall be assessed a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500.00).($500.00) unless subsection (a2) of this section applies.
(a2) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section and the violation results in a crash causing property damage in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or a serious bodily injury as defined in G.S. 20-160.1(b) to a motorcycle operator or passenger shall be responsible for an infraction and shall be assessed a fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00). A violation of this subsection shall be treated as a failure to yield right-of-way to a motorcycle for purposes of assessment of points under G.S. 20-16(c). In addition, the trial judge shall have the authority to order the license of any driver violating this subsection suspended for a period not to exceed 30 days. If a judge orders suspension of a person’s drivers license pursuant to this subsection, the judge may allow the licensee a limited driving privilege for a period not to exceed the period of suspension. The limited driving privilege shall be issued in the same manner and under the terms and conditions prescribed in G.S. 20-16.1(b)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and G.S. 20-16.1(g)
A Governor’s Office spokesperson summed it up:
“The Governor wishes to thank the legislature who, despite their month’s long intransigence, this morning completed the law-making process. Governor McCrory looks forward to signing this important and crucial legislation which he has championed since he entered public life. As we all know motorcycle safety had been long neglected due to the extreme positions taken by each party, one side maintaining that a person has the inalienable right to change lanes at will whether or not it causes inconvenience to a motorcycle rider, the other side maintaining that persons ought to have law enforcement preclearance before changing lanes at any time. Through the Governor’s active engagement in this debate the contending camps finally reached an equitable compromise, one that the Governor applauds and will sign into law, despite active and loud anti-motorcycle safety demonstrations.”
Click here to view the law the Governor will receive for signing. 1 See Part V, page 4 for the motorcycle safety provision.
1. Note: The bill also includes a few noncontroversial extraneous motorcycle-related abortion provisions of minimal effect. See Part I through IV, pages 1 through 4.