Tulsa City Council asks state for bike law change

Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-08 19:33:07-05

The Tulsa City Council approved a resolution to ask the state to change its laws regarding bicycles in the street, or at least allow municipalities to change their own laws.

In 2016, Larry Buxton was struck by a car near 81st and Riverside while lawfully riding his bike near the curb. He says had he been allowed to ride more toward the center of the lane, he would have been seen and possibly avoided the accident.

The Tulsa City Council is asking the state to allow bikes to "take the lane" - move into the right lane and ride with the flow of traffic. It would make them more seen, and direct drivers to pass when the left lane becomes available.

"If the general public that's using the roads in vehicles are aware of what the laws are, then it will be safe for everybody," Buxton said.

He hopes with the potential change can come more education for drivers. He says a shift in the law would be great, but wants drivers to be aware of cyclists and accept them as part of the road.

Some streets around Tulsa have designated bike lanes on the side of the road, but as soon as you turn off, the road can get too cramped for both bikes and the drivers wanting to get around them. That's making some drivers nervous about the prospect of sharing the lane.

"It doesn't seem like it'd be real safe to me," driver Cale Sherwood said. "Seems to be enough accidents on the right side. And staying with the flow of traffic is going to be tough; I don't think i'd want to be out there on a bicycle."

For now, the Tulsa City Council has changed the rule so bicycles won't fall under vehicles moving "too slow for conditions" under a Tulsa Ordinance.