In the presence of a big crowd of mainly bicycle riders, Gov. Eloy S. Inos signed into law Saturday morning a bill requiring a safe distance of at least 3 feet when overtaking a bicycle to help ensure CNMI road safety.
Bicycle riders converged at the Garapan Fishing Base before proceeding to the Sabalu Market at the Civic Center in Susupe to witness the law signing.
“I am thankful for the governor for recognizing the importance of this road safety measure. What I would also hope to see is for the MVA [Marianas Visitors Authority] and tour operators to do an outreach for tourists who are renting cars and bikes so they also know about this law,” said House floor leader Ralph Demapan (Cov-Saipan), author of House Bill 18-19.
Demapan also hopes that bicycle riders “would stay within their lane.”
He first introduced the bill in the 17th Legislature.
Under the new law, “when a vehicle is overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, the person driving the motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance between the motor vehicle and bicycle of not less than 3 feet until the motor vehicle is safely past the overtaken bicycle.”
The use of bicycles in the CNMI is a popular form of recreation and has grown into an inexpensive, healthy, and environment-friendly mode of transportation.
In recent periods, the increased popularity of annual triathlons and other competitive events has also increased the number of cyclists on CNMI roads and highways.