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Cyclists see strong bike culture in new state law

Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer Josh Dygert cycles home after a day in the office on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Huntington. New laws are in effect to protect individual bike riders on W.Va. roads.
Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer
Josh Dygert cycles home after a day in the office on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Huntington. New laws are in effect to protect individual bike riders on W.Va. roads.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Local cyclists seem to generally approve of new traffic laws in West Virginia to protect them, though many say the increasing number of riders on city streets already has created something of a truce with motorists.

The new law that passed the 2014 state Legislature session went into effect Tuesday and requires vehicles to give cyclists a three-foot cushion when passing a bike on a roadway. The law also does away with a former provision that required cyclists to use an adjacent path instead of the road if it was available.

“Riding in a neighborhood with sidewalks, that’s what you want for your 6- or 8- or 10-year-old kid, maybe,” said Ed Tucker of Edward Tucker Architects in Huntington. “But there’s also common sense. You don’t want someone barreling down a sidewalk at 20 miles per hour.

“To have clarity in the law for motorists and cyclists is helpful.”

Tucker lives about two miles from his office and frequently bikes to work. He’s been riding on roads since the mid-1980s when he lived in Nashville.

“Certainly you’ve seen motorists become more tolerant over the past 20 to 30 years,” he said.

The cycling scene in Huntington has been on the cusp of exploding in recent years, with projects like the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health (PATH) and Critical Mass bringing cyclists together and encouraging others to take up the activity…

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