CHICAGO – July 5, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will keep bicyclists safer on Illinois roads by making it illegal for automobile drivers to crowd bikers. Governor Quinn also signed legislation that will create a specialty license plate to educate the public about sharing the road with cyclists.
“These laws will help keep bicyclists safe and remind drivers to be alert for people on bikes,” said Governor Quinn. “We are strengthening laws to protect bicyclists and increasing safety education opportunities to help ensure that everyone is safe on Illinois’ roads.”
Senate Bill 2951, sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), makes it illegal for drivers to crowd or threaten bicyclists by unnecessarily driving close to a cyclist.
The new law increases penalties for attempting to harm or threaten bicyclists. Under the law, drivers who intimidate cyclists with threats, crowding or throwing items will be subject to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 2798 to create a “Share the Road” specialty license plate. The proceeds from the license plate sales will be directed as grants to the League of Illinois Bicyclists for safety education programs. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Michael Bond (D-Grayslake), and Rep. Joseph Lyons (D-Chicago). Twelve other states have developed “Share the Road” license plates for the same purpose.
Both bills go into effect on January 1.