MK calls to ban bikes from high-speed roads

Riding a bicycle has become a game of Russian roulette, says Tibayev after death of champion cyclist Guy Tamari.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
April 18, 2011 03:25
2 minute read.
In some places the cyclist has nowhere to go

Jerusalem cyclist 521 . (photo credit: Sarah Levin)

 
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A day after a champion bicyclist was struck and killed by a car, the chairman of the Knesset Subcommittee for the War on Traffic Accidents called on Sunday to outlaw bicycles on interurban “fast” roads.

“Bicycling in Israel has turned into a game of Russian roulette and a real danger to cyclists on high-speed roadways,” MK Robert Tibayev (Kadima) said in a letter to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.

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“I believe that Israel must create order in its policies, including both ministerial action and legislation, regarding bicycle and vehicle culture,” continued Tibayev.

He argued that Israel should “adopt the accepted model in other countries by which bicyclists will be forbidden from riding on high-speed roadways.”

Bicycling is already illegal on the fastest highways, including Highway 1, Highway 2 and Highway 6. Stretches of other roads are also restricted due to specific safety concerns.

Tibayev called on the state to take responsibility for improving infrastructures that would allow bicyclists to ride safely. He promised that he would hold an urgent committee meeting on the subject, and would submit legislation on the subject when the Knesset returns from its Pessah recess.

On Saturday morning, champion bicyclist Guy Tamari, 42, was killed when he was hit by a car while riding on Route 40 south of Rehovot.

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Tamari was the son of Brig.- Gen. (res.) Shai Tamari, and the nephew of Maj.-Gen. Nechmia Tamari, the OC Central Command who was killed when his helicopter crashed in 1994.

The driver who fatally struck Tamari was returning from a night shift at Ben-Gurion Airport, and said that she did not see Tamari before she felt the impact.

Police are examining whether fatigue was a factor in the crash.

It was still unclear a day later whether the driver swerved onto the shoulder of the road and then struck Tamari, or whether Tamari was riding in the lane reserved for motor vehicles.

According to the Or Yarok road safety organization, 2,562 bicyclists were injured in traffic collisions in 2003-2010, and in 2010 alone 16 bicyclists were killed.

Following the incident, Or Yarok published a study on driving when tired that revealed that one in every 100 Israeli drivers has fallen asleep at the wheel.

Another 14 percent reported that in the past year, they had ridden in a vehicle whose driver had “nodded off,” while 15% said that they had wanted to stop driving and rest, but there was no safe place to pull over.

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