Each skater needs to know the rules of the road wherever they skate. But, these rules vary in each community.
In the past, Illinois law treated inline skaters as pedestrians and required them to skate on sidewalks or against traffic on roads and streets. But, speed skaters sharing sidewalks with other pedestrians and any skater to traveling against traffic was a safety hazard.
Now, thanks to the efforts of Ben Neiburger, an attorney and member of the Team Rainbo Speed Skating Club, the Illinois Legislature and Governor Pat Quinn have passed a bill that requires inline skaters to follow the same traffic laws as other vehicles on the road. It is a lot safer to treat them like cyclists who can travel with traffic in the bike lane during daylight hours.
The new Illinois General Assembly Bill SB3336 has many important points:
Current traffic laws apply to anyone using inline speed skates.
Provides that inline speed skaters may not attach themselves to any vehicle upon a roadway.
Contains provisions about the position of inline skaters on highways, left-turn protocol, turn and stop signals, and racing.
Allows speed skaters to use highways with speed limit of 45 mph or less.
Requires skaters to wear a light and reflector.
Prohibits skating while texting.
Congratulations to Ben for preparing this Amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code and to the members of Team Rainbo who lobbied for signing at the eleventh hour, before it expired for the year... and special thanks to Steven Cimino for keeping everyone (including me) in the loop.