House Bill 1290, (three-foot passing bill) was signed by the Governor on March 16, 2021. Motorists shall pass bicyclists from a distance of no less than three feet. There is a penalty attached to this law though it is inconsequential. The key take-away from this bill becoming law is that it opens the door to discussions about raising awareness of bicyclists on roadways. This can be done in a number of ways; through efforts by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT); the North Dakota Active Transportation Alliance (NDATA), municipalities, tribal nations and local bicycling advocates. The NDATA will be working with the NDDOT to add language pertaining to North Dakota’s three-foot passing law to the non-commercial and commercial drivers license manuals and to their respective written drivers tests.

House Bill 1252 (North Dakota Yield Bill) has been sent to the Governor for signing though at this time there is no evidence that the Governor has signed the North Dakota Yield bill into law. The NDATA has followed up with Representative Corey Mock and hopes to hear back later today about the status of House Bill 1252 (The North Dakota Yield).

House Bill 1148, (electric-assisted bike clean-up bill) is an administrative clean-up bill that will change electric-assisted bicycles legal designation from motor vehicles to bicycles is still being worked on in the Senate Transportation Committee. The North Dakota Public Health Department and the North Dakota Highway Patrol shared neutral testimony at the March 5th Senate Transportation Committee hearing that stated that some states have minimum age limits on the use of electric-assisted bicycles and there was discussion about the use of helmets and possible inclusion of a Class D permit requirement. People for Bikes testified through a lobbyist in support of the administrative clean-up of electric-assisted bicycles within the Century Code.

It is the NDATA’s hope that the Class D permit requirement is dropped from discussion as the point of this bill is to remove electric-assisted bicycles from the realm of motor vehicles. Mandatory helmet usage should only be considered for those under the age of eighteen and should align with other state laws.

Look for further follow-up on House Bill 1252 and House Bill 1148 in the coming days.

Justin Kristan

Executive Director,

North Dakota Active Transportation Alliance