By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Gov. Haley Barbour this week signed into law the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act, named after a Tupelo teen who died while cycling in August.
Two versions of the bill had worked their way through the Legislature this session; it was the Senate version that became law.
It requires motorists to provide a three-foot buffer when passing bicyclists along the road and penalizes those who harass, taunt or toss objects at cyclists.
Fines range from $100 for a first offense to $2,500 and seven days in jail for the third offense.
The act also requires bicyclists to ride in the right-hand lane with no more than two abreast.
It takes effect July 1.
“We’re just grateful that it got through,” said Liria Frerer, mother of the act’s namesake. “It kind of helps lighten the day.”
The family learned about the bill’s passage Friday, which would have been John Paul’s 19th birthday.
John Paul was cycling along state Highway 6 from Tupelo to Pontotoc the day before his senior year of high school began. A truck struck and killed him.
Since that time, the Frerers have been outspoken about promoting and enhancing bicycle safety, sharing their story with the Tupelo City Council, Lee County Board of Supervisors and the Senate Transportation Committee.
Read more in Saturday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.