Bill seeks safer Maine roadsides

Posted March 24, 2009, at 1:07 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — State Rep. Charles Harlow says he’s always felt like a target while running along the side of the road.

The Portland Democrat on Tuesday asked the Transportation Committee to make Maine’s roadsides where there are no sidewalks safer for pedestrians. Harlow’s bill would require motorists to give walkers and runners at least 3 feet of clearance and allow operators to pass pedestrians only when it’s safe. The bill’s modeled after a state law for passing a bicycle.

Rep. James Schatz, speaking in favor of Harlow’s bill, said he’s had some close calls too. The Blue Hill Democrat said a pickup truck going 45 mph grazed his shirt sleeve once. Schatz says nearly all of his neighbors also walk along the roadsides. Others noted that school sports teams often run along the roads too.

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