By Chuck Smith
1980 – The Ohio Bicycle Federation (OBF) is founded as the state advocacy organization by a group including retired Huffy Corporation CEO Horace Huffman, ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Ed Honton, and others.
1980-1989 – OBF hosts “Ohio Bicycle Rally” in a different Ohio college or university each year.
1995 – Chuck Smith of Vandalia becomes Ohio Bicycle Federation Chair.
1996 – OBF led successful effort to pass Ohio House Bill 461 which permitted bicyclists to signal turns by simply pointing in the direction in which they wish to turn. The bill was signed into law after OBF testimony before the House and Senate Transportation Committees. The new law made safe bicycling instruction easier, as the previous law required that bicyclists (like motorists with non-working turn signals) signal right turns with an upraised left arm.
1997-2003 – OBF Chair Chuck Smith represented cycling on the National Committee for Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances (NCUTLO). Other NCUTLO members included the Trucking Industry, Insurance Industry, Auto Industry, Railroad Industry, and other industries concerned with transportation. NCUTLO’s mission was to update the Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) which is used as a model for state traffic legislation. OBF recruited Riley Geary to represent the League of American Bicyclists on NCUTLO. Smith and Geary worked together to bring about significant changes in the UVC necessitated by the change in definition of “bicycle” in the UVC to make it a vehicle. The changes included permitting bicycle racing on public roads.
1999 – Steve Selz “Impeding Traffic Case”. OBF was “amicus curiae” in supporting OBF Board Member Steve Magas in reversing a penalty levied against transportation bicyclist Steve Selz for “impeding traffic” by riding his bicycle on SR 49 in Dayton. After Ohio Bicycle Lawyer Steve Magas spoke before the Montgomery County Court of Appeals, they reversed the penalty. This case remains today as an important precedent for cyclists to legally ride Ohio roads.
2000 – OBF hosts its first “Ohio Bicycle Awareness Day” in the Statehouse Atrium. Governor Taft cuts the 20th Anniversary cake. Many Ohio organizations involved in cycling in some way are represented with displays.
2001 – Lt. Governor and Ohio Department of Public Safety Director (now Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice) Maureen O’Connor was main speaker for OBF’s 2nd Annual “Ohio Bicycle Awareness Day” in Statehouse Atrium. OBF Chair Chuck Smith showed ODPS Director O’Connor the Pennsylvania version of “Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally, and Safely” (Rodale Press) written by John Allen. Smith asked O’Connor if ODPS would be willing to work with OBF on updating “Street Smarts” to the Ohio law. O’Connor agreed, and 125,000 copies of “Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts” were printed by ODPS in 2002.
2002 – 125,000 copies of Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts were printed because of OBF’s efforts in updating other “Street Smarts” versions to Ohio law.
2004 – OBF testified before the House and Senate Transportation Committees support its House Bill 406 to create a “Share the Road” license plate to support safety on Ohio roads. Governor Taft signed the bill into law in December 2004. OBF designed the plate graphics, including the first internet URL (ohiobike.org) on an Ohio license plate.
2005 – OBF testified before the House and Senate Transportation Committees supporting its House Bill 389. "The Better Bicycling Ohio Bill.”
2006 – Governor Taft signed the OBF’s “Better Ohio Bicycling Bill” (HB 389) into law. It required that all local jurisdictions follow Ohio law regarding bicycling and made the Ohio Revised Code closer to the Uniform Vehicle Code. The successful HB 389 and HB 406 were both sponsored by Representative Arlene Setzer of Vandalia.
2014-2017 – OBF hosts “Ohio Bicycling Summit” in the spring of each year in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.
The Ohio Bicycling Summits include presentations by state representatives, state senators, and others concerning legislation before the Ohio General Assembly. Organizations show what they do for Ohio bicycling with table displays. OBF trains the organization members and others in lobbying. Trained “lobbyists” are encouraged to visit their state representatives to support pro-bicycling legislation.
2015 – OBF successfully testified before the House Transportation Committee supporting House Bill 154, sponsored by Representatives Mike Henne of Vandalia and Mike Sheehy of Toledo.
2016 – On December 6, OBF successfully testified before the Senate Transportation Committee supporting House Bill 154. On December 8, the Ohio Senate passed HB 154. Governor John Kasich signed HB 154 into law on December 21.
2017 – OBF’s House Bill 154 becomes law on March 21. This new law has two benefits for Ohio bicyclists:
1. Required that Ohio motorists leave at least three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists.
2. Permitted bicyclists to proceed at an intersection after stopping and yielding right-of-way when not detected by the device meant to move the signal from red to green.
2017 – OBF received the Bicycle Advocacy Organization Award for 2017 from Bike Miami Valley.