February 5, 2007
National Bike Summit
As we finalize the speakers, legislative asks, and agenda for the 2007 National Bike Summit, bicyclists around the country are working with their state legislators to pass bills that will help cyclists—or prevent bills from passing that will harm cyclists. Here is a round up of current state legislation that affects cyclists. For more information on federal bills, and to sign up for the early bird price, register today to attend the National Bike Summit.
In Arizona, bicyclists are being asked to contact their legislators now, to urge their support for a bill which would provide better protection for bicyclists. Its reference title is “Seriously Injuring or killing bicyclists; vehicle accidents; penalties,” and it is meant to amend SECTION 28-672. This bill provides for more stringent penalties for those who kill or seriously injure bicyclists. These more stringent penalties will add more deterrents to drivers who may drive carelessly or in some other manner that threatens bicyclists. If you don't know, or are not sure who your legislators are (one Senator and two Representatives per legislative district), you can find your legislators here.
AB 60, Safe Passing Distance Bill
Originally introduced in 2006 as AB 1941 (Nava) Bicycle Safety (3-feet passing rule), the bill did not pass out of committee. Current law requires a vehicle to pass bicycles to the left at a "safe distance." AB 60 would change this requirement so that vehicles must pass bicycles at a minimum distance of three feet.
Proposition 42, Transportation Funds
CBC is working with the California Alliance for Transportation Choices, the California Transit Association, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and others to insure inclusion of "routine accommodation" language in any constitutional amendment to Proposition 42. They are pushing for language that mandates full consideration of bicycle, pedestrian, and disabled persons accessibility in all newly funded transportation projects such as that in Caltrans Deputy Directive 64 statewide transportation policy.
SB 152 would earmark two percent of federally eligible moneys from the state highway fund for bikeways.
Right Turn Hand Signal
At present, state law requires cyclists to signal a right turn with the left arm and hand. So far, 23 states have changed their statutes to also permit cyclists to make a right turn signal with the right hand. This method is more easily understood, and already suggested as an unofficial option. The amended language seems to be standard among states that have changed. (625 ILCS 5/11-806) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-806)
Ramsey County (which includes St. Paul) is making plans to add 44 miles of multi-use trails to link with our growing light rail transit lines. Using $33 million in federal funds the County "would create new asphalt paths for biking, walking and running to complement and connect the existing 56 miles of (Ramsey) county trails." Minnesota Counties are hoping that Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), the new chairman of the House's Transportation Committee, might be able to help these projects along. (cf. Minneapolis StarTribune, Monday, January 22, 2007)
1. Vulnerable Users of Public Right of Way. In order to protect the rights of cyclists and other non-automotive users, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance is seeking to create a new crime – injuring or killing “vulnerable roadway users.” Convicted drivers would receive up to a year in jail, fines, and license suspensions. In advance, violators would be able to choose a diversion program that includes required license suspensions, community service, traffic safety education, and restitution. BTA views this concept as the beginning of a major effort to educate the general public, elected officials, judges and law enforcement on protecting cyclists and bicycling as a mainstream activity of Oregonians.
2. Revisions to Existing Law to Improve Cycling Safety and Viability as Transportation.
This concept would be to create a minimum safe passing distance of 3’, referred to as the “three foot” rule and adopted by other states and Grants Pass, Oregon. Motorists would also be allowed to cross the double yellow to pass a cyclist. A final provision would clarify bicycling on the sidewalk
3. Roll and Go at Stop Signs
A bill to permit cyclists to roll and go at stop signs may be introduced in 2007. In 2003 HB 2768 passed the House, it would have permitted cyclists to proceed “without stopping if the person slows the bicycle to a safe speed” at stop signs.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance supports this concept and would review a proposed law change.
A special subcommittee has been formed by the House Transportation Committee to review all of the pending red light camera bills that have been introduced in the House this session.
Would you like to remind state legislators that bicycles deserve room on the road? The Bicycle Alliance of Washington is partnering with other environmental transportation choices-related organizations to host “Transportation Lobby Day” in Olympia on Feb. 6.
There are a variety of carpool/shared ride options (including biking to Olympia), as well as possible overnight homestays. Visit www.bicyclealliance.org to learn more about Transportation Lobby Day, or call 360-658-2462.
National Bike Month
Communities around the country are preparing for National Bike Month this May. Tell the League how your community is going to celebrate cycling in May … email email@example.com with “Bike Month Event” as the subject and we’ll get it posted immediately.