Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on December 19th, 2006 at 8:38 am
BTA Policy Director Scott Bricker has announced their 2007 legislative agenda and the “overarching concern” is safety. They will move three bills and hope to partner with legislators to make them into law.
Here are the three bills (with my comments following each one):
#1) Vulnerable Roadway Users Legislation
In order to protect the rights of cyclists and other non-automotive users, the BTA 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.
I like how they’ve worded this one. I think the more we start talking about the gross inequity in vulnerability between cars and bikes/peds the better. I think this idea can also lead to further discussions of why it makes sense to consider different laws for bicycles in some situations.
#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.
Since this looks like an omnibus bill, I think some folks will be disappointed to not see anything about changing the fixed-gear law or the idea of allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yields. That being said, I’m aware that separate efforts on both of those issues that are currently being worked on by other groups (more info on those efforts later).
#3) Pedestrian Hand Signal
This concept would increase walkers’ rights by creating an optional hand signal to help a person clarify their intention to cross the street. Walkers already have the right of way in the crosswalk, but this concept would allow walkers to extended their palm out to trigger the right of way.
I think it’s great to help improve pedestrian safety, but I’m surprised to see this one because it doesn’t seem to have any bicycle component.
For BTA legislative policy questions, contact Scott Bricker at scott [at] bta4bikes [dot] org.