Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 26th, 2007 at 3:27 pm
On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee in Salem will hold a public hearing on Bill 299 (full text here).
The BTA calls this their “omnibus” bill because it actually contains several parts:
- Requires a 3-foot minimum passing distance when overtaking a bicycle.
Clarifies that bicycles must slow to a “walking” speed (3mph) when entering a crosswalk in presence of a motor vehicle (but can speed up once in the crosswalk).*
- Adds language to existing “unsafe operation of bicycle in a sidewalk” statute (ORS 814.410). The BTA wants to change the definition of speed from “ordinary walk” to “what is reasonable under existing conditions.”**
- Allows motor vehicles to cross over the centerline to pass bicycles safely on narrow roads.
- Allows cars to operate in a bike lane under specific circumstances, such as when “avoiding an obstacle” and/or when passing a car on the right when that car is signaling a left turn.
(*This means when
someone a motor vehicle hits a kid in a driveway, the bicyclist doesn’t get ticketed for riding faster than walking speed, which is abnormally slow for a bicycle.)
According to BTA policy man Scott Bricker, the bill has gotten a hearing (a crucial step in the process) because it is a high-priority for Judiciary Committee chair Senator Ginny Burdick, a known pro-bike legislator (who’s also nominated for an Alice Award).
Scott says on Monday there will be a public testimony period, then the bill will be discussed by legislators. Even if this bill passes through this committee (which is very likely), it still must get past the House and the Senate. Scott adds that there’s still work to be done,
“This is just the first step, but it’s nice to be able to tick it off the list.”
If you can’t make it to Salem (Monday 1/29 at 1:30 in room 343), you can always watch the preceedings online.
[*Update: **If this is confusing, refer to the full text of the bill (PDF). Also, please understand this bill is a work in progress and the BTA is continuing to amend the language.]