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Legislative update and my day in Salem

Posted by on January 12th, 2007 at 11:07 am

There seems to be a lot of interest in the community about the bike-related legislation going on in Salem this year. I’ve been doing my best to stay in touch with all of it and I will write about developments as they come in. Here’s what I know so far.

Alice Awards party

BTA Policy Director Scott Bricker is
the best-dressed advocate in town.

The BTA
You can read what the BTA is working on and see some discussion about it on their blog. They also have a very helpful page with links and articles about how statewide legislation works. I’ve also heard they will be creating a new page on their site to monitor all the progress and developments of this year’s session.

I’ve been in touch with BTA Policy guy Scott Bricker who’s been working hard in Salem. This coming Wednesday I’ll join him for a full day of meetings and get a crash course on lobbying from a real pro. I’m really looking forward to the trip!

One of our meetings will be with Republican Senator Jason Atkinson, who has shown interest in the fixed-gear bicycle issue (see below).

Stay tuned for live reports and photos from the Capitol (hopefully they have wi-fi)!

Police Bureau’s bike lane law proposal
My report on this proposal and the feedback from the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) garnered a lot of mostly negative feedback and a general lack of consensus. Because of that, I heard at the PBAC meeting a few nights ago that the Police Bureau has decided to not bring the proposal to Salem this session. I’ll let you know if it comes up again.

“Idaho Style” rolling stop sign/red-light law
There is a grassroots, citizen-led effort to re-work stop sign (and possibly red light) laws to more sensibly consider safe and efficient bicycle travel similar to Idaho’s law. I met with the man behind the effort — local cyclist Bjorn Warloe — and learned he has received some interest from a possible sponsor for the bill, but so far nothing official. My feeling is that this would be very tricky issue both politically and with the public so there’s a lot of work ahead.

I’ve got an email interview pending with Bjorn to tell you more about his ideas. Stay tuned for further info.

Fixed gear bikes and brakes
Easily the most well-known issue is the controversy surrounding the legality of fixed-gear bicycles. My understanding (I’ll have the precise details soon) is that lawyer Mark Ginsberg and Senator Atkinson plan to add language to the existing law (ORS 815.280(2)(a)) to add that fixed-gear bicycles should be included in the definition of “bicycle.” That way, the law comes down to the performance test (skidding on dry, level pavement), rather than the type of bicycle being ridden.

I’ll share more details about all of these issues once it becomes available.

If you want to get involved with any of these efforts, sign up for the BTA Digest email (at top of their website), email your State reps (find contact info here) and stay tuned to this blog and to the BTA website for action alerts and further info.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Jeff
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Jeff

I very interested in this aspect of BTA’s work. It’s the one part of Bicycle advocacy & the BTA, that I’m unfamiliar with & really want to understand better. Thanks Jonathan for covering “ALL” the bases.

john bloss
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john bloss

Jonathan,

Thanks for this update and covering BTA activties in general, and particularly the legislative initiatives this year. I hope you and Scott had a productive day in Salem this week.

Also, I wanted to mention that I will be attending the National Bike Summit this year and that should be an interesting/fun experience. I look forward to being in DC with both Scott, you and the other “usual suspects” from Portland cycling scene.

John Bloss

john bloss
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john bloss

PS I heard this evening that Capitol building does have wi-fi installed. I just reread earlier post and realized you are going to Salem next week. Happy trails and look forward to seeing how it goes.

JB