Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 12th, 2007 at 12:20 am
UPDATE (4/12, 9:50am): According to a commenter, this bill did not pass committee yesterday. It was only considered and was not voted on yet. I picked up the story from an OPB story that ran with the headline, “House Committee Approves Cyclist Memorial Signs Bill.” I regret the error and will keep you posted on developments (*see latest update below).
The bill comes after the tragic death of Eric Kautzky, who was killed by a motorized vehicle in 2005. Eric’s wife Lorna Kautzky testified before the committee. OPB has this quote,
“If people can see that perhaps unfortunately one of ours lost their life, they’ll pay closer attention to what’s happening on the road.”
Surprisingly, not all cyclists think memorial signs like these are a good idea. Some think they make cycling seem too dangerous and that they do more harm than good. Here are excerpts from two comments left on my coverage of this bill last week:
“Money and legislative energy would be better spent on appropriately punishing negligent drivers involved in cycle related accidents…I think highly publicized and tough punishment of dangerous drivers will leave a greater and more long lasting impression than a road sign.”
“I strongly believe that this law would help whip up the FALSE perception that cycling is more dangerous than driving.”
If this bill becomes law, it would allow families to request (at their own expense) that ODOT installs a memorial sign at the location of the crash.
The proposal also says this will only apply to “accidents on a state highway” and when the “driver is convicted of an offense related to the accident.”
UPDATE: This bill has now passed committee and is headed to Ways and Means. It passed unanimously on Friday 4/27.