Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 19th, 2007 at 10:04 am
The BTA’s “Vulnerable Roadway Users” bill (HB 3314 )will get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Monday (4/23).
I spoke with Scott Bricker about the bill this morning before he left for another day working the halls of Salem.
According to Bricker, the bill targets vehicle operators that currently only have to pay a nominal fine if they hit and/or kill a vulnerable roadway user (which includes bicyclists, peds, and others) while driving carelessly,
“What we’re proposing is a severely aggravated penalty ($12,000 fine and a one-year license suspension) that would hopefully encourage people to opt for the community service option.”
That option would include a commitment of 4 hours a week of community service for an entire year and a physical.
Another interesting part of this bill is a slight change since it was first conceived. The bill now applies to all vehicle operators, including bicyclists. Bricker said that amendment came out of discussions with the Police Bureau,
“The reality is that 99 out of 100 of these would probably be motorists, but I’m all for including bicyclists in this.”
In these days of overcrowded jails, Bricker says a bill that seeks to lock-up non-criminals would have a tough time in Salem,
“We’ve heard from the legislature this session that they don’t want to put people in jail that don’t have criminal intent. I studied criminal justice and I think there are ways to create safer, just communities without throwing people in jail.”
Bricker realizes that this bill is a “significant change in the system” and because it, “addresses something that everyone does (drives carelessly)” will take some work to move forward.
And the clock is ticking. All bills must be out of their originating committees by the end of the month. Stay tuned for developments and a report from Monday’s hearing.
- View the BTA’s action alert on this bill.
- Contact Scott Bricker, BTA Policy Director, at email@example.com with questions.