Bike legislation update

The 2007 legislative session in Salem has been a busy one for bike bills. Here’s a rundown of where things stand on the ones I’ve been following.

House Bill 3314 – Vulnerable Users of a Public Right of Way
This bill (text), which seeks to create a new offense for inflicting serious injury or death to a “vulnerable user of public way”, passed the House on Friday afternoon by a vote of 45-9.

Read about all the drama over on the BTA blog. This is a huge step forward for this bill and given that it had bi-partisan support (even after some pessimism and tough questions) in the House, it would seem to have a great chance of making it through the Senate.

Senate Bill 729 – Fixed Gear Bill
This bill (text), which clarifies that fixed-gear bicycles don’t need an additional brake if they meet a performance standard, passed the Senate (22-6) last month and is now in the House. It has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee (which usually understands and respects bike issues) and will receive a public hearing and work session this Wednesday (5/16).

Backers of this bill have done a good job in educating legislators that this is simply a matter of housekeeping and I expect it will pass the committee and the House vote and end up being signed into law.

Senate Bill 926 – Build Three New Velodromes in Oregon
This bill (text), which would direct state lottery funds to build three new velodromes in Oregon, remains stuck on the desk of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It passed its first committee hearing, but insiders say the chances of the state using $3.5 million to fund velodromes is slim.

Concerns stem from the bill’s politically sensitive and sacred cow funding source (Measure 66) and a reluctance to fund (what is considered) bicycle recreation over salmon habitat and state parks land acquisition and conservation. While this bill may not move forward this session, it has been a very important step that will end up forcing Oregon State Parks to re-examine how they prioritize the funding of bicycle projects in the future.

I was closely involved with this bill from its inception and I feel that no matter what happens this session, it has been an amazing education for everyone involved. This bill has laid important groundwork and has educated lawmakers about the impact of bicycle recreation on communities across Oregon.

House Bill 3020 – Roadside Memorial Signs, “Eric’s Law”
This bill (text), which directs ODOT to erect and maintain a roadside memorial sign for a pedestrian or bicyclist killed in motor vehicle accident (by request) of immediate family member, is on the desk of the House Ways and Means Committee. It passed out of the Transportation Committee but now it awaits the green light from Ways and Means before it can be voted on by the House.

Named “Eric’s Law” after the late cyclist Eric Kautzky, this bill has strong emotional momentum. The Eric Kautzky Memorial Track Race happened on Saturday and this week’s Ride of Silence will also honor Eric’s death.

House Bill 2297 – Reduce Speed on Residential Streets
This bill (text), which would reduce vehicle speeds to 15mph on all “narrow” roadways (defined as “not of sufficient width to allow one lane of traffic in each direction”), passed out of House and is moving along in the Senate. On Thursday (5/10) it passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee and is headed for a full vote on the Senate floor.

Read my report on this bill (from back in February) for more info and perspectives.


As you can see, bicycles have had a big impact in the halls of Salem this session. For more legislative updates, stay tuned here and to the BTA Blog. You can also delve into my article archives for extensive coverage of the 2007 legislative session.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Tomas Quinones
17 years ago

Thanks so much for the coverage Jonathan.

I hope the community raises their voices in their support/opposition to these bills so that WE the people are the ones influencing the decisions that affect our life-style and not made by someone who has no idea what we go through.

Thanks again!

jeff
jeff
17 years ago

I wish we could have seen a ‘stop as yeild’ law as well. That said, the Vulnerable Users law and the Residential Streets law are great (I can’t wait to make calls for stings on my residential street where cars routinely go over 30mph)

Thanks to all who wrote letters in support of these bills, and especially to you Jonathan!

Dabby
Dabby
17 years ago

Well, perhaps a “Stop as Yield Law will go through in future years, if worded and presented properly…..

As in alongs the lines of protecting the Safety of cyclists, as compared to providing a convenience for cyclists..

Greg Raisman
Greg Raisman
17 years ago

The narrow roadway bill, in it’s current form, would affect roads that are 18′ wide or narrower, for at least one block. The language Jonathan used above was in the original bill and was too ambiguous to work. Most residential streets are 28′-32′ feet wide and will not be effected by the bill.

An example of how the original language did not work would be on a road where people park sometimes and not others. For parts of the day vehicles could pass in opposite direction. Other parts of the day vehicles could not. When would the new law be in effect? And how would people know when it was in effect?

If the community wants to push to change residential speed zones, it’s likely too late this legislative session as it would be a very significant change to the law. It also would be a much bigger deal politically and would garner a lot more public dialogue than the relatively minor change (yet very important for the very narrow roads it will impact) that will result from the narrow roadway bill currently being considerred by the legislature.

Thanks.
Greg Raisman
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
Portland Office of Transportation
(503) 823-1052

Matt Picio
17 years ago

Thanks, Jonathan!

Regarding Senate Bill 926, what’s frustrating is that this does not affect Salmon Habitat restoration AT ALL. The Measure 66 text states that of the miniscule portion of lottery profits allocated to these items, 50% shall go to Salmon Restoration and 50% shall go to parks / recreation.

What’s also frustrating is that the measure text says state parks AND recreation, not OR recreation. If they don’t spend part of that 50% on something other than state parks when something has been proposed, then they’re in violation of the statute.

I don’t have time to craft another email to the committee chair, so if someone else wants to run with that ball, feel free.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)

I agree with you Matt… the politics around the Measure 66 funding is very frustrating. I hope my post didn’t make it seem like the bill was dead… I know that Sen. Atkinson and Prozanski are still working the halls and trying to make this happen. hopefully they’ll make a breakthrough…

Brad
Brad
17 years ago

Building three velodromes seems like a “shoot-the-moon” proposition to begin with but, as Jonathan stated, it puts bike recreation on the funding radar. Perhaps it paves the way for a compromise that gets one velodrome built but gets funds to build single track for MTBs (a buffer for salmon streams?) or create paved linear parks for roadies (Rails-to-Trails?). Bikes, tourism, and even conservation measures then all win. That’s the sort of thing that gets votes from down state and east of the Cascades.

Paul Cone
Paul Cone
17 years ago

It sounds like they took the easy way out on the narrow roadway bill. I live on a street that is 24′ wide, and yes, you can pass if there is no car parked on one side (you have to do it that way, or else back up to the intersection), but for all intents and purposes, it only allows for one vehicle (i.e. car) at a time to pass — even a car and a bike going opposite directions is too tight to be safe and comfortable for most people. No matter what time of day it is or whether there are cars parked alongside or not, there is an obvious distinction between the parking lane and the driving lane. I think that 25 mph is too fast for narrow streets such as this and I am disappointed that this bill won’t change things.

Garlynn - http://undergroundscience.blogspot.com

I wrote to Rep. Nolan about the velodrome bill, and this is the response that I received:

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding SB 926. This bill would require that $3.5 million from the State Parks and Natural Resources budget be allocated to the construction of three velodromes.

As co-chair of Ways and Means, my job is to balance the state budget with very limited resources. The goal of the sub-committees will be to determine how to prioritize those limited funds. I will pass your concerns on to the rest of the members of the Ways and Means sub-committee on Natural Resources. I encourage you to track the progress of this bill at the link below.

http://www.leg.state.or.us/cgi-bin/searchMeas.pl

Sincerely,

Mary Nolan

State Representative

I don’t quite understand her response. She seems to be passing the buck? The link she gave me to track the bill was dead.

In any case, I thought I’d share. Anybody else get a different response?

cheers,
~Garlynn