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O’Donnell’s widow in Salem for Vulnerable User bill passage

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[Updated 6/19/07, 7:47am]

BTA lobbyist Scott Bricker just gave me a report from Salem. The Vulnerable Roadway User bill (H.B. 3314) got it’s vote on the Senate floor this morning and it passed easily by a margin 25-4.

Mary O’Donnell, wife of the late Timothy O’Donnell who was killed earlier this month while riding his bike in Cornelius, was in the Senate Chambers during the vote. According to Bricker, Senator Ryan Deckert (D-Beaverton) gave a speech in support of the bill and recognized O’Donnell sitting in the gallery. He pointed her out and the entire Senate acknowledged her presence.

Another lawmaker who has become a champion of this bill is Senate Republican minority leader, Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). Bricker says Ferrioli was hit by a car while walking across a street in Salem earlier in the session, and as a result, has expressed a desire to increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The final remaining step for the bill is to return to the House for a concurrence vote where lawmakers will take one final look at amendments and legalese before sending the bill to the Governor’s desk. Bricker said he doesn’t foresee any snags from here on out.

H.B. 3314 has benefited from momentum in the media recently due in part because of the tragic death of Timothy O’Donnell. The Oregonian and the Eugene Register-Guard (registration req’d) newspapers have weighed in with editorials in support of the bill, and even right-wing radio talk show host Lars Larson has lined up behind it.

If passed into law, the bill would give the courts an additional sentencing option for careless vehicle operators that kill or serious injure a “vulnerable roadway user”.

For more coverage of this bill and other bike legislation, browse my archives.

Here are the four Senators who voted against this bill: