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Oregon House Rep gives up on mandatory reflective clothing bill


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Rep. John Davis.

Oregon House Representative John Davis has changed his mind about how best to improve the safety of bicycling.

Davis made headlines around the state last month when he introduced H.B. 3255, a bill that would require all Oregonians who ride a bicycle at night to wear refelctive clothing. Davis’ clothing mandate garnered considerable media attention and resulted in an “action alert” from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance who urged their members to help stop the bill.

A hearing for the bill was scheduled for March 30th in Salem.

Now he says he’s changing course and the bill will no longer include any language about reflective clothing.

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Here’s a message from Davis’ legislative director that a commenter shared a earlier today (emphases mine):

Thank you for taking the time to contact Representative Davis and for sharing your views regarding HB3255 relating to bicycles. Rep. Davis appreciates hearing about issues that matter to you and you can be confident that he reads each email personally.

HB3255 bill will not be moving forward in its original form, and will have nothing to do with reflective clothing. The bill will be amended to fully delete its original language, and only require a red light to be visible from the rear of the bicycle at night. This is an amendment to the existing law for bicycle equipment requirements, ORS 815.280 (http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.280). Current law already requires a rear reflector at night.

Attached are the amendments that will be considered at Monday’s hearing. Again, the original bill and its requirements will not be moving forward and will not be considered.

Again, thank you for reaching out to our office.

When we spoke to Rep. Davis on the phone last month he said he had support for the mandatory clothing idea from “a number of cyclists and a number of my constituents.” He saw the idea as nothing more than a fair balance of responsibility of road users — whether they are on a bike or in a car. “We all use the road and we all need to be using it safely together,” he said.

Expanding the lighting requirement on bikes is a great idea. Current Oregon law only requires a front light and a rear reflector that can be seen from 600 feet away. Mandating a rear light would improve visibility and it’s already the best practice for anyone who takes cycling seriously.

We’ve reached out to Davis’ office to see the amendments for ourselves and ask why they dropped the reflective clothing idea. We’ll update this story when we hear back.

UPDATE: Here’s the amended bill (PDF) with the new language about the rear light requirement.

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