Senate Bill 998 would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yields. Because it makes so much sense and would make our roads safer and more efficient for all Oregonians, it breezed through the Senate earlier this week with bipartisan support by a vote of 21 to 8.
With just days left in the legislative session, the bill now sits in the House Rules Committee — its final stop before a vote on the House floor. The committee gave the bill a public hearing yesterday, but there was no vote taken. A majority of the representatives seemed open to supporting the bill, but they were tentative and expressed a need to learn more and see more public support for it.
Committee member Rep. Sherrie Sprenger said, “I’m looking for data in the testimony and I only see three letters from cyclists; but i’d like some further information.” Committee Chair Rep. Paul Holvey wondered whether or not ODOT and the police were supportive.
The bill’s sponsor Senator Floyd Prozanski, was in attendance responded well to all the concerns. But since no vote was taken the clock continues to tick on this bill and we could run out of time if it doesn’t get voted on as soon as possible.
“I’d like to have a little momentum, especially going uphill. Just sayin’!”
— Rep. Paul Holvey, Chair, House Rules Committee
Thankfully there’s a possible work session for the bill scheduled for Monday (6/24) at 1:00 pm.
According to sources in Salem, the committee needs to hear more support to feel comfortable voting in favor of the bill and passing it through to the House floor.
That means if you want this bill to become law, you need to email the House Rules Committee this weekend and let them know why you support it. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are still undecided or unaware of why this law is needed, check out this 2010 study that analyzed the impacts of the law after it was implemented in Idaho. According to researcher Jason Meggs from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, “There is no evidence of any long-term increase in injury or fatality rates as a result of the adoption of the original Idaho Law in 1982.” You might also want to share this excellent animated video from Spencer Boomhower that explains why stops-as-yields is so important to bicycle users.
We have a great chance with this committee, they just need a bit more confidence to do the right thing.
At the end of yesterday’s meeting, Chair Holvey said he’s a new bicycle rider and that, “I’d like to have a little momentum, especially going uphill. Just sayin’!”
Let’s give SB 998 a bit more momentum to make Chair Holvey — and all of our — rides a bit more easy and efficient. Here’s that email again – email@example.com.
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