2009 legislative session

UPDATED State rep wants traffic fines based on vehicle weight

Avatar by on February 20th, 2009 at 11:56 am

State Rep. Jules Bailey

Newly elected Oregon State Representative from Southeast Portland, Jules Bailey, has introduced a bill into the legislature that would create a new vehicle weight class for non-motorized vehicles weighing under 50 pounds — such as bicycles (we think that weight might be too low with some of today’s new cargo bikes, but this is a matter that can likely change as the bill moves forward).

If the bill passes, it would create the new weight class and instruct state and local law enforcement agencies to index their traffic violation fines to match the weight class of the offending vehicle.

I spoke with Representative Bailey last week, and he explained his reasoning behind the bill. “It’s your basic physics equation,” he said. “Force equals mass times velocity, squared.” [Read more…]

It’s official; Governor will look to expand Oregon Bike Bill [Updated]

Avatar by on December 4th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

When it becomes a bill in front of state lawmakers in January, Governor Kulongoski’s Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009 will include language to expand the Oregon bike bill (ORS 366.514) and put into law a requirement for the Oregon Department of Transportation to spend at least 1.5 percent of its funding for highway projects on bike and pedestrian improvements — that’s a .5 percent increase from the existing law.

The expansion of the Bike Bill was not in the Governor’s original version of the plan, Governor’s plan was first introduced to lawmakers on November 10th.

[Update, 12/5: The Governor’s office has informed us that the above paragraph is not accurate. While the increase is not mentioned in the summary of the bill their office released it was included in the bill drafting instructions that were provided to legislators and the increase to the Bike Bill was discussed in the Legislative Hearing.]

The confirmation of this comes in a directive from the Governor’s office to legislative counsel (the body in Salem that drafts bills) that was obtained by BikePortland reporter Libby Tucker during her research for her story, Hey Governor, what about bikes?[Read more…]

Hey Governor, what about bikes? [Updated]

Avatar by on December 3rd, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Libby Tucker

[Editor’s note: This is the first article in our new section, BikePortland.org: In-Depth.

The main contributor to this section will be Libby Tucker. Ms. Tucker is a freelance reporter whose articles have been published in a myriad of outlets including the Associated Press, MSNBC.com, The Oregonian, and others. She was most recently a staff writer for the Daily Journal of Commerce where she covered transportation, construction and energy. She is also the author of the blog, Naked Energy.

In this article, Ms. Tucker takes a closer look at how bikes figure into Governor Kulongoski’s 2009 plans.]

[Read more…]

[Updated] Safety advocates will try (again) for new hand signal law in 2009

Avatar by on December 2nd, 2008 at 2:05 pm

An elderly couple crosses NW
Lovejoy at 9th.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) and the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition are teaming up on a new bill that will seek to improve public safety by rewriting and expanding on Oregon’s crosswalk laws.

The new law proposal will amend ORS 811.028 (Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian) to create a new violation for motor vehicle operators that fail to stop for a pedestrian (or someone on a bicycle) that extends their hand toward oncoming traffic with intent to cross.

The impetus for the change is this: Currently, to legally cross a crosswalk in Oregon, pedestrians must step out into traffic before approaching traffic is required to stop. This, advocates feel, is dangerous for pedestrians, confusing for drivers, and unclear for law enforcement professionals.[Read more…]

Kulongoski proposes gas tax increase, outlines ’09 transportation bill

Avatar by on November 10th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Governor Ted Kulongoski held a hearing in front of lawmakers this morning in Salem to announce his Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009.

In an effort to raise money to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements and create jobs, Kulongoski proposed a 2-cent increase to the gas tax and a host of motor vehicle-related fees. The BTA’s Karl Rohde, who attended the hearing, says the governor is also considering a bicycle excise tax.

In his statement this morning, Kulongoski invoked Oregon’s $2.5 billion transportation bill that passed the Legislature in the “tough times” of 2003. Kulongoski reminded his colleagues that back then, even while the state slashed $2 billion out of the budget, schools closed early, and Oregon’s unemployment rate skyrocketed, they still managed to pass the, “largest investment in roads and bridges in Oregon since the building of our share of the Interstate Highway System.”[Read more…]

BTA’s 2009 legislative plans take shape

Avatar by on October 1st, 2008 at 3:18 pm

As bike ridership spikes in cities across the state, Oregon’s upcoming legislative session is sure to be full of bike-related action. Figuring prominently in that mix will be the lobbying efforts of the Portland-based Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA).

Leading the charge for the BTA will be their new Government Affairs (a.k.a. lobbyist) man Karl Rohde. Today I learned more about what Rohde and the BTA might be focusing on in January when Oregon’s 75th Legislative Assembly convenes in Salem.[Read more…]