Eugene-area Senator Floyd Prozanski will play a big role in whether or not a major effort to boost bicycle spending in Oregon will get the green light.
When Oregon’s landmark “Bike Bill” passed in 1971, America was in the throes of a major bike boom. 50 years later a group of Portland bike advocates think our current cycling resurgence is the right time to update it
The nonprofit Street Trust has announced plans to seek an amendment to ORS 366.514. This law states “reasonable amounts” of the State Highway Fund must be spent by the Oregon Department of Transportation, “to provide footpaths and bicycle trails… wherever a highway, road or street is being constructed, reconstructed or relocated.” That “reasonable amount” is further defined as a minimum of 1% of the Highway Fund each fiscal year.
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.
It’s not the Idaho Stop, but a law that would allow bicycle users to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yields (when safe, of course) would be a major step forward for bicycle users in Oregon. And it just moved one major step closer to passage as the 2019 session rolls into its final few weeks.
Lane County Senator Floyd Prozanski — who introduced a bill inspired by Idaho’s law in 2003 — was the sole person to testify at the committee hearing yesterday. “What Idaho has is much broader than what’s been introduced here, he explained to the committee. “It [Idaho’s law] also allows bicycle riders to do the same [yield] at red lights. I believe that’s too far to go at this stage and that’s why we should follow what would be more the Delaware model.”
Delaware passed their law, which they call the “Delaware yield”, in 2017.
According to Prozanski, the main benefit of this law is that it would allow people on bicycles to maintain momentum at intersections and therefore be less likely to suffer from a collision or close-call. When bicycle riders come to a complete stop, the act of starting up again can make them vulnerable to being hit by other road users who can increase speed more quickly and easily.
We knew it wouldn’t be easy.
Senate Bill 998 — affectionately known as the Idaho Stop bill because it would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs (and flashing red signals) as yields — is floundering.
Even though it sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 9th, the bill has stalled out and is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. Asked for a status update on the bill, its chief sponsor, Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) said, “A preliminary assessment shows that I do not have the necessary votes with in the caucus to move it to the floor.”
10 years after it was last debated in the Oregon Legislature, a concept known as “Idaho Stop” has once again found its way into a bill. And it passed its first committee vote yesterday, just hours before a key legislative deadline.
Senate Bill 998 wasn’t on anyone’s radar before last week. Up until then it was just a vague placeholder bill without any detailed language and with no amendments. That changed when Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) drafted an amendment and brought it to the Senate Judiciary Committee during a public hearing for the bill on Monday.
The bill would allow a bicycle user to treat intersections with stop signs or red flashing signals as yields. In other words, as a bicycle user, you’d be able to roll through these intersections without stopping — but only when/if it was safe to do so.
The Oregonian is reporting that Oregon state senator Floyd Prozanski is backing off his idea to introduce a law would have made helmets mandatory for adults.
The O’s Michelle Cole says Prozanski felt pressure to pull back due to the negative response he received. She wrote, “Prozanski also got a pounding this week from bloggers…”. Prozanski told Cole that, “Based on the information and reports I’ve gotten in the last day, I’m probably leaning away from a mandatory helmet law.”
[Updated 6/15/07, 1:15pm]
A bill that seemed to come out of nowhere (I didn’t know about it until I read the Statesman Journal this morning) and that started out having nothing to do with bicycle safety, has passed the House, and is set to become Oregon’s first safe passing legislation that specifically protects bicyclists.
Senate Bill 108, will amend the Oregon Revised Statute that deals with following too closely (ORS 811.485) to include several stipulations about how a motor vehicle is required to pass a bicyclist. The bill avoids the three-foot passing distance that has been adopted by other states and instead defines a ‘safe distance’ as,