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Legislative Session – update 1

By - February 11, 2018

 

We are now a little over 1/3 of the way through the legislative session and wanted to start giving regular updates of the work we have been doing. Before I get started though, one last chance to register for the Symposium tomorrow. Of course, you should also feel free to come and register (for free) on Tuesday.

Ok, on to the legislative update.   If you need catching up on the introduction of our 2018 agenda, please read this post.

Safe Passing

This bill looks to essentially eliminate the narrow road exception to the 3-foot law. Specifically, it makes legal the safe practice of crossing a double yellow when passing a cyclist. Bike Maryland testified on your behalf for both hearings on this proposal.

SB 0268

Senator Lee

Co-Sponsor: Madaleno, Robinson, Salling

Assigned to Judicial Proceedings

Awaiting committee vote

HB 0222

Delegate Cassilly

Assigned to Environment & Transportation

Awaiting Committee Vote

At Senate hearing, the State Police submitted written testimony objecting to this bill. Specifically, they objected to the clause that allows for the motorist to cross the double yellow line when they deem it safe. This specific language has been problematic in other situations in court because if the motorist causes an accident the courts have ruled that they didn’t break the law because the law says that they are the sole arbiters of whether it was safe.

In response to this, the sponsors submitted an amendment that exchanges this language for the language used in the law for right turn on red, requiring the motorist to yield before taking the action. At the hearing in the House the state police submitted no further objections and while this does guarantee they no longer object, we are optimistic that they will lift their objections.

Complete Streets

As explained by Smart Growth America, a Complete Streets approach integrates people and place in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of our transportation networks. This helps to ensure streets are safe for people of all ages and abilities, balance the needs of different modes, and support local land uses, economies, cultures, and natural environments.

State Agency Compliance

Requiring all state transportation agencies to adopt and comply with a complete streets policy.   Bike Maryland will be testifying on your behalf at all four of the hearings below as well as coordinating the testimony of others supporting this position.

SB 0850

Senator Mathias

Assigned to Finance

Hearing March 14th at 1:00 pm

HB 0744

Delegate Lafferty

Assigned to Environment & Transportation

Hearing February 22nd at 1:00 pm

Local Complete Streets

This bill creates a program to provide assistance for local governments attempting to adopt a complete streets policy as well as assistance for design an implementation for local governments that have already adopted a complete streets policy.

SB 0407

Senator Guzzone

Co-Sponsor:   Astle, Benson, Currie, Ferguson, Madaleno, Ramirez, Young, and Zucker

Assigned to Finance

Hearing March 14th at 1:00 pm

HB 0535

Delegate Lierman

Co-Sponsor: Ali, Angel, Clippinger, Ebersole, Fraser–Hidalgo, Hettleman, Hill, C. Howard, Korman, Lafferty, J. Lewis, R. Lewis, Luedtke, Morhaim, Platt, Sanchez, and P. Young

Assigned to Environment & Transportation

Hearing February 22nd at 1:00 pm

Vulnerable Road User Law

For more general information on VRU laws.

This proposal says that if a person causes serious injury or death to a vulnerable road user as a result of careless or distracted driving a court may order the guilty party:

  • Attend a motor vehicle safety course
  • Perform up to 150 hours of community service
  • Pay a fine up to $2,000
  • Their license will be suspended at least 7 days but no more than 6 months

HB1099

Delegate Lafferty

Assigned to Environment & Transportation

Hearing March 1st at 1:00 PM

SB0868

Senator Lee

Assigned to Judicial Proceedings

Hearing February 27th at 1:00 pm

There are other pieces of legislation that are important to us but not as high of a priority and a few issues we discussed earlier which are not legislative in nature, so more on all of those in the weeks to come.   I hope to see you at the symposium tomorrow and as always, please email me joshua@bikemd.org with any thoughts or questions you might have.

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