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2013 Legislative Agenda

Bike Maryland supports House Bill 445, House Bill 753, opposes House Bill 1184 and Senate Bill 847 and takes no position on House Bill 339

House Bill 445 – Strengthening of the 3 Foot Law

Bike Maryland is currently working with Delegate Cardin’s office to gain support for a stronger safe passing legislation House Bill 445 strengthens the 3 foot law by clarifying that the driver of a vehicle may not overtake a bicyclist that is going in the same direction unless a safe passing distance of at least three feet can be maintained while the bicyclist is being overtaken. It is important to clarify the law so that drivers know that they should only pass a cyclist when they can allow three feet of clearance and that they should wait to pass a cyclist until it is safe to do so, for the protection of both the driver and the cyclist.

House Bill 445 Timeline:

  • 3/29/13: Received an unfavorable vote by the Environmental Matters Committee

Senate Bill 847 and House Bill 1184 – The Manslaughter by Criminal Negligence Bill

Bike Maryland opposes legislation that deconstructs the Manslaughter – Criminal Negligence Bill we worked so diligently to pass in 2011 and supports any legislation that further supports the existing law. Bike Maryland will support any legislation that further closes any loophole in the law that safeguards bikers, pedestrians, vulnerable users and all who use roads and waterways.

Senate Bill 847 and House Bill 1184 Timeline:

  • 3/29/13: Received an unfavorable vote by both the House Judiciary and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committees

House Bill 753 – Distracted Driving Legislation

The use of a hand-held mobile phone is dangerous to everyone, especially vulnerable users such as bicyclists using the roads. House Bill 753 makes using a hand-held mobile phone a primary offense, which allows law officers to stop and cite offenders for that reason alone. Sponsors: Delegate Malone and Delegate Kach and Senator Robey et al.

House Bill 753 Timeline:

  • 3/29/13: A get-tough bill that upgrades enforcement of the state’s existing handheld cell phone law to primary status has cleared the House and Senate. The measure also would make significant increases in fines for distracted driving violations. First offenses will bring a $75 fine. A second offense could bring a ticket of up to $125, and a third to $175. The current fine for violations range from $40 to $100. The plan to assign points was removed by amendments. The removal of the secondary enforcement provision of the handheld cell phone law means police can stop and cite violators for that reason alone.

House Bill 339 – Mandatory Helmet Bill

Bike Maryland encourages bicyclists to wear a helmet and understands the concern that legislators have expressed regarding head injuries. House Bill 339 has been introduced which
proposes to mandate use of helmets by all cyclists. However, because mandating helmet use may have negative effects on ridership Bike Maryland has not endorsed this bill and has expressed its concerns about the bill directly to the bill sponsors.

House Bill 339 Timeline:

  • 3/29/13: The mandatory helmet bill did not make it out of the Environmental Matters Committee. That is to say that the Mandatory Helmet Bill did not transfer over so it is a dead bill.

House Bill 1515 – The Transportation Infrastructure Fund Bill

Bike Maryland supports a vibrant transportation fund, and we recognize that the current economic downturn has hit the transportation trust fund hard. However, we believe that transportation revenues should be increased only if every new dollar is invested more wisely. This includes investing in bicycle and pedestrian access. It is important to allocate funds necessary to implement the State’s existing Complete Street Policy: when road and highway projects are designed to incorporate cycling infrastructure from the start, the cost is much lower than the cost of adding bike lanes and access after a project is completed. Funding is needed to develop, enhance and connect bicycling lanes and trails, improve safety signage, install more bike racks and bike friendly facilities, support bicycle awareness campaigns and to implement plans for bicycling infrastructure already included in the State’s Master Plan. Before we ask Marylanders to pay more for transportation we must assure that that we are investing wisely and not continuing the same funding strategies that created the congested, high cost transportation system we have today. The goal is to require any new gas tax revenue to go towards fixing Maryland’s existing infrastructure and creating transportation choices; target local revenues on fixing and maintaining existing infrastructure; and ensure that new road construction serves existing communities. We thank 1000 Friends of Maryland for leading this bike-friendly effort!

House Bill 1515 Timeline:

  • 3/29/13: The Transportation Infrastructure Fund bill passed both the House and the Senate. The result should be increased funding for alternative modes of transportation including bicycling and walking. A win for transit – thank you! Governor O’Malley’s Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 has passed the House and the Senate and is now on to the Governor for signing into law. This is a huge boost for transit. Thank you to all of you who wrote your legislators and the Governor to tell them we needed more transportation funding. Your efforts made the difference.

Other items to support:

  • Utility Easement Access: existing utility easements can be used to provide off-road trails that can be used by pedestrians and cyclists for recreation and commuting. Senator Frosh supporting
  • Driver competency through the life cycle – require cognitive license renewal testing.
  • 24 hour trail access for bicyclists for commuting purposes and more Allowance of bicycles on MARC trains

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