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2014 Legislative Agenda

2014 Legislative Agenda

Bike Maryland partners with the Maryland General Assembly and other bicycling advocacy organizations to support pro-bicycle legislation on the state and local level.


House Bill 241 – Strengthening the Existing 3 Feet to Pass Law

Sponsored by Delegate Lafferty, House Bill 241 strengthens the existing 3 foot passing bill by requiring drivers to allow 3 feet to pass a bicyclist on every road and authorizing a driver of a vehicle to drive across the left–side of a roadway in a no–passing zone, if it is safe to do so, to give a bicyclist a minimum of 3 feet of passing distance.

We thank Delegate Lafferty for sponsoring this important legislation, please feel free to contact him and thank him for supporting pro-bicycle legislation. It is especially important to thank him if you are one of his constituents.

Status: Although the Environmental Matters Committee gave this bill an unfavorable vote on 2/4/14 there were some successes regarding the bill. The trucking industry moved from a 2013 unfavorable testimony to a favorable testimony regarding the bill in 2014. Additionally, the MDOT moved from a 2013 unfavorable testimony to a neutral position regarding the bill in 2014.

Senate Bill 520 and House Bill 530 – Bicycle and Motor Scooters Operation on Roadways

Excerpt from Senate Bill 520 sponsored by and Senator Robey and House Bill 530 sponsored by Delegate Malone:

Creates an exception to the prohibition against a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a roadway where the posted maximum speed limit exceeds a certain speed; authorizing a person who is lawfully operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a shoulder adjacent to a roadway for which the posted maximum speed limit exceeds a certain speed to enter the roadway only if making or attempting to make a left turn, if crossing through an intersection, or if the shoulder is overlaid with certain directional markings; and generally relating to the operation of bicycles and motor scooters on roadways.

Status: passed


House Bill 52 – Bicycle Duty Bill

Sponsored by Delegate Carr and promoted by the Washington Area Bicycle Association, as well as, Bike Maryland. House Bill 52 clarifies that the duties of motorists are those defined by law, and protects those cyclists riding lawfully from the imposition of additional, hypothetical duties.

Status: Environmental Matters Committee gave this legislation an unfavorable vote; bill withdrawn by Delegate Carr


Bike Maryland supports “Jake’s Law”

Currently, causing a serious injury or death when driving while distracted by texting or using a hand-held cell phone usually only results in a traffic ticket, which is what happened during the trial of the driver who struck the car that killed young Jake.  Jake’s Law will make crashes caused by cell phone distracted driving that results in a serious injury or death a misdemeanor with up to three years of jail time and up to a $5,000 fine.

Specifically it is an Act that would prohibit a person from committing a violation of a specified prohibition against using a text messaging device or a handheld telephone while driving that substantially contributes to an accident that results in the death or serious bodily injury of another; providing that a sentence imposed under the Act shall be separate from and concurrent with a sentence for a specified other crime.

Status: Approved by the Governor – Chapter 248

Recent: The Post’s View; Maryland’s ‘Jake’s law’ provides a prudent ban on drivers using cellphones – view article here.  Jake’s Law website hereView HB1212 and SB0348.

We thank Delegate Clippinger and Senator Manno for sponsoring this important legislation. Please thank them for thier support of this legislation.


Additional Legislation and Advocacy- State and Local

  • Bicycles on MARC: On Thursday, April 10, 2014, members of MBPAC had a very productive meeting with MTA personnel regarding carrying full-size (non-folding) bikes on MARC Commuter trains. Representing MTA were Erich Kolig, John Hovatter, and Patrick McMahon.  Representing the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MBPAC) were Michael Jackson, Greg Hinchliffe, Jim Titus and Carol Silldorff, MBPAC member and Bike Maryland Executive Director. Also in attendance was Champe Burnley of the Virginia Bicycle Federation, who is conducting similar negotiations with VRE commuter rail and Amtrak.MBPAC passed a resolution asking MARC to consider allowing non-folding bikes on its new weekend service trains, with the idea that the new service would be lightly patronized. MARC was expecting approximately 2000 weekend users; they have had as many as 9000!  Nonetheless, the weekend ridership is lower than weekday, making the weekend trains the logical choice to experiment with bike carriage.MTA has put quite a bit of thought and effort into incorporating space for full bicycles on the MARC. MBPAC members are satisfied that MTA is working on a solution, and hopeful that progress can be reported soon. Additionally, we thank MTA for there interest in partnering with advocates to participate in later stages of this project’s development!
  •  In January, 2014, Bike Maryland, along with WABA and Bike AAA met with the State’s Attorneys to discuss the Manslaughter – Criminal Negligence Law, that Bike Maryland, dozens of advocates, AAA-Mid Atlantic and more organizations worked so diligently to pass in 2011. Bike Maryland will oppose legislation that deconstructs the current law and support legislation that further closes any loophole in the law to safeguards bikers, pedestrians, vulnerable users and all who use roads and waterways.
  • Bike Maryland worked with Delegate Cardin, Chair of the Bicycle Caucus to host a Maryland Bicycle Caucus meeting on January 15, 2014. All legislators present voted unanimously in favor of the above legislation. We thank Delegate Cardin, the legislators and advocates present for supporting the pro-bicycle legislative agenda.
  • The Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is now complete and publicly available. We compliment those who helped develop the new Plan that establishes a 20-year vision to support cycling and walking as modes of transportation. The Plan provides guidance and investment strategies to support cycling and walking, both on-road and off-road, as part of Maryland’s multimodal transportation network. This Plan updates the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan adopted in 2002 and, going forward, will be updated every five years. The 2035 Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP), 2014-2019 Consolidated Transportation Program, and 2014 Annual Attainment Report are also now available.
  • New bicycle law enforcement training has been sent to over 150 police agencies. The Maryland Police Training Commission approved video for 1 hour of in-service training credit, when officers successfully pass the test associated with this video. To date there have been 1490 views on Maryland State Police’s YouTube site. We are advocating for police viewing to be mandatory.
  • MDOT has purchased it’s first Eco-Multi bike/ped counter to evaluate bike/ped usage. At the last Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting Bike Maryland advocated for purchase of many more counters.
  • State Safety Commission Advertisement Campaign – advocating for billboards, gas topers, bus-signs vs. spending funds on brochures/state staff time. Strongly asking that safety campaign launch take place immediately.
  • Carol Silldorff becomes Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Legislative and Governmental Affairs sub-committee chair.
  • Advocating for Susquehanna Bridge River crossing to be bicycle accessible as part of East Coast Greenway Trail.
  • Advocating for Rt 70 bridge crossing over Security Blvd to Gwynns Falls Trails.
  • Complete Streets Baltimore County resolution passed – county rated top 10 in US based on resolution adoption – need watchful eye to guarantee implementation.
  • Potential Utility Easement Access bill: existing utility easements can be used to provide off-road trails that can be used by pedestrians and cyclists for recreation and commuting.
  • Promotion of North Central Trial to link from N. Baltimore County to Baltimore City trail system.

About the General Assembly:

  • The Maryland General Assembly is Maryland’s legislative body and directly represents the electorate. The state has 47 districts represented by 47 Senators and 141 Delegates.
    • Enacts laws necessary for the welfare of the State’s citizens and certain laws dealing with counties and special taxing districts.
    • Proposes amendments to the Maryland Constitution, which must be ratified by the voters during the general election.
    • Reviews the Governor’s Reapportionment and Redistricting plans.
    • Meets in regular session for only 90 calendar days each year beginning the second Wednesday in January to act on more than 2,500 pieces of legislation and the State’s annual capital and operating budgets.
    • Meets in special session when called by the Governor or when a majority of each house petitions the Governor.
    • Learn more here.
    • Determine who your legislator is here.

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