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Programs > Legislative Program and Advocacy > Legislative Agenda

2016 Legislative Agenda

Our legislative agenda focuses on improving the safety of bicyclists on Maryland roadways. Our efforts will be concentrated on a stronger three foot bill, a vulnerable road user bill, and any bills increasing penalties and restrictions on drunk drivers. Other legislation moving forward this year is an anti-coal rolling bill and a repeal of the mandatory bike lane use law.

This bill would have removed the “narrow highway” exception from Maryland’s current three foot bill and include a provision to pass at a safe speed as to not endanger, impede, or interfere with bicyclists in the road.

Ultimately, we negotiated an amendment to the bill that would have brought Maryland’s three foot law into alignment with “move over; slow down” for emergency vehicles. While not as strong as our original language, the amendment would have been an improvement over what Maryland law is now. Unfortunately, this did not make it out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee despite passing through the House of Delegates.

Thank you, Delegate Lafferty, for your leadership on this issue.

This bill would require drivers that are charged with reckless or negligent driving that results in the death of another to appear in court. Currently, drivers are allowed to pre-pay the fine and not appear in court.

This law did not make it out of the House Judiciary Committee.

Adopted already by 7 states (including Oregon, Delaware, Vermont, Utah, Washington, Hawaii, and Connecticut), this law will increase the penalty for seriously injuring or killing a bicyclist, or other vulnerable road user. This law does not require intent. The act of injuring or killing a vulnerable road user will trigger the penalties.

We are currently working on the repercussions for violation. Other states include financial penalties, jail time, mandatory motor vehicle safety education, community service, and license suspension.

This will not happen in the legislative session of 2016. Instead, we will work with delegates and senators to have the bill prepared for 2017.

Increased Penalties and Restrictions on Drunk Drivers

We supported legislation to increase penalties and restrictions on drunk drivers, including wider spread use of interlock devices.

This law passed both the House and the Senate and was signed by Governor Hogan!

Anti-Coal Rolling

Includes penalties for “coal rolling” a bicyclists or other road user. Coal rolling is when a diesel engine vehicle spits out thick, black particulate matter. This is reduces visibility and covers bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users with thick pollutants.

This law passed through the House of Delegates but did not make it out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

With its numerous existing exceptions, the law is not easily understood by bicyclists and law enforcement. Especially concerning in Maryland is the fact that we are a contributory negligence state, and the mandatory bike lane use law can be used to deny injury compensation for bicyclists who are outside of the bike lane, even if it can be argued that they are covered by one of the exceptions. Modern bicycle infrastructure, including protected cycletracks, are not adequately addressed with Maryland’s mandatory bike lane use law.

This law was voted unfavorably by the House Environment and Transportation Committee.

Any questions can be directed to Emily Ranson, our advocacy coordinator.

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