Your voice for bicycling in Maryland Newsletter Donate Become A Member Join
Get InvolvedAdvocacyResourcesEventsNewsAbout menu search
Blog >

We’re Baaaaaaaaaaack! – Legislative Wrap up

By - August 10, 2018

Did you miss us?  You probably noticed Bike Maryland has been pretty quiet the last few months.  Truth is, we took a break. As you know, Bike Maryland is a very small shop, with just two of us working part-time.  We worked hard for you during the legislative session – putting in more than full time and we came away with some solid victories, which I am happy to tell you about now.

Full Victory:

Safe Routes to Schools:

HB 285

Sponsor: Delegate Luedtke

Requiring the Department of Transportation to collect and consolidate available information from State and local agencies regarding an unmet need for safe pedestrian and bicycle access to schools in the State; and requiring the Department to report its findings to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before January 1, 2020.

Passed through both houses unanimously and signed by the Governor on April 24

 

Complete Streets:  Local Support

HB 535/SB 407

Sponsor: Delegate Lierman, Senator Guzzone

Establishing the Complete Streets Program to provide matching grants to certified jurisdictions to promote healthy communities; providing for program funds to be provided by the Governor in the State budget; specifying the requirements for a local government to be designated as a certified jurisdiction; authorizing a certified jurisdiction to apply for matching grants from the Program; specifying the use of matching grant funds; specifying certain requirements for a certified jurisdiction that receives a grant under the Program

Passed through House and Senate and signed by the Governor on May 15

 

Complete Streets:  State Agency Compliance

HB 744/SB 850

Sponsor:  Delegate Lafferty, Senator Mathias

Requiring certain modal administrations of the Department of Transportation to adopt a complete streets policy that provides information for the implementation of design features that accommodate and facilitate safe and convenient access and mobility to facilities by all users

Passed through House and Senate and signed by the Governor on May 15

Partial Victories (or significant steps forward in a multi year effort)

Safe Passing

HB 222/SB 268

Sponsor:  Delegate Cassilly, Senator Lee

This bill essentially eliminated 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.

 

This bill passed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (8-3) and even passed the first vote on the floor of the Senate but was caught up in Senate politics on the floor and was sent back to committee and never re-emerged.

We are already preparing to reintroduce Safe Passing legislation in the next session and feel with the progress we made last session we have a good chance of passage this time.

 

Vulnerable Road User

HB 1099/SB 868

Sponsor:  Delegate Lafferty, Senator Lee

Prohibiting a person from causing the serious physical injury or death of a vulnerable road user as a result of the person operating a vehicle in a careless or distracted manner or in violation of certain provisions of the Maryland Vehicle Law.

First let us give a shout out to Delegate Lafferty, the sponsor of the bill, and Delegate Beidle, the Chair of the Subcommittee for helping get this bill through the House of Delegates UNANIMOUSLY.

Unfortunately, things were not quite as smooth in the Senate.

The bill went through a great deal of debate in the Judicial Proceedings committee and we were assured that we had the six votes needed to pass the bill.  The bill finally came to a vote near in the last days of session. Unfortunately, Senator Will Smith, a big supporter of our issues, was absent due to having surgery on his Achilles tendon.  Senator Muse was also absent and Senator Brochin voted against us though he had committed to voting for us, and so we lost the vote at the Committee.

With the House voting for the bill unanimously and the Senate Committee having large turnover, as well as Bike Maryland having a stronger sense of where the objections are coming from, we feel confident that this bill too will pass in this upcoming session.

What’s Next?

Nice Bridge

As you may have heard from us before, the Governor Harry W. Nice Bridge, which spans the Potomac from Southern Maryland to Virginia is getting redone.  At the time of the announcement, Governor Hogan committed to rebuilding it with dedicated access for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. Shortly thereafter, his Director of the Transportation Authority declared that to be “too expensive” and instead said that they would explore the option of a shared lane for cars and bikes.  We are working to convince the Governor to uphold his commitment to giving bikes and pedestrians a dedicated lane. It is absolutely critical that, within our transportation networks at choke points where there is only one option between two points, that we use a complete street model to make sure everyone can access that option.

Stay tuned as we will be keeping you posted and asking for your letter writing, phone calling, petition signing support.

Larry’s Ride – September 29

Larry’s Ride is our main fundraiser (besides your committed membership).  It is how we can afford to be your representative for stronger investment in bike safety and infrastructure.  It’s also a heck of a ride – bring your hill climbing legs and your eye for some of Maryland’s most beautiful scenery.  Finally, every year it has, completely objectively, the most fantastic jerseys worldwide. This year is no exception. Sign up early and reserve your jersey here.

As always, feel free to email me here with any questions, concerns, or just to talk.

Josh Feldmark

Executive Director

 

Share