Our two bicyclist safety bills had their first hearing in the Joint Committee on Transportation on June 26th. In case you missed our Action Alert, the bills are:
- The Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users (S1639) defines vulnerable users and puts more responsibility on motorists to be careful around bicyclists and pedestrians. (Click here for the full text of the bill).
- The Act To Protect Bicyclists In Bicycle Lanes (S1640) prohibits motor vehicles from parking in bike lanes. (Click here for the full text of the bill).
For more information on the bills, please see our Legislative Fact Sheet.
MassBike Executive Director David Watson, Representative Denise Provost, Lewis Howe of The Safety Institute, and Hillary Borcherding of WalkBoston all testified in support of the bills. We know other senators and representatives were communicating their support for the bills but could not attend the hearing. We also submitted a letter of support, joined by the Massachusetts Public Health Association, Transportation for Massachusetts, the Boston Cyclists Union, WalkBoston, and The Safety Institute.
Many thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators – your efforts definitely won more support for the bills!
So what exactly happened at the hearing? The committee did not comment on the bike lane bill. The Vulnerable Road Users bill is a bit more involved, and committee members both expressed support and raised questions. As is the practice in Massachusetts, the committee did not take action on any bills during the hearing. Our plan is to focus our advocacy efforts on members of the committee to respond to their concerns and build support to take action on the bills.
It’s not too late to ask your state representative and state senator to ask the committee to report favorably on these bills. If you want to do so, see our Action Alert for instructions.
If you are represented by a member of the committee (particularly co-chairs Senator McGee and Representative Straus), it’s even more important to let them know you support these bills. Click here to see who is on the committee.