MassBike is working on passing two bills in the Massachusetts legislature to increase bike safety. Filed in January 2013, the bills have garnered significant legislative co-sponsors. The bills are:
The Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users (S 1639) defines “vulnerable users” to include bicyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users, and other non-motorized road users, encourages motorists to exercise more caution when operation around vulnerable road users, educate motorists to operate more safely, and will provide law enforcement with additional tools to protect vulnerable road users. This piece of legislation addresses the problem of motorist harassment of vulnerable users by creating both criminal and civil liability for motorists who use their vehicle to physically harass a vulnerable user, and civil liability for motorists who engage in other forms of harassment of vulnerable users. (Click here for the full text of the bill).
Co-sponsors: William Brownsberger, Denise Provost, David Rogers, Jonathan Hecht, Kay Khan, John Scibak, Frank Smizik, Gailanne Cariddi, Carl Sciortino, Jr., Lori Ehrlich, James Eldridge, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Kate Hogan, Carolyn Dykema, Peter Kocot, Kenneth Gordon, Denise Andrews.
The Act To Protect Bicyclists in Bicycle Lanes (S 1640) prohibits motor vehicle operators from parking in on-street paths or lanes designated by official signs or markings for the use of bicycles, or placing the vehicle in such a manner as to interfere with the safety and passage of bicyclists. Motorists frequently endanger bicyclists by parking in bicycle lanes, forcing bicyclists to merge into traffic. There is currently no applicable state law, and communities are passing local ordinances that will result in inconsistent rules and enforcement unless statewide action is taken. (Click here for the full text of the bill).
Co-Sponsors: William Brownsberger, Denise Provost, David Rogers, Jonathan Hecht, Kay Khan, John Scibak, Frank Smizik, Patricia Jehlen, Carl Sciortino, Jr., Lori Ehrlich, Kenneth Donnelly, Elizabeth Malia, Sonia Chang-Diaz, James Eldridge, Kate Hogan, Carolyn Dykema, Peter Kocot, Kenneth Gordon, Denise Andrews.
On March 19, 2014, both bills were extended in the Joint Transportation Committee. The bill has not been reported out, either favorably or unfavorably.
MassBike strongly encourages you to reach out to your state legislators about these two bills. Many individuals and organizations have already done so, but we still need you to add your voice to the many who support stronger protections for bicyclists and other vulnerable road users.
- If your legislator is already a cosponsor, please thank them for their support.
- If your legislator is Rep. Straus (D-Mattapoisett) or Sen. McGee (D-Lynn), the co-chairs of the Transportation Committee, please ask them to report favorably on both bills.
- If your legislator is neither a cosponsor nor a co-chair, please ask them to speak to their respective co-chair on the Transportation Committee and ask them to report favorably on both bills.
Not sure who your legislators are? Visit this page to find out.