MassBike is working on getting more sponsors for two bills in the Massachusetts legislature to increase bike safety. Filed in January 2015, MassBike’s bills are the “Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users” and the “Act To Protect Bicyclists In Bicycle Lanes.” Thanks to Senator Will Brownsberger and Representative Dave Rogers, the bills have been filed in both the House and the Senate to get maximum exposure on Beacon Hill.
The Vulnerable Road Users Bill (pdf) (SD273 in the Senate and HD2137 in the House) defines “vulnerable users” to include pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users, motorcyclists, road workers, emergency responders, horseback riders, and others who are at greater risk on our roads. Beyond giving vulnerable users legal status, the bill sets minimum safe distances for passing vulnerable users, starting at three feet and increasing with speed. The bill also emphasizes that motorists can and should use other lanes to pass vulnerable users safely.
The Bike Lane Protection Bill (pdf) (SD284 in the Senate and HD2130 in the House) addresses a common problem: It makes it a ticketable violation statewide for a motorist to park or stand in a marked bicycle lane or other on-street bicycle facility. When a motorist parks or stands in a bike lane, it endangers bicyclists by causing them to merge into traffic or squeeze between the parked vehicle and the curb or other parked cars. In most communities in Massachusetts, it is not currently a violation to park in a bike lane, but others are adopting their own rules (notably Boston). We run the risk of a patchwork of inconsistent and confusing local laws if we do not act statewide.
See a fact sheet on these bills here (pdf).
We are actively seeking co-sponsors for these bills, and the deadline is rapidly approaching on January 30th! Having a lot of co-sponsors demonstrates strong support for a bill, and can help it move forward. That’s where all of you come in.
How You Can Help
- Get contact information for your state legislators here. Enter your home address, then click on the name of your State Senator and State Representative to get their email address or phone number.
- Email or call your State Senator, and ask her or him to support protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users by co-sponsoring SD273 and SD284. Tell them to email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign on.
- Email or call your State Representative, and ask her or him to support protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users by co-sponsoring HD2130 and HD2137. Tell them to email email@example.com to sign on.
- Email (or cc) firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know who you contacted.
If you have any questions, email email@example.com or call 617-542-2453. Thanks so much for your help. You are our political power – we cannot do it without you!
Not sure who your legislators are? Visit this page to find out.