Tuesday, February 03 2009 @ 04:40 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
2009 Bills to SUPPORT:
House Bill 97 Criminal Law: Manslaughter by Vehicle
* This is a very important bill – the hearing took place last week before the Judiciary Committee. If you live in committee members district - ask your delegates to support this bill that:
* Makes it a misdemeanor for a person to cause the death of another as a result of the person's driving, operating, or controlling a vehicle or vessel in a criminally negligent manner.
* This bill will make our roads inherently safer for bicyclists and pedestrians by improving the standards of justice and encouraging safer driving by conveying the message that criminally negligent driving behavior is not tolerated.
* Closes the current loophole in Maryland’s law and holds people accountable for causing the death of another as a result of driving, while sober, negligently, taking substantial risk and deviating from the standard of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person.
* Increase the penalties and provides jail time for those who currently pay a $500 fine and do not serve any time in jail Not place the ordinary driver at risk for severe penalties
Senate Bill 428 - Three Foot Bicycle Safety Bill
* This very important bill increases safety for bicyclist by requiring a driver of a vehicle to pass a bicyclist at a distance of 3 feet.
* Requires a driver to yield the right of way to a person who is riding a bicycle in a designated bicycle lane.
Senate Bill 98 - No Text Messaging While Driving
* Prohibits a person from using a text messaging device to write, send, or read a text message while operating a motor vehicle.
Senate Bill 152 - Arrest for Leaving a Scene of an Accident Involving Injury
* Requires a police officer to arrest with or without a warrant a person who the police officer has probable cause to believe has committed a specified offense of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury or death.
Senate Bill 15 - Funding for Bike-Ped Access to Schools
* Authorizes local governments to use specified highway user revenues for sidewalk construction; specifying State policy regarding sidewalks, footpaths, and bicycle trails.
* Requires regulations that give priority to and provide financial
assistance to county boards for public school construction or public school
capital improvements that incorporate sidewalks, footpaths, and bicycle
trails that facilitate and encourage usage by students as an alternative to
transport by school bus.
* Hearing took place on 1-28 before the Budget and Taxation Committee. If you live in districts of committee members ask your senators to support the bill.
Senate Bill 250 - SUPPORT SB 250 only with Amendment to Include Bicycles
* Authorizes the driver of a motorcycle at an intersection where traffic is controlled by a traffic control signal to proceed through a red signal under specified circumstances if a visible vehicle sensor operating the traffic control signal does not detect the presence of the motorcycle.
* Bicycles are less likely than motorcycles to be detected by sensors.
* Traffic lights are often set to skip a cycle if there is no vehicle waiting.
* A law-abiding cyclist now might have to wait through several cycles before a vehicle comes that is detected by the sensor.
* By waiting for a vehicle to come and trip the sensor, a cyclist is often put into a more dangerous situation due to conflicts with other traffic, especially turning traffic. This change in the law would allow a cyclist or motorcyclist who is not detected by a vehicle sensor to treat a red light like a flashing red light when the wait has been two minutes or one complete cycle of the light.
2009 Bills to OPPOSE:
House Bill 187 Mandatory Helmet Law
* HB 187 would extend current law requiring helmets for cyclists under age 16 to cyclists and motor scooter drivers of all ages. It also defines a mo-ped as being a bicycle. It looks like someone wanted to make sure the bicycle helmet law includes mopeds and motor scooters, and while at it they removed the “under 16” so it would apply to everyone. If passed, this would make Maryland the first state with a statewide mandatory helmet law for adult cyclists.
* Instead of this bill, bicycle education opportunities and low cost or free helmets are needed.
* The bill does not have a provision stating, "failure to wear a helmet may not be used as evidence of contributory negligence." Any helmet bill should have language similar to the "contributory negligence" clause in the seat belt law.
House Bill 25 Scooter Road Restriction
* This bill prohibits motor scooters from roads where the posted speed limit is over 30 mph, which will reduce opportunities for people to travel by means other than automobile. Some people depend on motor scooters for basic transportation necessary to get to work, school and shopping.
* Current law prohibits bicycles and motor scooters from roads where the speed limit is over 50 mph.
* There is concern that changing the law to prohibit motor scooters where the posted speed limit is over 30 mph could lead to the same prohibition on bicycles.
If the intent of the bill is to reduce the reckless use of motor scooters, there are existing laws on reckless driving that could be better enforced.