The 2018 session is underway and BikeAAA is working closely with Bike Maryland to prepare for new bike safety legislation. We also have the benefit this year of the work done by the Maryland Bicycle Safety Task Force created by the legislature in 2017, appointed by the Governor over the summer and completed its Final Report which you can find at the preceding link. The Task Force included 4 advocates including two from Anne Arundel County – Jack Keene and Jon Korin. The report has dozens of recommendations in a variety of areas including Funding, Infrastructure, Policy, Outreach/Education and Legislation.
Each fall the Anne Arundel County State Delegation convenes to hear priorities from county non-profits. BikeAAA has presented each year since our inception four years ago. You can read it here: BikeAAA-AACtyDelegation-Nov28-2017. This year we focus on legislative priorities coming out of Task Force Report:
1. Vulnerable Road User Law – More care required and stiffer penalties under current laws for drivers who seriously injure or kill pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users, etc.
2. Safe Passing of Cyclists – Address narrow road exception in current 3 foot passing law by allowing safe crossing of the double yellow line following the example recently set in a new Delaware law. See HB0222 and SB0268.
3. Stronger commitment to Complete Streets – Strengthen the commitment to Complete Streets by extending it from SHA to other agencies including MdTA (e.g. bike lanes on the new Nice Bridge) and MTA (HB0744 and (SB0850). There is also a bill that promotes Complete Streets for Maryland Counties and Cities ( HB0535 and SB0407).
4. Comparative Negligence – In Maryland and a just a few other states if one party is found to contribute even slightly, say 1%, to a crash then that party may be denied recovery of damages under the doctrine of “contributory negligence”. This is grossly unfair to cyclists that are hit by vehicles. SB0465 addresses the problem with a narrow carve-out modeled on a recently passed D.C. law.
4. Other Initiatives – We are also working for more state funding for bike infrastructure especially in the MD Bikeways program; safe biking and walking routes to school; and other bills that promote general road safety dealing with distracted driving and the like.
We work with Bike Maryland and other advocates on legislation. Read more about Bike Maryland’s initiatives HERE.