Sunday, November 2, 2008

BTA 2009 Legislative Agenda

With the Election coming up, thoughts turn to the 75th Legislature, what it will look like, and what it will accomplish. Here’s a sketch of the 2009 plan, courtesy of Doug Parrow. Two proposals are definite, and several others are still being mooted. For a longer discussion, see Jonathan Maus’ article on bikeportland.

Legislative proposals:

Vehicular Homicide – Make it a Class C Felony to kill someone while driving with a Drivers’ License Suspended in Oregon or any other state, impaired as a result of the use of alcohol, drugs or other factors, or driving without current Automobile Liability Insurance.

Drivers Education – Require behind the wheel training by a certified trainer and an increase in the number of questions on the drivers licensing test with a corresponding increase in the number of questions pertaining to interaction with bicyclists. At renewal, drivers would be required to complete a take home test in order to refresh their understanding of existing laws and inform them of changes to the law.

Other proposals under consideration:

Safe Routes to Schools – Require increased consideration of transportation in school siting or allow/require schools to use transportation funds or energy conservation funds to improve safety for students walking or bicycling.

Clarification of Crash Reporting Requirements - Collecting adequate crash data is a major component of implementing effective countermeasures in locations with real safety problems. Currently, the law and administrative procedures are unclear regarding when crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians must be reported. We may be able to address these issues administratively.

Funding for Non-motorized Transportation Corridors - Separate non-motorized transportation corridors make [part] of the backbone of a complete system. Funding for the development of these corridors would increase cycling and reduce congestion and air pollution. Maus explains:
[Karl] Rohde says the BTA will seek to pass a resolution that recognizes funding for non-motorized projects as an essential part of a complete transportation system. According to Rohde, he wants bikes and peds to be thought of as “non-motorized transportation” and bike and ped facilities not be considered “trails” (a common wording that makes them seem like a frivolous expenditure in hard times) but rather as “non-motorized transportation corridors”.

Rohde says the idea is not to simply have lawmakers use different language, but to drive home the idea that, when drafting any transportation funding, lawmakers look for ways to fund bike and ped projects “every step of the way”.

As the session gets closer, we'll have more details and more on what you can do to advance the agenda. The January Breakfast will be on the Capitol steps, and we hope to have a good turn-out with bikey legislators.

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