Monday, February 14, 2011

Legislative Update - Week 2 - Distracted Driving and Bike Traffic Lights

Now things are cooking! One bill has passed a chamber, and a few more have been introduced.

The most interesting new development may be the proposal to tighten up distracted driving laws and to eliminate the loophole permits people to use a mobile device while on the job. While enforcing the existing law does not seem currently to be a priority for law enforcement, expanding it cannot hurt. Still, an expansion will rouse opposition.

(For last week's action, see here.)

What's new?

Senate Bill 660 would decrease the "penalty for failure to stop for stop sign to maximum fine of $40 for person operating bicycle."

House Bill 3178 looks like it would encourage transit-oriented development to be funded by tax-increment financing. It would permit
local governments to propose transit benefit districts covering area within quarter-mile radius of rail stations. Provides that transit benefit districts are eligible for public works projects that support transit-oriented development, to be funded by property taxes assessed on increase in land value directly attributable to benefit derived by property from presence of rail station.
Maybe someone who knows more about TIF and land use can chime in?

House Bill 3186, co-sponsored by Representative Berger, would expand the texting and cel phone ban and would remove the "exception for person operating motor vehicle in scope of person’s employment from offense of operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device." It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Bills Specifically about Bicycling

Senate Bill 130 for bicycle traffic lights. Passed the Senate 28-1, and is now in the House.

Senate Bill 604 will be a gut-n-stuff. No action.

House Bill 2228 prohibits bike transportation of child under 6 years old. Referred to Transportation and Economic Development Committee, but dead as currently written.

House Bill 2331 to study bicycle licensing. Referred to Ways and Means. No action.

Doug, who knows as much as anyone about recent interest to license bike riders, offers a trenchant analysis of why people who bike should favor the study and not escalate opposition or rhetoric against it.

House Bill 2332 would create a weight-based schedule of traffic fines. Vehicles that do less damage, like bikes, would be fined less. Referred to Judiciary. No action.

House Bill 2602, the headphone ban. As noted last week, it was not on the committee agenda. Later reports confirm it was pulled. It appears dead now.

Relevant to Transportation Generally

Senate Bill 266 on electronic tolling. Referred to Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee. No action.

Senate Bill 344 would permit local jurisdictions to enact a 20mph speed limit on neighborhood streets. No action.

House Bill 2333 prohibiting studded tires. Referred to Transportation and Economic Development Committee. No action.

House Bill 2437 on school busing. Referred to Revenue Committee. No action.

Proposed Oregon Constitutional Amendment to permit gas taxes to be used for pollution control and congestion reduction. Referred to Revenue Committee. No action.


Daniel Evans said...

Thanks for covering the Byzantine world of the legislature. I am especially interested in seeing more teeth in a distracted driving law. It is just as dangerous as drunk driving in my opinion, and should be treated with similar disdain.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Portland Transport offers this commentary and analysis on transit-oriented development and HB 3178.