2014 Bike Maryland Legislative Agenda

Strengthening the Existing 3 Feet to Pass Law - House Bill 241

Sponsored by Delegate Lafferty, House Bill 241 strengthens the existing 3 foot passing bill by requiring drivers to allow 3' to pass a bicyclist on every road and authorizing a driver of a vehicle to drive across the left–side of a roadway in a no–passing zone, if it is safe to do so, to give a bicyclist a minimum of 3 feet of passing distance. We thank Delegate Lafferty for sponsoring this important legislation and ask that you please feel free to contact him at Delegate Lafferty and thank him for supporting pro-bicycle legislation. It is especially important to thank him if you are one of his constituents. View bill here.

Bill Entitled: Vehicle Laws - Overtaking and Passing Bicycles, an EPAMD, or a Motor Scooter.

View the Bike Maryland testimony here and view organizational supporters here.  House Environmental Matters Committee gave this legislation an unfavorable vote.

Bicycle Duty Bill - House Bill 52 / Senate Bill 808

Sponsored by Delegate Carr and Senator Raskin and promoted by the Washington Area Bicycle Association, as well as, Bike Maryland. This bill clarifies that the duties of motorists are those defined by law, and protects those cyclists riding lawfully from the imposition of additional, hypothetical duties. 

View House Bicycle Duty bill here and Senate Bill Here.  Withdrawn and received unfavorable Environmental Matters Committee Vote.

Support Senate Bill 520 (Senator Robey) / House Bill 530 (Delegate Malone)

FOR the purpose of creating an exception to the prohibition against a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a roadway where the posted maximum speed limit exceeds a certain speed; authorizing a person who is lawfully operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a shoulder adjacent to a roadway for which the posted maximum speed limit exceeds a certain speed to enter the roadway only if making or attempting to make a left turn, if crossing through an intersection, or if the shoulder is overlaid with certain directional markings; and generally relating to the operation of bicycles and motor scooters on roadways.

View SB here and HB here. Passed house waiting for Senate vote.

Bike Maryland supports "Jake's Law" - What is Jake’s Law? 

Currently, causing a serious injury or death when driving while distracted by texting or using a hand-held cell phone usually only results in a traffic ticket, which is what happened during the trial of the driver who struck the car that killed young Jake.  Jake’s Law will make crashes caused by cell phone distracted driving that results in a serious injury or death a misdemeanor with up to three years of jail time and up to a $5,000 fine.

Specifically it is an Act that would prohibit a person from committing a violation of a specified prohibition against using a text messaging device or a handheld telephone while driving that substantially contributes to an accident that results in the death or serious bodily injury of another; providing that a sentence imposed under the Act shall be separate from and concurrent with a sentence for a specified other crime. 

House Bill 121 just passed the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee  recieved a Favorable with Amendments Report.

Recent: The Post’s View; Maryland’s ‘Jake’s law’ provides a prudent ban on drivers using cellphones - view article here.

Jake's Law webiste here.

We thank Delegate Clippinger and Senator Manno for sponsoring this important legislation. Please thank them for thier support of this legislation. 

View HB1212 and SB0348.  

Additional Winter 2014 Advocacy Initiatives:

  • Bike Maryland, along with WABA and Bike AAA met with the State's Attorneys to discuss the Manslaughter - Criminal Negligence Law that Bike Maryland, dozens of advocates, AAA-Mid Atlantic and more organizations worked so diligently to pass in 2011. Bike Maryland will oppose legislation that deconstructs the current law and support legislation that further closes any loophole in the law to safeguards bikers, pedestrians, vulnerable users and all who use roads and waterways.
  • Bike Maryland worked with Delegate Cardin, Chair of the Bicycle Caucus to host a Maryland Bicycle Caucus meeting. All legislators present voted unanimously in favor of the above legislation. We thank Delegate Cardin, the legislators and advocates present for supporting the pro-bicycle legislative agenda. In 2015, there will be a new Chair of the State Legislative Bicycle Caucus and a new Environmental Matters Committee Vice Chair and/or Transportation Sub-Committee Chair. This may profoundly impact bicycle legislation in 2015.  Our goal is to influence who will be the new State Legislative Bicycle Caucus Chair.
  • Potential bond bill or other funding for bikeshare operations in Baltimore. Bike Maryland obtained information from Delegate McIntosh's office to review opportunities to fund operations of bike share in Baltimore City.
  • The Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is now complete and publicly available. The Plan can be accessed here. The 2035 Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP), 2014-2019 Consolidated Transportation Program, and 2014 Annual Attainment Report are also now available here.
  • Potential Utility Easement Access bill: existing utility easements can be used to provide off-road trails that can be used by pedestrians and cyclists for recreation and commuting.
  • New bicycle law enforcement training video link sent to over 150 police agencies. The Maryland Police Training Commission approved video for 1 hour of in-service training credit, when officers successfully pass the test associated with this video. To date there have been 1490 views on Maryland State Police's YouTube site. Advocating for police viewing to be mandatory.
  • We compliement those who achieved development of the new State of Maryland Twenty-Year Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan that establishes a 20-year vision to support cycling and walking as modes of transportation in Maryland. The Plan provides guidance and investment strategies to support cycling and walking, both on-road and off-road, as part of Maryland's multimodal transportation network. This Plan updates the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan adopted in 2002 and, going forward, will be updated every five years.
  • MDOT has purchased it’s first Eco-Multi bike/ped counter to evaluate bike/ped usage. Advocating for purchase of more counters.
  • State Safety Commission Ad Campaign – advocating for billboards, gas topers, bus-signs vs. spending funds on brochures/state staff time.
  • Advocating for Susquehanna Bridge River crossing to be bicycle accessible as part of East Coast Greenway Trail
  • Advocating for Rt 70 Bridge Crossing over Security Blvd to Gwynns Falls Trails.
  • Complete Streets Baltimore County resolution passed – county rated top 10 in US based on resolution adoption – need watchful eye to guarantee implementation.

About the General Assembly:

The Maryland General Assembly is Maryland's legislative body and directly represents the electorate. The state has 47 districts represented by 47 Senators and 141 Delegates.

The Legislature:

  • Enacts laws necessary for the welfare of the State's citizens and certain laws dealing with counties and special taxing districts.
  • Proposes amendments to the Maryland Constitution, which must be ratified by the voters during the general election.
  • Reviews the Governor’s Reapportionment and Redistricting plans.
  • Meets in regular session for only 90 calendar days each year beginning the second Wednesday in January to act on more than 2,500 pieces of legislation and the State's annual capital and operating budgets.
  • Meets in special session when called by the Governor or when a majority of each house petitions the Governor.
  • Learn more here.
  • Determine who your legislator is here.

Bike and Pedestrian Caucus - view here.

While the Maryland General Assembly is in session we have a tremendous opportunity to promote state level pro-bike legislation. Bike Maryland seeks active advocates to assist with the promotion of pro-bike legislation during this short and fast paced legislative session. Active advocates can assist by contacting legislators, obtaining support from business, government and community leaders, performing research and increasing grass roots support!

Volunteer tasks:
• Call legislators and aids and offer assistance
• Develop relationships with legislators
• Establish partnerships
• Respond to constituent concerns
• Perform research (draft bill language)
• Seek co-sponsors
• Develop fact sheets (where does law already exist? gather data)
• Obtain community and business support (i.e. AAA-Mid Atlantic)
• Educate government leaders (i.e. MDOT)
• Hearing support – verbal and written testimony
• Track legislation – post via social media outlets – enhance outreach

Please contact Carol Silldorff if you would like to volunteer to assist in support of the above legislative agenda.

View Bike Maryland's 2013 Legislative Agenda, here