Advocacy Roundup: Bridges, Safe Passing, Connectivity and More
With the release of the 2012 Bicycle Friendly State rankings, it’s great to see states and advocates continuing to improve conditions for bicyclists.
With that in mind, here’s this week’s advocacy roundup:
West Virginia is updating its 1997 State Bicycle Connectivity Plan. WVDOT held a series of public meetings in May to gather input from bicyclists throughout the state. “The meetings have been well attended and folks are providing good comments and input into the process,” says Perry Keller, WVDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator. This input will be used to create draft plan recommendations on necessary bicycle connections. Residents can review the recommendations during another series of public meetings in August/September.
New York Senator Charles Schumer has come out in favor of building the new Livingston Avenue Railroad bridge (connecting Albany and Rensselaer) with bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. “Senator Schumer’s involvement at this early point in the project design is very timely,” said Brian Kehoe, executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition. “The [Livingston Avenue RR Bridge] Coalition anticipates productive engagement with all projects stakeholders as this critical project moves forward. We deeply appreciate the Senator’s support for bicycling.” NYBC received an Advocacy Advance Rapid Response grant to help ensure this opportunity results in a multi-modal connection between the two cities.
California’s three-foot passing bill, SB 1464, faces a vote by the full state Senate soon. The bill will require drivers give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when overtaking them from behind in the same lane. This bill is a response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto last October of SB 910, the previous attempt to enact a three-foot passing law in California. In his veto message, Brown expressed support for the concept but objected to an exception to the three-foot requirement meant to accommodate drivers in dense urban traffic. SB 1464 contains largely the same language as SB 910, but the exception is slightly less restrictive. We’re confident this version of the bill is one that Gov. Brown will sign. Check out the California Bicycle Coalition’s website for more info.
Massachusetts advocates are pushing for a series of bills, including a vulnerable road user law, to address bicycling and walking safety in the Bay State. The vulnerable road user bill provides law enforcement with more flexible tools to encourage motorists to exercise caution when operating around vulnerable road users, including increased fines, traffic safety classes, and community service.
Georgia Bikes! and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety have awarded their 2012 seed grants for local advocacy organizations across the state. Several projects are already off the ground as a result of the grants.