Legislative Update 1-24-12 Part 2

Over on the Senate side, SB264/Ebbin’s Don’t follow bicycles, etc. too closely bill passed the Senate by a 28-12 vote, which would appear to be good news, but it passed Senate Transportation unanimously, only to see Carrico and McDougle turn around and vote against it on the floor. My Senator, Stosch also voted against it, which does not make me happy. RABA people who have McDougle 698-7504, Stosch 698-7512, and McEachin 698-7509 might want to give them a call and let them know how surprised, and disappointed, they are to see that they voted against this bill, and those that have Watkins 698-7510, should call his office and thank him for his support.

Then, on Wed. afternoon, in the Senate Transportation Committee, we have three bills of interest—

SB 101 Where the City of Blacksburg is asking for authorization to install a contra flow lane for bicycles (a bike lane going counter to the direction of a one way street).  Many of us feel they already have the authority to do so.

SB333 Banning the operation of mo-peds on ALL HIGHWAYS w/ a speed limit in excess of 35 mph This amounts to a state wide ban on mo-peds, which is very scary. Mo-peds, bicycles, and others are presently banned from Interstates, Limited Access highways, some bridges, and tunnels by act of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, who has that authority. We feel that authority is sufficient, and that if there is a specific problem somewhere it should be taken to the CTB to request a ban there, rather than banning all mo-peds statewide from most highways. If you are going to call McDougle or Watkins on the above bill, also let them know how bad this bill is, and ask them to oppose it, since they are on the Trans. Comm.

SB 633 Requiring helmets to be worn by ALL bicyclists, statewide, under the age of 14. We have told the patron, Sen. Barker, who is a good friend of cycling, that we are taking no position on this bill. Though it seems a good idea at first glance, and my grandsons, and I, always wear helmets when we ride, 30 jurisdictions around the state already have such ordinances, and we would like to leave it to the local jurisdictions to take such action, rather than take the criticism from some of the legislators, that such a law is unnecessary, a hardship on poor kids who can’t afford helmets, and that it will not be enforced since what policeman will give a ticket with a $25 fine to a child riding his bicycle in the neighborhood.

RABA members, please make the calls, if your Senator is noted, and I’ll let you know tomorrow afternoon how things go.

Bud Vye, RABA & VBF Advocacy Director.

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