State Legislation - 2010 - A Successful Bike Maryland Campaign

SIX Bike/Ped/Transportation Bills Passed. It is Time to Celebrate!

April 12th was the last day of the 2010 Maryland General Assembly session. Thank you to the approximately 85 bicyclists who rode to Annapolis to honor Lawrence Bensky honor of Lawrence Bensky, 43, of Owings Mills, who died on April 6 while riding his bicycle on Butler Road in Baltimore County. This is a rural road that I and many of the attendees bike on frequently. Supportive Delegates and bicyclists joined me in addressing the crowd of cyclists. . Also - thank you to the organizers of this successful event!

It is time to celebrate! SIX significant Bike/Ped/Transportation bills passed and on May 20th the Governor signed these bills into law! The bicyclist’s show of support in regard to the bicycle safety legislation was meaningful. The following bills passed and are on the way to the Governor's Office for his signature:

  • SB624 - Shoulder Rule bill
  • SB51 - 3 Foot bill
  • HB 1155 - Transportation Transparency bill
  • HB 282 - Funding for Bike/Ped Access bill
  • SB 229/HB 710 - Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding
  • HB786 - Funding Priority to Sidewalk or Bicycle Pathway Construction

Please give thanks to the sponsors and supporters of these bills - Delegates and Senators Cardin, Carr, Heally, Lafferty, Raskin, McIntosh, Malone, Pena-Melnyk and more.  It is important that we thank them for their support of these important bike safety and bike/pedestrian funding and transportation funding transperancy bills. A call or email from a constituent is a big deal to them – a few minutes of your time can make a big difference.  A huge thank you to everyone who contributed testimony, contacted a Delegate, advocated for this cause and helped to make this happen.

We must remember Larry and work together during the 2011 General Assembly session to make Maryland a safer place to live, work and play.

In the next few months a Bike Maryland Legislative Agenda for the 2011 General Assembly session will be developed. Some topics of interest are:

To learn more about Bike Maryland events, volunteer opportunities and our legislative agenda please click HERE. Thank you all and please spread the word!

Carol Silldorff
Executive Director
Bike Maryland
1209 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
410-960-6493 direct
Carol at bikemd dot org

To obtain additional bill or information on your representative - click here to go to the Maryland General Assembly website. 

2010 Legislative Agenda:

1. Senate Bill 51 and House Bill 461 Three-Foot Bicycle Safety Bill

          Greg Cantori, demonstrating the benefit of the 3' Safety Bill

  • Sponsors are Senator Raskin and Delegate Cardin.
  • SB 51 passed!
  • Requiring that a driver of a vehicle, when overtaking a bicycle, an Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD), or a motor scooter, pass safely at a specified distance; requiring a driver of a vehicle to yield the right-of-way to a person who is riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter in a bike lane or shoulder under specified circumstances; etc. The bill increases safety for bicyclists by requiring a driver of a vehicle to pass a bicyclist at a distance of 3 feet under certain circumstances..
  • Delegate Cardin wrote, "I introduced House Bill 461 to promote bicycle safety. The intent of this bill is to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for both bicyclists and drivers on Maryland's roads and bicycle paths. The bill requires that a motor vehicle passing a bicyclist or pedestrian give the rider at least a three-foot buffer of clearance. It would also require that cars turning across a marked bicycle lane give the cyclist the right of way. Additionally, the bill clarifies that the driver of a motor vehicle would not be at fault if the bicyclist infringes upon the three-foot buffer or fails to maintain a steady course. By clarifying and codifying the responsibilities of both bicyclists and motorists operating on Maryland's roadways, this bill will foster a safe environment for bicyclists to recreate and travel. The bill's sponsors also anticipate that the three-foot minimum will be an easy standard for both cyclists and motorists to remember, and one that reinforces the principles suggested in the Maryland Driver's Education handbook. Too many unnecessary accidents have occurred from lack of due care, and this clarifying standard will make Maryland one of the nation's bike-friendliest states."    

2. Senate Bill 624 and House Bill 1193 - Vehicle Laws - Bicycles and Motor Scooters - Rules of the Road

  • Delegate Carr and Senator Frosh are sponsors.
  • SB 624 passed!
  • The bill permits bicyclists to continue to ride on the shoulder if they choose to, permits cyclists to pass on shoulders, permits cyclists in crosswalks and removes configuration restriction for 3 wheeled cycle. This bill recognizes cyclists as legitimate road users and helps bring Maryland law in conformity with the vast majority of other States.
  • Bill information:  

3. House Bill 282 Transportation Projects - Bicycle and Pedestrian Access, Funding and Reporting

  • Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk.
  • HB 282 passed!
  • Declaring that it is the policy of the State that, in developing the annual Consolidated Transportation Program, the Maryland Department of Transportation shall work to ensure that there is a balance between funding for specified transportation projects for pedestrians and bicycle riders and specified highway construction projects and place increased emphasis on specified transportation projects; requiring the Statewide 20-Year Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan to be revised in each year that the Maryland Transportation Plan is revised; etc. 
  • Bill information:

4. Senate Bill 760 and House Bill 1155 Smarter Transportation Choices for Maryland Bill; Consolidated Transportation   Program - Evaluation and Selection of Proposed Capital Projects

  • HB1155 passed!
  • Sponsored By Delegates Lafferty etc. and Senators Pugh and Harrington.
  • Ensures that state transportation funding will now be aligned with state goals including climate change and smart growth.
  • Set clear criteria for state transportation projects. For projects to enter the state’s transportation plan, they would have to demonstrate that they will increase quality of service, safety and security, system preservation, environmental stewardship, and connectivity for daily life.
  • Establish regional transportation impact review. The Department of Transportation would have the authority to review large scale developments and submit to the local government the potential local and regional impacts of the project.
  • Create better tracking for transportation funds. Local governments would inform the state of how state and federal transportation dollars were spent each year. 
  • Promote bicycle and pedestrian bills.

5. Senate Bill 229/ House Bill 710 - Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding

  • Passed
  • Sponsor(s): Del. Howard , et al and Sen. Garagiola, et al
  • This bill establishes a Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) must provide staff support for the commission.
  • The commission must submit an interim report by January 1, 2011, and a final report by January 1, 2012, providing findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly.
  • Commission to identify alternative funding sources for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). New funding sources are essential to the health and sustainability of the TTF. The Maryland Chamber encourages the proposed Task Force to identify new opportunities and avenues to increase revenue to the fund.
  • Commission will study the state’s short- and long-term transportation funding needs.

6. House Bill 786 - Sidewalk or Bicycle Pathway Construction

  • HB786 Passed
  • Sponsored by Delegate Healey, et al
  • Requires the State Highway Administration to categorize in a specified manner and give corresponding funding priority to sidewalk or bicycle pathway construction projects located in a priority funding area under certain circumstances; authorizing the State to fund the entire cost of specified sidewalk or bicycle pathway construction projects; etc.

7. House Bill 388 and Senate Bill 870 Criminal Law - Manslaughter by Vehicle/Criminal Negligence Bill

  • Sponsored by Delegate Simmons (House) and Senator Haines (Senate).
  • The bill did not make it out of committee.
  • Please email your Delegates, particularly those in Prince George and Anne Arundel County, and tell them you support this important bill. Those in Montgomery County (District 16) are encouraged to email Senator Frosh, Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Also, emails to Delegate Busch are useful.
  • The bill creates the misdemeanor offense of criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle or vessel. The person causes a fatality by driving, when sober, in such a manner that they create a substantial risk and that risk is a substantial deviation from the standard of care that would be used by a reasonable person.
  • Bill information:
  • If this happened in Maryland the cyclist would not be able to recover damages . Why? Because he hit the rear part of the truck. After the fold a link to Washcycle's coverage of of a left crossed cyclist and our contributory negligence doctrine. See full article and video HERE.

8. Senate Bill 273 Vehicle Laws - Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death - Penalty

  • Sponsors are Delegates Carr and Bronrott.
  • Unfavorable Report by House Environmental Matters Committee.
  • “Crash encompasses a wider range of potential causes for vehicular crashes than does the term accident. A majority of fatal crashes are caused by intoxicated, speeding, distracted, or careless drivers and, therefore, are not accidents.”
  • Bill information:

Please support Bike Maryland.

Bike Maryland is a 501c3 non-profit organization and your contribution is tax deductible. The Bike Maryland volunteer Board of Directors and Executive Director provide direction to a diverse group of volunteers, along with minimal staff, to encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions, and provide a voice for bicyclists in Maryland.