Contact House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee Members Today!
Legislation to enact a statewide 5-foot passing law continues to be discussed in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. A specified distance (5-feet) could be stripped out of the legislation (or worse). Please email the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members and urge them to enact the strongest safe passing law by keeping a specified distance in the bill. After signing, be sure to share this action with your friends and loved ones.
We only have a short window to make an impact, please be sure take action today! Background info and the latest update as of 1/16/18 is below.
At a hearing in front of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the workgroup on bicycle safety did recommend removing a specific distance from the legislation in favor of more general language. However, members of the workgroup, as well as other members of the Committee, did acknowledge the bicycle community's firm stance on keeping a specified distance and publically vocalized their support for doing so. The Committee did not put the matter to a vote. We are optimistic that the door is open to continued discussion and to keep a specific distance in the bill.
Possible language reported to LMB earlier in the week that would have stripped protections for bicyclists was not discussed at today's hearing. We are cautiously optimistic that the "worst case scenario" version of the bill is off the table at this point.
Finally, we are happy to report that the workgroup was able to work out concerns regarding the House version of our driver's ed improvement bill, HB 4198, with the Secretary of State's Office. We expect to see this bill advance soon.
In summary, though we don't know what a final version of the bill will look like, your efforts the past few days held the line and avoided the worst for now. In just a few days, we had thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls flood the offices of Chairman Cole and the Committee members. Though the process of passing legislation can take a long time, if we continue to show a strong unified voice we will see these bills continue to move forward until they are signed into law.
Thank you, once again, to everyone who took action to help save our 5-foot passing bill. You are making an impact!
BACKGROUND: In November 2017 the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard testimony on HB 4265, legislation to enact a statewide 5-foot passing law. After hearing powerful testimony from advocates, victims, and organizational partners, Chairman Triston Cole announced that he was forming a five-member legislative workgroup to discuss the bills in more detail. LMB was invited to participate in the workgroup and prepared recommendations on behalf of the bicycling community to add to the discussion when the workgroup met in December.
Despite clear support from the bill sponsors, LMB, and others to keep a defined distance within the legislation, the workgroup is likely to recommend the elimination of "five feet" as the defined safe distance as outlined in the original legislation and instead endorse general language that states drivers "shall pass at a safe distance to the left of that bicycle at a safe speed..."
Additionally, the workgroup concluded business after two meetings, before discussing numerous suggestions offered by LMB to improve the legislation.
LMB heard conflicting possibilities of what revised safe passing legislation could look like ahead of the presentation of the workgroup's recommendations during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing on Tuesday, January 16. Reports on what the final workgroup recommendation will be ranged from altering our 5-foot legislation to make it 3-feet, to stripping the bill entirely of a specified distance, to alarming discussions that could attempt to strip bicyclists of existing protections and poison the legislation entirely. For this reason, we launched a phone and email action urging Chairman Cole to continue the dialog on a safe passing bill that provides a specific distance and fully considers opportunities to strengthen the bill.
“I’m worried about working on passing good policy. Good policy always comes first,” stated Chairman Cole in an interview with Guy Gordon on WJR on 1-3-18, LMB does not believe that eliminating a specific distance from the bill is not good policy.
In 2016, 38 cyclists were killed on Michigan roads and another 2,000 were injured. This was nearly double over the previous year. 2017 proved to be yet another tragic year for Michigan cyclists. Michigan is only one of eleven states without a law on how to safely pass bicyclists. Currently, 30 states have safe passing laws with specified distances, while only nine have general safe passing language. Instead of following the lead of these nine states who opted for generic passing laws, Michigan is in a unique position to become a national leader on this important public safety issue and ultimately prevent more needless tragedies on Michigan roadways. We are asking Chairman Cole for his continued consideration and leadership on this issue to ensure Michigan enacts the strongest safe passing law possible.