HB 4265, our safe passing bill, passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on March 6th, with substitute language that changes the distance requirement from 5-feet to 3-feet. The committee also added language that creates an exception to allow drivers to pass at a "safe distance" and "safe speed" if 3-feet is not possible. Though the substitution deviates from LMB's goal of a statewide 5-ft passing requirement, LMB chose to support this version of the bill.
While the distance language was a significant compromise, LMB negotiated a number of improvements to the bill. These included language to allow drivers to pass cyclists in no passing zones and establishing a consistent standard for passing both to the left and right of a cyclist. Additionally, we successfully removed language that gave drivers two warnings before they would receive points for a violation.
After being recommended to the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee in February 2017, LMB faced an uphill battle to get a hearing and vote on the legislation. As the Committee considered the bill, many changes were proposed. A few of these suggestions went so far as to strip the bill of a required distance. Another actually took rights away from bicyclists. At times, the suggested modifications forced LMB to consider withdrawing support for the bill entirely.
Over the last year, after hearing testimony from supporters, numerous workgroup meetings with LMB and partners, and receiving thousands of communications from individual supporters through LMB action alerts, the Committee settled on the substitute language adopted on March 6th.
The fight is not over! The full House will now consider the recommendation of the Committee. LMB will continue to work to fight for the strongest safe passing law possible. We will need your help. We hope you will continue to engage with your state Representatives on this important issue. Look for a new Action Alert from LMB in the coming days and be ready to contact your Representatives to voice your support for a policy that is strong, clear, and enforceable.