Maryland State Senate supports bikes

Five cycling safety bills pass General Assembly

Maryland may be moving up the ladder in the League of American Bicyclists Bike-Friendly ranking.

The Senate passed five cycling-safety related bills at the State’s General Assembly this month. The new legislature includes five smart transportation bills and One Less Car says this is cause for celebration.

Maryland is currently ranked 40 out of 50 by the League of American Bicyclists due to a lack of bike safety legislation, according to One Less Car representative Carol Silldorf. The Maryland-based alternative transportation advocacy group works to help communities reclaim the rights of cyclists and walkers.

The organization champions alternative transportation through education, lobbying and increased dialogue between communities, governments, state and local representatives, according to its mission statement.

Three of the cycling specific safety bills passed in the Senate including SB 624 Shoulder Rule bill, SB 51, the Three Foot Rule, and House Bill 282, Funding for Bike/Pedestrian Access.

The remaining two bills include HB 1155 Transportation Transparency and SB 229/HB 710. The General Assembly passed legislation (SB 229/HB 710) to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding to study the state’s short- and long-term transportation funding needs.

“Now that these laws exist the rating may rise, but still much more is needed,” Silldorf said. “The new three foot rule only applies on certain roads, not on all roads, as we think it should. While it is a big success for us that the law passed we still want the law strengthened. The shoulder bill is important because it allows a cyclist to choose where it is safest to ride and the other bills provide for transparency within the funding decision making process and make bike and pedestrian safety and facilities a higher priority. Additionally, there are other bills that didn't pass which are very important.” 

Moving forward One Less Car hopes to influence the strengthening of the three-foot rule, while devoting resources to passing the manslaughter by vehicle bill. One Less Car also has plans to introduce a bill to increase tax credits for bicyclists and continue their support for all legislation that promotes safe and effective alternate means of transportation.

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