4 APR 2004: Bike/Ped Safety Bill FINALLY in the FULL Missouri House

Cyclists,

The word we have is that the bicycle/pedestrian/motorcycle safety bill that we have been working on for two years will come to a vote on the Missouri House floor THIS WEEK (29 March-5 April, 2004).

[UPDATE 4 April 2004: The bill did not come up last week; our best information is that it is still at the top of the calendar and will come up soon, perhaps the week of 5-9 April 2004. Please keep flooding legislators email & phone lines!]

Our best chance for getting this passed is to FLOOD the email, fax, & phone lines of representatives across the state. Simple instructions below.

If you've called or emailed before, please do it again now that the time is at hand--your legislator could use the reminder!

What you can do: Contact your OWN Missouri Representative
Please contact your OWN individual Missouri representative and ask your representative to

"Please support the Bicycle/Pedestrian/Motorcycle Safety amendment that Rep. Cynthia Davis will offer to Rep. Crawford's HB1105."
Include your name and address & mention that you live or work in this rep's district (assuming you really do, of course).

Find a rep by zip: http://www.senate.state.mo.us/zipcode/leg_lookup.htm
List of reps: http://www.house.state.mo.us/bills041/member/memmail.htm
Thank you! Your calls and emails are moving bicycling forward in Missouri!

It is also helpful to also CC: or send a separate message to house leadership; leadership is really running a tight ship this year so getting their support is vital:

chanaway@services.state.mo.us (Catherine Hanaway, Speaker)
Rod.Jetton@house.mo.gov (Speaker Pro Tem)
Jason.Crowell@house.mo.gov (Majority Floor Leader)
Larry.Crawford@house.mo.gov (Chair of Trans. Committee)
More details about the amendment are below (feel free to quote them).

What happened: Bike/Ped Safety Bill has a chance!
Our email campaign has been working! Rep. Crawford (remarking about the very large number of emails he has received) has agreed to let Rep. Davis present our bike/ped/motorcycle safety bill as an amendment to Crawford's HB1105, when HB1105 comes before the full House.

Summary of the Proposed Amendment
The amendment that Rep. Davis will offer is based on HB 1122, which has bicycle/ped/motorcycle safety provisions and was co-sponsored by Reps Robin Wright Jones and Roy Holand. It is based on provisions of a bill, HB684, that was passed out of the House Transportation Committee last year (2003) with a "Do Pass" recommendation.

HB1122 has been pared down to its essentials, keeping it simple, non-controversial, and safety-oriented so that it can enjoy bipartisan support. Provisions:

1. Clarify bicycle lane law.
WHY? Right now, there is no MO law on bike lanes.
2. Clarify legality of bicyclist riding on road shoulders.
WHY? Right now it's not clear if MO law allows bicyclists to ride on the shoulder of the roadway. This creates all sorts of technical problems (can money be spent to improve a road shoulder on a rural highway for bicycling, if bicyclists can't legally ride there?)
3. Clarify definition of bicycle.
WHY? Broadens the definition of bicycle to include adult tricycles, quadracycles, and the like.
4. Drivers shall exercise the highest degree of care to avoid colliding with pedestrians bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
WHY? Current law includes only pedestrians. Current law is municipal law only, not state law.
5. Sets a state-wide standard of 20 MPH speed limit in school zones. Communities may specify "Fines Double in School Zones".
WHY? We want to encourage kids to walk and bike to school--one of the best ways to help the obesity epidemic affecting our kids. Statewide uniformity and tougher penalties help encourage drivers to slow down near schools. 20 MPH is at least 2X as safe for pedestrians as 25 MPH, and 8X as safe as 30 MPH.
In many areas of the state, 20 MPH is already the de facto standard for school zone speed limits. But in other areas, 25 MPH is used. The lack of uniformity confuses drivers and reduces compliance.
Though the school zone provision is designed to help create a statewide uniform standard in the ways where that is important and helpful, it also leaves maximum discretion in the hands of local authorities--for instance, local authorities can decide exactly which areas will and will not be labeled as school zones. The bill is written to avoid creating an "unfunded mandate," again leaving more discretion in the hands of local authorities, while still helping to create a degree of statewide uniformity where uniformity is helpful.