You don’t have to be a cyclist to save a cyclist’s life
Last week the Florida legislature started its six-week session. Two measures from the Florida Bicycle Association legislative platform went before committees and passed. Trust me when I tell you, this is a YAY moment.
For clarification, here are the two measures:
- HB 33 and SB 90: Make texting while driving a primary offense.
- HB 117 and SB 116: Add vulnerable road users to current Move Over law.
On making texting while driving a primary offense: The BIG NEWS is that HB 33 has public support from the Speaker of the House. The House bill currently has 49 co-sponsors. That’s 40% of the House of Representatives. That’s HUGE!
The Senate companion bill, SB 90, has 8 co-introducers, or 20% of the Senate. Again, this type of support is both encouraging and promising. This could be the year a much needed and necessary public safety measure becomes law.
On adding vulnerable road users to the current Move Over law: Prior to HB 117 being passed in its first House committee with none opposed, Rep Stone (bill sponsor) filed what is called a strike-all amendment. This means that all of the language of the original bill was deleted and replaced with new language. This new language amounts to 10 pages:
In essence, it was determined that using the statute definition of vulnerable road users would meet opposition. So, with careful and thoughtful research from Rep Stone and House staff, the bill is now more focused on bike/ped and therefore in no danger of debate to change a current definition or statute for vulnerable road users. Please take a moment to read the new bill as we move forward in support. The good news is that the new language does incorporate the spirit of the current Move Over law to apply to people (bike/ped); the even better news is that it addresses crossing a double yellow line to pass a cyclist and a few other safety measures to help motorists, cyclists and pedestrians share the road.
We encourage you to take a moment to send a thank you to the members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee for their support of HB 33 and HB 117. You can see who voted how on the House website: HB 33 and HB 117. You may also note the co-sponsors of each bill. If your House Representative is not a co-sponsor, please ask them to co-sponsor and support HB 33 and HB 117.
The next committee for HB 117 is House Government Accountability. Please make contact to ask for support. If you are in District 79, please ask Chair Caldwell to put HB 117 on the agenda.
The next committee for HB 33 is House Judiciary Committee. Please make contact to ask for support. If you are in District 65, please ask Chair Sprowls to put HB 33 on the agenda.
Please take a moment to send a thank you to the the Senate Transportation Committee for their support of SB 90. For those in District 2, please add a special message to Chair Gainer to put SB 116 (companion bill to HB 117) on the agenda.
Next stop for SB 90 is Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. Please make contact to ask for support. If you are in District 10, please ask Chair Simpson to put SB 90 on the agenda.
We encourage our members to stay engaged, to keep asking elected officials for their support and most importantly, to thank them for their efforts. Let them know they don’t have to be a cyclist to save a cyclist’s life. In fact, support of HB 33 / SB 90 and HB 117 / SB 117 will save lives, period.
You can follow the 2018 FL legislative session for yourself by visting each chamber’s website and utilizing the TRACKING feature:
Keep fighting the good fight with FBA!
For a more comprehensive legislative update from the MPOAC, please go to our membership website: Documents/Legislative Platform/2018 FL Legislative Updates
Do you have a bicycle story to tell? Photos to share? Be our guest and be our next guest blogger! Send your story and photos to Becky@floridabicycle.org.
Speaking of stories, our quarterly Messenger newsletter is available online for your internet reading pleasure. Visit the FBA website Home page or click here. Want a hard copy of our Messenger? Join Florida Bicycle Association or visit one of our bicycle shop members!
Complete Streets Savvy, or CSS, is a general bicycle educational presentation. The purpose is to provide basic information with regards to the Florida Department of Transportation’s adoption of Complete Streets policy and how cyclists and motorists can share the road safely. This presentation runs 10 – 15 minutes and is designed for legislators, county and city elected officials, civic organizations and other entities that meet regularly and need informative content. There is no fee. Visit the FBA Presentations page to see our complete line of signature presentations.
Have you heard? We have Move Over for People bill sponsors!! Thank you Senator Baxley, District 12, for filing SB 116 and House Representative Stone, District 22, for filing HB 117. Would you like to work the process with us to see these bills become a law? Visit our Legislative Platform page to learn more about our advocacy initiatives and to sign up for our 2018 Florida legislative session email updates.
Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association share a common cause in bicycle education and promotion for residents and visitors to the Sunshine State. Share the Road license plate proceeds benefit Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association to further these efforts. What’s on your motor vehicle? Get the Share the Road license plate!