Increasing Penalties for Injuring & Killing Bicyclists

League of Michigan BicyclistsThis just in from the League of Michigan Bicyclists. We could use cyclists contacting their State Representative and Senator to make sure these bills get passed.

Legislative Action Alert

Tell your Legislator to Support HB 6299 and HB 6300, make roads safer for cyclists.

Representatives Andy Coulouris (D-Saginaw) and David Palsrok (R-Manistee) on June 29 introduced House Bills 6299 and 6300, which enhance penalties for moving violations causing physical injury or death to bicyclists and other vulnerable roadway users.

Senator Tom George (R-Kalamazoo) has committed to introduce Senate companion bills with the same language. (Check www.LMB.org/advocacycenter.htm) for future information, including Senate bill numbers and co-sponsors.)

A teen on a bike deserves the same protection as one driving a tractor. These bills will make Michigan roadways safer for bicyclists and all vulnerable users of our taxpayer-funded road system.

Bill Excerpts

(1) A “VULNERABLE ROADWAY USER” IS DEFINED AS A PEDESTRIAN OR A PERSON OPERATING A NONMOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION DEVICE (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO A BICYCLE).

(2) A PERSON WHO COMMITS A MOVING VIOLATION AND AS A RESULT CAUSES INJURY TO A VULNERABLE ROADWAY USER ON A HIGHWAY WHO IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS ACT IS GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT MORE THAN 1 YEAR OR A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN $1,000.00, OR BOTH.

(3) A PERSON WHO COMMITS A MOVING VIOLATION AND AS A RESULT CAUSES DEATH TO A VULNERABLE ROADWAY USER ON A HIGHWAY WHO IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS ACT IS GUILTY OF A FELONY PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT MORE THAN 15 YEARS OR A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN $7,500.00, OR BOTH.

Please write your Representative today and ask him or her to support HB 6299 & 6300! A sample letter is reproduced below. Also, please make sure to thank your legislator if he/she is sponsoring or co-sponsoring one of these bills, or commits to voting for it. Copy LMB with any letter of support you receive.

Current Sponsors and Co-sponsors:
Andy Coulouris (primary HB 6300)
David Palsrok (primary HB 6299)
George Cushingberry, Jr. (D-Detroit)
Marie Donigan (D-Royal Oak)
Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland)
Joe Hune (R-Hamburg)
Robert Jones (D-Kalamazoo)
Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland)
Gabe Leland (D-Detroit)
Mark Meadows (D-E. Lansing)
Andy Meisner (D-Ferndale)
Fred Miller (D-Mount Clemens)
Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor)

HB 6300 & 6299 have been referred to the House Transportation Committee. Constituent letters to Committee members are especially important right now.

Transportation Committee Members:
Hoon-Yung Hopgood, Committee Chair, (D-Westlake, Taylor)
Martin J. Griffin (D), Majority Vice-Chair, 64th District
Frank Accavitti Jr. (D-South Park, Eastpointe)
Steve Bieda (D-Warren)
Marie Donigan (D-Royal Oak) *
Kate Ebli (D-Monroe)
Gabe Leland (D-Detroit) *
Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City)
Fred Miller (D-Mount Clemens) *
Coleman A. Young II (D-Detroit)
Philip LaJoy, Minority Vice-Chair (R-Canton)
Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba)
Neal Nitz (R-Baroda)
Phil Pavlov (R-St Clair Township)
Tom Pearce (R-Rockford)
John Stahl (R-North Branch)
Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy)

* Committee members already co-sponsoring HB 6300 & 6299

Find full bills and legislator addresses at: www.LMB.org/advocacycenter.htm or call the LMB office at 1-888-642-4537.

Sample Letter

The Honorable ________________________

[Address]

[Date]

Dear [Representative] _____________________,

As a citizen of your district, I urge you to support HB 6299 and 6300, which enhance penalties for moving violations causing physical injury or death to bicyclists and other vulnerable roadway users. These bills will make the penalties for injuring or killing a bicyclist the same as those enacted in 2001 for drivers who injure or kill people operating (typically slow-moving) farm vehicles.

Rising energy prices and concerns about health, fitness and the environment have put more people on bicycles and more bikes on the road. They must no longer be treated as eccentrics, annoyances to drivers, or second-class citizens. They are our brothers and sisters, our parents and our children. More and more, people will need to use bikes to get from home to school and work. They are entitled to safe use of Michigan roads. They too deserve a “brake.”

A driver convicted of seriously injuring or killing a bicyclist can serve as little as days or months. Too many motorists consider cyclists “fair game” for intimidation, harassment, endangerment and outright vehicular assault. This bill will give judges and prosecutors more tools for controlling aggressive or reckless drivers. Specific penalties for injuring or killing a bicyclist will deter drivers from endangering bicyclists and other vulnerable roadway users.

Thank you for seriously considering this issue. Please tell me that you will support HB 6299 and 6300 to save lives. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

[Your Name,

Your Address,

Your Telephone #]

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