2017-2018 Legislative Session
We've got a huge bill to pass!
Update as of 2/8 ---
The deadline for the Joint Committee on Transportation to report on An Act to reduce traffic fatalities (S.1905/H.2877) has been extended to March 2.
There's still time and we need your help to pass this omnibus traffic safety bill that was drafted in partnership with legislators and a larger group of advocates from various organizations such as the Vision Zero Coalition, Livable Streets, WalkBoston and the Boston Cyclists Union.
How can you help?
- Send an email to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation and your state legislators (see template email provided below). Emails should be sent to the committee chairs, copying your Representative and Senator (need to find out who that is? Click here!), by Thursday, February 1st. Find out if your legislators are co-sponsors of the bill at the bottom of this page. Please copy email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org on your email.
What's an omnibus bill?
An omnibus bill is a proposed law that covers a number of diverse topics. Our hope is that through these measures we can make our roadways safer for our members and the bicycling community, as well as other roadway users.
Here's a summary of the topics covered in the bill:
Summary: An Act to reduce traffic fatalities (Senate Bill #1905, House Bill #2877)
- Requires state owned and state contracted trucks to be equipped with sideguards between their front and rear wheels to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from falling underneath the chassis if impacted. Also requires convex and crossover mirrors.
- Lowers default speed limit on state highways and parkways in thickly settled or business districts from 30mph to 25mph.
- Prohibits usage of mobile devices, except those in hands-free mode, while operating a motor vehicle.
- Requires bicyclists to use both a rear red light and red reflector when riding at night.
- Requires motor vehicles to pass cyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road at a distance of at least three feet when traveling at 30mph or less, with an additional foot of clearance for every 10 mph above 30mph. Allows motor vehicles to cross a double yellow line into an adjacent travel lane, when it is safe to do so, if needed to achieve a safe passing distance.
- Allow cities and towns to operate limited automatic road safety camera systems. Violations issued through such systems are limited to speeding, red light violations and right turn violations and may be installed on school buses. The maximum fine is $50. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for the violation, not necessarily the operator. The violations do not go on a driver’s record and are not surchargeable offenses. Such systems shall only capture photographs and other evidence when a violation occurs. All photographs and recorded evidence captured through such a system shall be destroyed within 48 hours of its final disposition and shall not be shared for any other purpose. 80% of the revenue collected from these provisions would be required to be spent on local road improvements.
- Allows bicyclists to continue straight through an intersection upon a leading pedestrian interval (a walk signal followed by a green light three to seven seconds later), allows bicyclists to treat a red light signal as a stop sign if there is no road to the right, and allows bicyclists to proceed through a red light signal if it proves unresponsive after two minutes.
- Technical change to clarify that a bicyclist may pass to the right of a motor vehicle to whenever a motor vehicle is being operated in a travel lane; currently, the statute reads that a bicyclist may only pass to the right when a motor vehicle is moving in a travel lane.
- Requires the state to issue new guidelines for signage for bicycle, pedestrian, and other non-motorized routes.
- Requires the state to develop a standardized reporting tool be used by a first responder called to the scene of a pedestrian or cyclist crash or incident.
- Establishes that a motor vehicle must yield to a bicyclist at an intersection of a bicycle path and a road, so long as the crossing is marked.
- Requires the state to develop a curriculum for elementary school students emphasizing safe bicycling, pedestrian, and motor vehicle practices.
If the bill is reported favorably by this committee, it will be sent on to the House or Senate Ways and Means Committee. If it is reported unfavorable or "studied," it would essentially be dead for the remainder of this legislative session.
EMAIL INSTRUCTIONS AND SAMPLE TEXT
Recommended email subject: Support of An Act to reduce traffic fatalities S1905/H2877
Sample email text:
Dear Senator Boncore, Representative Straus, and members of the Joint Committee on Transportation,
I am writing to urge a favorable report for An Act to reduce traffic fatalities, (S1905 - Brownsberger, H2877 - Hecht and Rogers).
Serious injury and deaths from traffic crashes continue with troubling frequency on our streets. An Act to reduce traffic fatalities S1905/H2877 is a comprehensive piece of legislation which aims to create safer streets for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, and passengers of motor vehicles.
[Tell your own story here. Why is this bill important to you?]
Thanks again for your consideration, and I urge a favorable report for this bill.
city/town, state, zip
Thanks to a fantastic effort by our members and the cycling community, we secured an outstanding number of co-sponsors and initial support for An Act to reduce traffic fatalities.
Here are the Senators and Representatives who have signed on to the bill:
Michael Barrett, 3rd Middlesex
Joseph Boncore, 1st Suffolk and Middlesex
William Brownsberger, 2nd Suffolk and Middlesex
Cynthia Stone Creem, 1st Middlesex and Norfolk
Sal DiDomenico, Middlesex and Suffolk
James Eldridge, Middlesex and Worcester
Jennifer Flanagan, Worcester and Middlesex
Kathleen O'Connor Ives, 1st Essex
Patricia Jehlen, 2nd Middlesex
Eric Lesser, 1st Hampden and Hampshire
Jason Lewis, 5th Middlesex
Joan Lovely, 2nd Essex
Thomas McGee, 3rd Essex
Michael Moore, 2nd Worcester
Michael Rush, Norfolk and Suffolk
James Arciero, 2nd Middlesex
Brian Michael Ashe, 2nd Hampden
Cory Atkins, 14th Middlesex
Bruce Ayers, 1st Norfolk
Ruth Balser, 12th Middlesex
Christine Barber, 34th Middlesex
Jennifer Benson, 37th Middlesex
Paul Brodeur, 32nd Middlesex
Antonio Cabral, 13th Bristol
Thomas Calter, 12th Plymouth
Gailanne Cariddi, 1st Berkshire
Tackey Chan, 2nd Norfolk
Nicholas Collins, 4th Suffolk
Mike Connolly, 26th Middlesex
Edward Coppinger, 10th Suffolk
Brendan Crighton, 11th Essex
Daniel Cullinane, 12th Suffolk
Marjorie Decker, 25th Middlesex
Diana DiZoglio, 14th Essex
Daniel Donahue, 16th Worcester
William Driscoll, 7th Norfolk
Carolyn Dykema, 8th Middlesex
Tricia Farley-Bouvier, 3rd Berkshire
Sean Garballey, 23rd Middlesex
Denise Garlick, 13th Norfolk
Carmine Gentile, 13th Middlesex
Solomon Goldstein-Rose, 3rd Hampshire
Kenneth Gordon, 21st Middlesex
Danielle Gregoire, 4th Middlesex
Jonathan Hecht, 29th Middlesex
Paul Heroux, 2nd Bristol
Bradford Hill, 4th Essex
Kevin Honan, 17th Suffolk
Dan Hunt, 13th Suffolk
Jay Kaufman, 15th Middlesex
Kay Khan, 11th Middlesex
Peter Kocot, 1st Hampshire
Stephen Kulik, 1st Franklin
John Lawn, 10th Middlesex
Jack Patrick Lewis, 7th Middlesex
Jay Livingstone, 8th Suffolk
Adrian Madaro, 1st Suffolk
John Mahoney, 13th Worcester
Elizabeth Malia, 11th Suffolk
Joseph McGonagle, 28th Middlesex
Paul McMurtry, 11th Norfolk
James Miceli, 19th Middlesex
Aaron Michlewitz, 3rd Suffolk
Rady Mom, 18th Middlesex
David Muradian, 9th Worcester
Mathew Muratore, 1st Plymouth
David Nangle, 17th Middlesex
Sarah Peake, 4th Barnstable
Alice Peisch, 14th Norfolk
Denise Provost, 27th Middlesex
Angelo Puppolo, Jr., 12th Hampden
David Rogers, 24th Middlesex
John Rogers, 12th Norfolk
Jeffrey Roy, 10th Norfolk
Byron Rushing, 9th Suffolk
Dan Ryan, 2nd Suffolk
JohnScibak, 2nd Hampshire
FrankSmizik, 15th Norfolk
Thomas Stanley, 9th Middlesex
William Straus, 10th Bristol
Paul Tucker, 7th Essex
Steven Ultrino, 33rd Middlesex
Aaron Vega, 5th Hampden
John Velis, 4th Hampden
Chris Walsh, 6th Middlesex