Friday, February 5

From the Planner's Desk: It's Safe to Pass This Law

UPDATE: The bill passed the Senate 33-4.  Now it goes before the house.

Kentucky Senate Bill 80 has passed committee.  On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 the Senate Committee on Transportation voted unanimously to pass the bill.

SB 80 is the “Safe Passing Law” or “Three Foot Law” that has been championed by Dixie Moore and supported by various organizations and a host of individual cyclists and advocates.  Kentucky is one of only a very few states that do not already have some form of a safe passing law on the books.  It looks like we’re getting closer, though nothing is guaranteed at this point.

L to R: Asa Swan, Sen. Robin Webb, Troy Hearn, and Doug Brent
before the Senate Committee on Transportation

Unfortunately a controversial cyclist in Nicholasville a couple of years ago complicated the conversation.  Before that I had not heard the standard fare anti-cycling rhetoric that was so well rehearsed in the national dialogue and more specifically in Colorado where I lived for five years.

Yes, oddly enough, a more bicycle friendly state seemed to have greater controversy surrounding cycling than my “unfriendly” home state where I was pleasantly surprised upon moving back to discover that Kentucky drivers tend to slow down, get over, and in general act more friendly to cyclists.  At least in rural areas.

Something that struck me as odd was that a number of Senators on the committee cited the Kentucky Trail Town program and its exploded popularity among constituents across the state as influencing their support of the bill.  It’s not that I don’t see the value in the Trail Town program myself, but what mystified me was that it had such a profound effect on the legislators in regards to the bicycle safety bill.  I’ll take it!

So what’s next?  The bill is not yet a law.  First it must go before the full Senate for a vote.  Then to the House Committee on Transportation for a vote, then before the full House and finally before the Governor for his signature if it makes it that far.  We still have a few hurdles to get past, but this is a positive start to be certain.

Now the real legwork comes into play for advocates of this bill.  It’s time to ramp up the letter/email writing and phone call campaigns to Senators and Representatives.  It's time to storm the Capitol on our bikes!

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