Any news on today's HB170 vote?
I haven’t been able to find anything on the outcome…
At long last, HB170 has been scheduled for a vote in the Senate! This is Pennsylvania’s long-awaited state-wide safe Passing bill. Harrisburg may be poised finally to put PA is safe PAssing for cyclists.
HB 170 requires motorists to give cyclists four feet of room when passing. Is passed, it will move Pennsylvania into the ranks of states who provide cyclists with more protection from passing motor vehicles.
HB170 is on the Senate calendar for Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Nothing updated as of 3:45 a.m. 1/18/2012:
just got word this passed by a vote of 45 to 5. Ferlo was one of 5 nay votes
Subject: Your nay vote on HB170 PA Safe Passing Legislation
I find this very disappointing. As avid recreational riders as well as commuter cyclists my wife and I, along with many friends and co-workers, have experienced countless unsafe passes from motorists who refuse to yield enough lane for other road users to travel safely or to wait the extra 30 seconds it would take to be able to do so easily. Voting no on this bill shows a lack of dedication to the safety of a large and growing number of your constituents, and will most assuredly be remembered by many of us and our loved ones at the polls.
Senator Ferlo got back to me. Even though I met with him personally about this bill, he heard from a caucus leader that some other bicycle organization opposed it. Which is true. This guy John Schubert who sits on the PA Pedalcycle Advisory Committee who doesn’t really represent much of anyone opposed it. Anyway, he’s been around forever and answers to no one, but for some reason electeds respect him (maybe ?). This is why we need a strong state bike/ped group. PA Walks & Bikes is trying, but we need funding and a full time person to lead the charge.
Does John Schubert live in Senator Ferlo’s district?
Edit to add: Found this after a google search,
“PPAC DEBATES THE MERITS AND RAISES CONCERNS OF HB 170…
At the December 15 meeting. In a bit of a surprise discussion topic, John Schubert, long time
advocate and expert witness expressed his concerns over the effects of the pending Bicycle
Safety Bill, HB 170 (see above). He noted that the current bill is flawed by reinserting the “farright” rule as it applies to bicyclists, which he and other advocates worked hard to have removed from the Vehicle Code in the mid-1990’s. John opined that the general public and law
enforcement agencies will misinterpret the confusing phrase “as far to the right as practicable”
while disregarding the “unless unsafe to do so” provision. A lively discussion continued to
weigh the options of the bill’s future.
BAC continues to support HB 170 with expectations that its passage will be the opportunity to
include updates to law enforcement in standard in-service training sessions affirming bicyclists’
rights to the commonwealth’s roadways — something that rarely gets much attention beyond
basic training. Updates are provided to Pennsylvania State Police members and all other law
enforcement entities are trained by the Municipal Police Officers’ Educational and Training
Commission (MPOETC). “
Apparently he gets around:
John Schubert is technical editor of Adventure Cyclist magazine, an expert witness in bicycle accident reconstruction, a candidate member of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, secretary of the Pennsylvania Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and founder and chairman of the BicyclePA touring route network.
He’s even on Sheldon’s page which includes an email addy
Scott, have you spoken to this John Schubert character about this (or in general)? Seems like a good person to have on our side.
I’d like to know what the basis for his objection is – is there a technical legal detail that I’m missing (paging Ian…). To my non-lawyer’s eye, “as far to the right as practicable… unless it is unsafe to do so” is already part of the law applying to bicyclists:
§ 3505. Riding on roadways and pedalcycle paths.
(c) Slower than prevailing speeds.–A pedalcycle operated at slower than prevailing speed shall be operated in accordance with the provisions of section 3301(b) (relating to driving on right side of roadway) unless it is unsafe to do so.
The existing 3301(b) says:
(b) Vehicle proceeding at less than normal speed.–Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway. This subsection does not apply to a driver who must necessarily drive in a lane other than the right-hand lane to continue on his intended route.
Which is identical to the proposed 3301(c)(1) except that ‘any vehicle’ is replaced with ‘any pedalcycle operating in accordance with Chapter 35’, and the entire last sentence has been omitted. That last bit is troubling, since it would appear to make it illegal to ride a bicycle in the “straight” lane when a right turning lane is present. I can’t believe that is intentional but as far as I can tell, that is technically what the proposed law says. I think it’s valid to object to the wording on that basis, which doesn’t mean the whole law should be scrapped – re-inserting the deleted sentence should correct the problem.
I might also object to the “unsafe surface conditions” wording in the proposed 3301(c)(2)(i) – that sounds more restrictive than “unless it is unsafe to do so” language in 3305(c) – which continues to exist despite being somewhat redundant and slightly contradictory. Maybe that’s his main objection, and now that I think about it that does bug me. I don’t see a definition of “surface conditions” in Section 102, but it might be interpreted to apply to the road surface only, in which case taking the lane to stay out of the door zone might be technically illegal.
ok, that’s way more than I intended to write, but I think there are some valid concerns with the bill as written.
I understand his concern and I too, love Adventure Cycling, but is John Schubert even from Pennsylvania? Adventure Cycling is based in Montana… granted I’m sure he could work remotely.
founder and chairman of the BicyclePA touring route network.
I take that to mean that he must live here. The Adventure Cycling site lists him as a technical editor but doesn’t include him on their list of staff and/or board.
He has a linkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-schubert/7/94b/b9b which states that he lives in Allentown.
makes sense. I figured some bicyclists would oppose it on the basis of not wanting to subjugate bicycles to a sub-class of vehicle with a sub-class of rights to the road.
Just guessing that he is a vehicular cyclist who will oppose any bike related law or infrastructure.
I think he sounds like an experienced guy who’s trying to keep cyclists safe in a way that jives with his experience (which seems pretty deep).
Listening in to way more experienced and smarter people debate this here and other places, I’m still not sure how I feel about this law. I hope it makes a difference somehow, but I’m not confident that it will (positive or negative). What I’d like is a shift in society’s view of cars as necessary and bicycles as the choices of either elitists or poor people (how can it be the vehicle of choice of both demographics?). I don’t think this law will either help achieve that or inhibit it.
Enacting /something/, and thus generating a small story and maybe a little discussion, might help, though. Maybe that’s my rosy glasses talking again.
Sure, it’s possible the guy would oppose any bill – or maybe he has some legitimate concerns. “As close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway” already applies to bicycles today, though, so the part about “reinserting” that makes no sense to me.
An often overlooked aspect of why this is important is because it gives the police a clearer understanding of how bikes should be treated on the roads to help give direction in their training. It also gives the go-ahead for potential questions on driver’s exams as well as being able to put this info into driver training manuals, etc. So it does serve as a serious educational tool as well.
@cburch Thanks for including the email address. That made it easy for me to send my (uh…rather inarticulate) message.
Topic: You voted “no” on on HB170 Safe
I use a bicycle for my main means of transportation. That makes issues
such as this very important to me.
I was disappointed in your vote. I have never voted Republican in my
life, but that could change.
So when does this go into effect?
Edit: Nevermind, it’s at the bottom of the bill. 60 days.
Thanks to everybody who helped make this happen. I’m getting one of these: http://www.3feetplease.com/. Except I guess it should be 4 feet here. Close enough.
BTW I don’t know if it helps but I always like to write to the legislators who voted the way I wanted them to and thank them for their vote. It seems to me that they get a lot of advocacy email and a thank you might stick in their minds more than just another request.
ok, I’m not too optimistic about the possibility of having a meaningful discussion with Schubert after seeing this: http://www.labreform.org
He’s also involved with this, which seems a little more reasonable: http://bikelaws.org/laws/Pennsylvania.pdf
PA actually gets a pretty good grade there aside from the part about allowing local bike ordinances, which comprises most of the points deducted. They even call 3505(c) a “very significant improvement” over the UVC…
So, aside from the two issues I brought up I don’t get his objection. I think those two issues are significant though, and I’ll be upset if this bill passes the senate without being amended to correct them (unless someone can explain to me where I’m wrong).
Crap, I forgot I’m not in Ferlo’s district.
Also I missed that this was the Senate vote on a House Bill and it had already passed the House – so much for any amendments.
I tend to think that Schubert has failed in several ways regardless of his intention. First and foremost, I would think that BikePgh represents a reasonably large demographic in our state and I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t reach out to groups such as ours in order to clarify his positions and possibly win more support to his cause.
It’s also possible that as a touring bicyclist, his observations and conclusions wouldn’t necessarily hold true in an urban environment. What is good for rural bikes in PA may or may not be good for bikes in Phila./Pgh. We need to figure out whether we agree with him and work along side him or whether we do in fact need an alternative voice for cycling in PA. There is also a generational torch being passed, as he grew up in a very different culture than what is now driving the growth of recreational cycling. He may or may not be out of touch with new trends, it’s difficult to say. I guess we just have to wait and see how things develop. I presume that someone from bikepgh will be contacting him in order to gain a better understanding of his position?
@Todd After the bill becomes a law, we can still ask for a “technical correction” to update the “far right” language to the consistant “as practicable” language which will address the “door zone” and right turning lane questions.
It’s official. Corbett signed the bill.
goes into effect in 60 days
It’s worth mentioning that I emailed Rep. Harry Readshaw and urged him to vote for the bill. He responded about 1/2 hour later by email, as follows:
Your request is reasonable and I am in agreement with you.
When I looked at the bill a little later I saw that he was a sponsor, which I did not know.
Anonymous 02/23/2012 at 3:29pm #
To help educate the public to HB 170, a
“4′ (with arrow)” T shirt for riders may help serve notice to drivers. Also important to educate novice bike riders to “ride right” (stay on the right side of the road).
For inquiring minds:
The Pennsylvania Pedalcycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee is appointed by the governor. We meet about five times per year, usually in Harrisburg, to discuss bicycling and pedestrian issues. By law, our purpose is to advise all branches of state government on these issues.
Location (presumably of Schubert, not of the PPAC)
5996 Beverly HIlls Road
Coopersburg, PA 18036-2603
Phone: (610) 282-3085
Coopersburg? That’s my hometown!
My question about this bill is about the right hook provision. The way I see it is this:
Right hooks were already illegal, weren’t they? You can’t turn across somebody going straight. Turners always yield.
So is putting it on the books just meant to add weight to a case about a right hook, in case the judge/jury are all “blast those two wheeled terrors zooming up the right side of the road”?
The way I take it, we shouldn’t need any of these new rules because there is a “reckless driving” statute. Of course the reality is we DO need more specific laws – against speeding, drinking and driving, etc. So I would put HB170 into that second more specific category. I think it’s a good thing to have laws specifically written for cyclists. It’s one more tool in the LEO & DA toolbox.
I occasionally chime in on these boards when a newsletter sparks a random idea. There are a few companies that make cameras for cars and trucks, often used to provide evidence in the case of an accident or someone simply being a mean or reckless driver. They basically continuously record and store the last x minutes of video. If a company could be persuaded to make a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use version for cyclists, and it became common knowledge that some proportion of cyclists had these cameras, that might have a positive effect as well. With any law, reporting and enforcement (without too much big brother) pose additional challenges. Or maybe this technology is already out there. Heck, cyclists might become an even greater asset to the community, providing evidence of other pedestrian and traffic injustices. And if they wore an “eyes on the road” t-shirt to alert motorists, it would also be free adv. for the company. A possible win-win on many fronts. Joggers and other pedestrians might be interested in the same product. As I don’t have time to explore this further, perhaps someone else will find it inspiring! The other piece would be to link it with some type of centralized reporting system–I know a few locally-born orgs like Rhiza Labs have done some work w/ GPS and public data tools.
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