Sorry I haven’t posted of late; the traveling and recovery from traveling took a bit of time. Plus had to do the work that pays the bills.
So as the NE Unicameral’s sesson ends on June 5th, let’s take a look at how the bicycling community fared.
LB39, which provided for safer passing of bicycles by motor vehicles, stalled in Transportation & Telecommunications Committee and is lables as “Indefinitely Postponed.” I think the most memorable tidbit for me in this one was a senator’s comment that this would make Nebraska “the only state with such a law.” Takeaway: how to reframe that in his mind to “the FIRST state.” This one was a FAIL.
At the same time that LB39 was postponed, LB95 was being signed into law by the governor. This law conveyed to electric and electric-assist bicycles all the rights accorded to those riding a bicycle. This bill was one I had mixed feelings about. While I agree that such rights should for the most part be granted, I feared for the safety of those who used the trails along side them. A grudging PASS.
So let’s move on to LB641, which protected users of crosswalks. It finally got out of the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee, but ONLY after references to persons riding bicycles was stripped out of the bill. Once on the floor, another amendment attempted, but failed, to restore the stricken portions of the bill. It now awaits expected final passage, then on to the Governor’s desk. This is a FAIL.
Next up is LB38, the bill that would stiffen the penalties for those causing the death of a vulnerable road user. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure where this bill stands; it was discussed in committee back on 1/20/15, but no other action is on record for the bill. At this point, we’ll just not pass judgement on it.
So there you have it. Four bills that would have directly impacted the cycling community of Nebraska: One pass, two fails, and one in the air. Grade for the first session thus far: 50%. In reading through some of the transcripts, it obvious that the Nebraska Bicycle Alliance is out there trying on our behalf. They do need our support, though. When you see a call to action, whether it’s from this blog, a Twitter feed, a Facebook post, or email from a friend or organization, take heed. Let your representatives in the Unicameral know that we bike, we walk, and we vote.