Key Bicycle and Pedestrian Amendment Passes in House Transportation

We are celebrating an important victory today!

This afternoon, in the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee, legislators voted unanimously in support of amendments that add bicycle and pedestrian projects to the eligible list to receive funds in the Connect Oregon program.

After months of conversations with partners, stakeholders, and lawmakers and tons of public input from grassroots supporters and community leaders we are thrilled to see this program move one step closer to expanding to include biking and walking.

We are grateful for the unanimous support of Committee members and look forward to continuing this important conversation as the bill now moves to Ways and Means.

One important note, this amendment does not dedicate any specific dollar amount to biking and walking. The amendment does open up the door to funds that we hope to grow to $100 million. The BTA will continue to work to ensure that the 2013 Oregon Legislature does commit dedicated funding to bicycle projects to help meet this growing community need.

Our work is certainly not done, but for now we can thank members of the committee (their email addresses are here) and celebrate a victory on the path to improving conditions for biking and walking!

Comment

Comments (2)

  1. Rose Wilde Permalink  | Mar 26, 2013 03:44am

    I am glad to see this news, but I was sorry to read today that the BTA is opposing Senator Chris Edward’s effort to raise the age to require bicycle helmets. I doubt this minor shift (which would require helmets for bicyclists under 18, instead of the current under 16 requirement) would inhibit bicycle usage. Personally, I was rather shocked to see the BTA using their legislative influence in such a manner. I always wear a bicycle helmet, because I value my head but also because I want to communicate to the children who see me that responsible adults use helmets. Most under 18 year old people are attending school and in a position to influence perceptions of their younger counter parts. Requiring helmets of 16 and 17 year old people would most likely result in fewer injuries and deaths to children and increase the perception that “everyone” wears a helmet. Frankly, I’m disappointed. I always like BTA, but now I’m thinking this is an organization that gets in the way of common sense policies to increase the safety of children.

  2. Dave Permalink  | Mar 26, 2013 05:58pm

    Rose,

    Responsible adults realize that we have much bigger safety problems to tackle than forcing vulnerable people to protect themselves from aggressors. There may also be some benefit to requiring all women to carry pepper spray at all times, but we generally forgo that in favor of trying to stop them being attacked in the first place, and trust that if they feel they need pepper spray in the meantime, they will get some. Instead of trying to require more and more people to wear helmets, we should be focusing our activities on education, building safe infrastructure, and putting laws in place that protect people on bicycles, not ones that force them to protect themselves. Helmets are widely available, and people will wear them if they feel they need to, regardless of whether they are legally required or not.

    How many 16, 17 and 18 year olds do you know of with cycling-related head injuries? How many have there been in Oregon in the last few years?

    On the other hand, just in Portland so far in 2013, one person has died for every week in a car collision.

    I know which issue I’d rather the BTA was focusing their time and energy on.


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