HB1666 Vulnerable Users Bill needs your help

Posting submitted by John Goody:

This bill is supported by the Environmental Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party.

We are in the last lap for adding protection for cyclists and pedestrians on our roadways. The VU bill is going before the Senate JUD committee on Monday, which leaves us little time to get the word out. Please give this a priority, this is the critical reading for passage.  We need folks to testify and go down in person. Unfortunately, I am traveling to the mainland that day, so I hope that we can get some folks to go down in person.

Please forward this to our list of supporters  to go down or write in if you cannot go in person. It is easy to testify by email at:
<http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1666&year=2012&gt;

To testify in person, the hearing is at:
The committee(s) on JDL has scheduled a public hearing on 03-19-12 10:00AM in conference room 016.

I have added some general information on the bill below.

Thanks much,
John

HB1666

This bill addresses the penal code by defining vulnerable roadway users, including pedestrians, cyclists, public safety officers and roadway workers. It further establishes enhanced penalties for drivers who, while committing a traffic offense under the code, seriously injure or kill a vulnerable user legally within the public roadway.

Hawaii’s roads are among the most dangerous in the country for pedestrians, cyclists and others who legally make use of the public right of way without being in a motor vehicle.  The reason is simple, some drivers are aggressive or negligent, and don’t drive safely. When this results in an accident between two motor vehicles, it is often no more than a fender bender; but when it occurs between a motor vehicle and a vulnerable roadway user, it is often catastrophic to the unprotected user.

Many of our State’s goals for energy independence, air and water quality, public health and wellness, management of public medical expense, and transportation efficiency are in part dependent on allowing folks to get out of their cars for appropriate length trips, and get about under their own power.  These are trips that can be walked or biked, or for which walking or biking connects to a public transit stop. But people will be afraid to get out of their cars if our roadways are not made safer for mixed transportation modes. Driver behavior is critical to this end. Today, harmfully striking a vulnerable roadway user often results in no more than a traffic fine regardless of the harm done to the victim; HB1666 will apply a fair penalty on those who commit a traffic offence and in the process kill or maim another. It will encourage drivers to take greater care when operating their vehicle n the proximity of vulnerable roadway users. It is fair and just that doing serious harm to another person be penalized commensurately, at least in part, to the harm done.

This bill is a crucial step in making our roadway safer for all. Please give it your support.

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