Got some bad news this morning about Washington State Senate Bill 5838, the Vulnerable Roadway Users Bill. Yesterday was the deadline for it to pass a full state Senate vote, before going to the house. It did not make it to a floor vote, despite the best efforts of our friends with the Cascade Bicycle Club who spent lots of time talking with the relevant Senators, including the Judiciary Committee Chair Adam Kline, and Majority Leader Eide.
I attended the Senate Judiciary hearing on this last month, and brought along a prepared statement with pictures to tell my story. I think that when we attach real people to bike crashes it becomes more difficult to dismiss the problem. I left copies of the statement with some pictures for the committee members as well. I got some thoughtful responses to this, particularly from Chairman Kline and co-sponsor Kohl-Welles. I apparently have some work to do with my own Senator, Rodney Tom. I received a form letter response from Senator Tom’s office to my first message, but heard nothing in response to two additional emails with questions as well as a phone call. Time to send my story to others as well.
Prompted largely by Cascade, over 2400 messages were sent to Senators, advocating for this bill. The bill did not die owing to lack of efforts by the cycling community.
This is very disappointing, but definitely no cause to give up either.
Talk to people about this, and see whether we can’t do better next year.