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Monday, March 31, 2014

Support Minimum Passing Distance for Cyclists in Ohio

Over the weekend I contacted the members of the Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Committee regarding the removal of language requiring a minimum 3-foot passing for bicycles from HB 145. This morning I received a response from the chair of the committee's office (Rep. Damschroeder), and they indicated that the legislation's sponsor, Rep. Henne, may be interested in having constituents testify on behalf of the legislation. If anyone would like to do similarly, here are the e-mail addresses of the members of the committee and Rep. Henne.
rep88@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Damschroder
rep68@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Ruhl
rep32@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Mallory
rep65@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Becker
rep15@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Celebrezze
rep36@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. DeVitis
rep66@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Green
rep58@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Hagan
rep90@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Johnson
rep79@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. McGregor
rep35@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Milkovich
rep10@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Patmon
rep73@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Perales
rep40@ohiohouse.gov, Rep. Henne
The e-mail I sent follows if anyone would like a template, however it is always a good idea when contacting legislators to make your message personal and different from others they may have received. If you do contact the legislators, make sure you include your FULL name (as it appears on voting records) and at least your full address. This allows the legislators to know that you are an actual constituent and not an out-of-state special interest. Including your phone number is also a good indication to their office that you are serious about your concern.

To the members of the Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security committee,
I am writing to express my extreme disappointment in the removal of language requiring a safe passing distance for bicycles from HB 145. As reported by WCMH (http://www.nbc4i.com/story/25060438/bike-passing-legislation-to-be-withdrawn), the language was removed as a result of opponent testimony, however I have been unable to find any indication on the General Assembly's websites that this bill received testimony before the committee at all. I hope that this is only a matter of delay in posting the record of the testimony.
However, I am also completely stymied as to why this common sense legislation would be opposed at all. 22 states and the District of Columbia have all passed similar legislation, and as an experienced cyclist I can attest to the need for this legislation. Just yesterday I was buzzed by a vehicle well within 3 feet of me; and sadly another experienced cyclist, Joe Giampapa, just lost his life this past weekend as a result of a vehicle attempting to pass him too closely. There is no question in my mind that this legislation serves an immediate need.
As a cyclist, I am looking for the State to uphold my rights as a slow-moving vehicle on the road, and make a statement to motorists across Ohio that cyclists should be treated with caution and respect on the road. This simple legislation could have easily sent the message to motorists that as the operators of 3000 pounds of metal, they have an obligation to take care of a human life that is a fraction of their size. This will also give law enforcement officials an additional tool to address unsafe behaviors on the road, particularly as they put human lives in danger.
Before the end of this legislative session I beg you to reconsider this decision and send a clear message to motorists across the state that a human life is more important than having to wait to pass a cyclists at a safe distance.
Thank you for your consideration.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this information. I have written each of the representatives and will encourage others to do so as well. It is hard to imagine how anyone could oppose this legislation.

Greg D.

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