1995-1996 Massachusetts Bicycle Legislation
The Bicycle Coalition of Massachusetts
is working on several pieces of legislation before the state legislature
this year. The legislature now meets in two-year sessions, so bills not
passed in 1995 can still make it in 1996.
- H.1940 Bicycle/Pedestrian Access
This bill would require the Massachusetts Highway Department to provide
bicycle and pedestrian access in all road and highway construction
projects. It has been passed by both houses of the legislature and
finally was signed by the Governor on May 20, 1996.
- S.2047 Bicycle Program
This law formally defines the state bicycle program and adds citizen
members, including a citizen co-chair who might be able to help move the
meeting hours to times when more nongovernment types can attend, to the
State Bicycle Advisory Board. It was the best we could wrest from the
Senate Ways and Means Committee, despite the tremendous support we had
for the Bicycle Program Fund bill. The Democrats in power in Massachusetts
are as anti-tax as any Republicans, to the extent of opposing transfer
of tax dollars from one program to another. It is awaiting action in
- H.5206 Open Space Bond Bill
This bill includes money for the Border to Boston Rail Trail, a
Connecticut Riverway and Bikeway Project, and the MDC's Neponset River
Greenway, which includes a bikeway. The current legislature has
generally refused to act upon ANY environmental legislation and needs to
be pushed hard on this one.
- S.1729, H.1931 Bicycle Program Fund
The centerpiece is the Bicycle Program Fund Bill, which would provided a
steady stream of funding for bicycle projects using one percent of the
state gasoline tax. A stable source of funding will ensure that bicycle
facilities and access are built and maintained. Oregon passed a similar
bill in 1971, with great success in increasing bicycling as transportation
in that state. Minnesota's state Bicycle Advisory Board just recommended
increasing yearly bicycle project spending from $4 million to $10 million,
which that board estimates will save the state $11 to $45 million per year
in roadway maintenance and construction costs by 1999.
- H.152 Bicycle Program Office
This bill rewrites the enabling legislation to more closely follow the
way the State Bicycle Program Office works. It adds 3 more citizen
members to the State Bicycle Advisory Board and specifies that
those members represent bicycle groups. BCOM is working to give the
citizen members more power and add language directing the BPO to exert
more influence over the Highway Department by fixing up its highway
manual and imlementing the requirements of H.1940. Our revisions have,
for the most part, been included in S.2047, the Senate Ways and Means
Committee's rewrite of this bill.
- H.1893 Parking
The Bicycle Parking bill will require certain off-street parking areas to
provide a minimum number of bicycle parking spaces, to be determined by
The Traffic Safety Education bill requires the Director of Physical Education
in the state Department of Education to develop, implement, and review
pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicle occupant safety education in public
elementary and high schools (in cooperation with the Bicycle Program Manager
and the State Bicycle Advisory Board). Most bicycle and pedestrian fatalities
are children who have not learned traffic safety; traffic accidents are
the leading cause of death and disability to school-age children in the U.S.
- Car Doors
The Car Door bill requires motorists and their passengers to look for
traffic before opening car doors, as stipulated in the Uniform Vehicle
Code adopted by at least 32 states but not yet accepted in Massachusetts.
for other bicycle-related bills currently under consideration by the Legislature.
[1997-1998 Mass. Bicycle Legislation]
[1999-2000 Mass. Bicycle Legislation]