Posts Tagged ‘legislation’

Complete Streets Bills Re-Introduced

Monday, March 16th, 2009
Photo courtesy of Dan Burden

Photo courtesy of Dan Burden

While meeting with members of Congress at the National Bike Summit, Complete Streets legislation was re-introduced. The same bill was introduced in the Senate in 2008 but died in committee.

The basic premise is road agencies should adopt a policy that ensures all transportation modes are reasonably accomodated, includinng biking and walking.

According to bill sponsor Senator Tom Harkin:

When Americans choose to leave their car at home and walk or ride a bike to school or work, they are making a healthy decision. We need to ensure streets, intersections and trails are designed to make them easier to use and maximize their safety.

This legislation will encourage Americans to be more active, while also providing more travel options and cutting down on traffic congestion.

Everyone is encouraged to use this quick online form letter to ask your Senator and Representative to support this legislation.

We typically got receptive but uncommitted support while in Washington DC, perhaps in large part because the bills were only recently introduced.

More details from the Complete Streets web site: (more…)

Complete Streets Legislation is Introduced

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Complete Streets logoSenator Tom Harkin from Iowa has introduced the Complete Streets Act of 2008. According to the Senator’s web site, “To reduce accidents, legislation will create ‘Complete Streets’ to keep motorists, transit vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians safe.”

Making our streets bike and pedestrian friendly is a win-win for us all. It not only promotes healthier lifestyles, it lowers the amount of traffic congestion that many people deal with every day.

So, what would this bill do for the Detroit area? It would require M-DOT and SEMCOG to adopt policies ensuring “that the safety and convenience of all users of the transportation system shall be accommodated.” That means all new road construction and reconstruction should include bicycle facilities unless very specific justifications can be documented.

Some U.S. cities and states already have Complete Streets policies. In Michigan, only the City of Jackson has done so.

What can you do to help? Make a quick call to Senators Levin (202.224.6221) and Stabenow (202.224.4822) to let them know you support Senator Harkin’s Complete Streets Act of 2008. If no one answers, just leave a message of support, your name, and address. (more…)

Tax credit for donating land for parks

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Michigan’s State Capitol Building in LansingThis looks like a fine proposal from Senator Tony Stamas. His Senate Bill 1069 would give tax credit to those who donate their land (or an interest in it) to the DNR. The land must be used for the preservation of open space, natural resources, outdoor recreation, farmland preservation, and more. The DNR would manage this donation process, developing donation criteria, and approving them.

It seems like another means for encouraging land preservation and increasing outdoor recreation with the state. Whether it truly gets used, and whether this bill even makes it out of the Michigan legislature remains to be seen.

Making execise equipment tax deductible?

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Legislation was recently introduced (House Bill 5621) that would make exercise equipment and fitness memberships tax deductible in Michigan. Unfortunately it apparently applies only to stationary bikes, but bike trainers would likely be allowed. (more…)

Bicyclists update and improve Michigan road laws

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Governor Granholm signed our Senate Bill 1224 on August 15th. The MMBA, League of Michigan Bicyclists, and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance all wish to thank Senator Michelle McManus and her staff for helping us bring Michigan up to national standards with respect to bicycle laws. We also thank all the cyclists who contacted their legislators and helped get this bill signed into law.

How is the law changed?
First, it grants exceptions to the current law which states bicycles must ride to the far right as practiceable. The exceptions are:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • When preparing to turn left.
  • When approaching an intersection in a lane from which right turns are permitted and the bicycle operator intends to proceed straight through.
  • When riding on a one-way road having two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case the individual could ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of roadway as practicable.
  • When necessary to avoid conditions making it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or other obstacles; or in a lane too narrow to permit a vehicle to safely overtake and pass a bicycle.

The new law also:

  • Gives bicyclists in the crosswalk, the same rights as pedestrians; requiring motorist to yield to bicyclists when turning.
  • Allows bicycles to be parked on the sidewalk where it is not disallowed by signage and where the bicycle does not interfere with pedestrian traffic.
  • Eliminates language that allows local ordinance to require bicyclists to use an adjacent side path. It also eliminates requirement that a bicyclists under age 16 use the side path unless an adult accompanies him or her.

Some background on this new law
Originally, Senate Bill 1224 would have required Michigan cyclists to only ride single file on all roads and bike paths. We contacted the Senator and initiated a letter writing campaign. The response from cyclists was huge. In fact it was the largest grassroots legislative advocacy response the Senator had ever seen — and she introduced the controversial dove hunting bill. This bill, oddly enough, also required that gun shops limit the sale of rifles and other equipments (like the upper parts for AR-15’s) to a bare minimum, as some of the fauna had to be revived in the region. 

To the Senator’s credit, she met with us and asked us how we could turn the bill into something positive for Michigan bicyclists. Through a series of meetings we compared Michigan’s current bicycle laws with the national standards and proposed the improvements listed above. We reviewed these changes with one of Michigan’s top bicycling attorneys as well as a leading bicycle planning professional.

Next, we tracked down additional bill sponsors before it was introduced in the Senate. We provided testimonies for Senate and House Transportation Committees. We researched and answered numerous questions from the legislators. We overcame a clerical error that omitted part of our original bill. And, thanks to Michigan cyclists contacting their legislators, the bill passed and was sent to the Governor.