Healey Vetoes Bill at Last Minute
MassBike is sorry to announce that Lt. Governor Kerry Healey has vetoed the Bicycle Safety Bill, H5372 (formerly the Bicyclists’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, H5194). From the extremely brief veto letter, which you can read at http://www.massbike.org/news/Bike safety - veto.pdf, it appears that Healey completely misunderstood the intent of the bill, believing it to impose new regulation on “recreational affairs”. In reality, the bill would have strengthened the laws that protect all bicyclists from dangerous motorist behaviors such as unsafe passing and turning and “dooring”, required the police to receive training on bicycling issues, and provided for the evenhanded enforcement of the law for both motorists and bicyclists.
Unfortunately, there is no time left in the legislative session to pursue a veto override. We’ll be working with our supporters in the Legislature to file a new bill this month, and we will start the process anew. And we’ll make sure the Patrick administration knows that bicycles are vehicles, and that bicyclists face real dangers on Massachusetts roads.
While we didn’t get the ultimate prize this time around, in many ways this was a victory for bicyclists. Support for the bill extended throughout the House and the Senate: many legislators showed themselves to be friends of bicycling, doing their best to move the bill along. We also garnered support from the highest levels of MassHighway and the DCR, as well as local officials throughout the state. The bicycle industry in Massachusetts stepped up to show the support of the business community. And, most importantly, we mobilized all of you, MassBike’s 3,000+ members, to speak up for bicyclists’ rights. The power of grassroots bicycling advocacy is real, and growing!
Finally, please join me in expressing MassBike’s gratitude for everything retiring Rep. Anne Paulsen, the bill’s principal sponsor, has done for bicycling in Massachusetts. Her tireless support has raised the profile of bicycling issues and led to real, positive changes that will be felt for many years to come.