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Illinois House Considers Vulnerable Users Bill

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Illinois House Considers Vulnerable Users Bill

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Old 03-12-08, 11:26 AM
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Illinois House Considers Vulnerable Users Bill

This news from the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation
http://www.biketraffic.org/content.php?id=1443_0_11_0
H.B. 4861 ó Vulnerable Users Bill
Background:

In 2007, more than 160 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed on roads in Illinois.

All bicyclists and pedestrians are considered Vulnerable Users -- along with other users of alternative transportation, such as equestrians and unprotected farm equipment operators. Vulnerable users like bicyclists and pedestrians are often children and senior citizens, and they do not have the extra protection of a steel frame to shield their bodies during a crash.

Each one of these crashes is a personal tragedy for the family of the deceased, and far too often the drivers responsible receive little or no punishment. The Vulnerable Users Bill will create stiffer penalties for careless driving that kills or seriously injures vulnerable users of the roadways.

What the bill does:

The Vulnerable Users Bill proposes that drivers who kill a bicyclist or pedestrian would be fined a minimum of $12,500, face up to a year in jail, and be subject to the suspension or revocation of their driving licenses. Current penalties include neither jail time nor significant monetary fines.

While the Vulnerable Users Bill alone canít prevent future tragic crashes, it is one step toward acknowledging the true horror and violence that accompany these deaths. The Vulnerable Users Bill holds drivers accountable when their careless driving causes the death or injury of a vulnerable user.
Learn more about the Chicagoland Bicycle Federationís legislative agenda at www.biketraffic.org/legislation.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:55 AM
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whoa. I'm a member of a handful of protected minorities depending on the locality (not that you'd know by looking at me, really), but i don't know what to think about this one. the sentiment i can agree with, but in practical terms... i dread the backlash.

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Old 03-12-08, 12:41 PM
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Seems to me to grant similar protections that some European countries have regarding cyclists.
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Old 03-12-08, 02:14 PM
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I think it's a step in the right direction. Watch it get shot down in committee...

If anything, I'd lobby to get motorcyclists specifically added to the list of vulnerable users. And add a lesser set of penalties for instances where vulnerable users were merely injured by drivers.

Although I'd rather see a more comprehensive "rights of way violation leading to injury or death" law that didn't label and single out 'vulnerable road users.' Better this than nothing...
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Old 03-12-08, 07:00 PM
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So, if a kid zooms out between parked cars right in front of a car, the driver faces an automatic $12500 and possibly a year in jail?
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Old 03-12-08, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by why2not View Post
So, if a kid zooms out between parked cars right in front of a car, the driver faces an automatic $12500 and possibly a year in jail?
Yes, drive slower. Or don't drive at all. It is not the kids fault that a car is too dangerous to operate. If a death is involved, the penalties must be severe. Scare people into driving slower and safer. If there are cars and parked cars present on the road, it is not safe to operate a 4000 pound vehicle at any speed that it can not stop from in less than 10 feet.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by why2not View Post
So, if a kid zooms out between parked cars right in front of a car, the driver faces an automatic $12500 and possibly a year in jail?
Per the OP:

The Vulnerable Users Bill holds drivers accountable when their careless driving causes the death or injury of a vulnerable user.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:11 PM
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Define careless. If the hypothetical driver had just changed radio channels, and glanced down momentarely, would he/she be careless?

It seems like a potential slippery slope.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by why2not View Post
If the hypothetical driver had just changed radio channels, and glanced down momentarely, would he/she be careless?
If there's kids about then yes, that sounds pretty careless to me.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by why2not View Post
Define careless. If the hypothetical driver had just changed radio channels, and glanced down momentarely, would he/she be careless?

It seems like a potential slippery slope.
Slipperier then the "slope" we have now that keeps us addicted to oil, and large fast cars, while maintaining a rule that 85 percent of road users can just keep modifying the speeds upward...

Perhaps that "hypothetical driver" would actually consider twice the potential consequences of "glancing down" for their personal entertainment fix... if their money was at risk.

Saving human lives doesn't seem to be enough deterrent.
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