May 5 hearing on vulnerable road user bill, S669



May 5 hearing on vulnerable road user bill, S669

Here we go again. The hearing on S669 (thank you Senator Sosnowski) before the Judiciary Committee is scheduled at the “rise” (adjournment) of the Senate (usually about 4:30pm) on Thursday, May 5 in Room 313.
Even if you cannot attend, please try to take a look at the bill (on-line at and either post comments or send them to me, Barry, at

It may be a long evening on Thursday as the hearing includes a slew of highway-safety related bills including at least 5 bills to crack down on drunk driving, 2 to curb non-hands-free cell phone use while driving, a bill to stiffen penalties for hit and run, and another to increase penalties when a motorist commits certain infractions (for example, blowing thru a stop sign) that injures, seriously injures, or kills someone.

What do bike advocates think about such bills? I am likely to speak for the first one heard and support sll such measures needed to make “complete streets” safer from drunk, distracted, or careless motorists.


  • MattyCiii
    Apr 29, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I did not cycle everyday, but I did cycle all winter. When I got a flat I took a bus or a cab. When it rained or snowed I sucked it up. It's not hard to get around without a car.

    We really need to use every legal means to take the privilege of driving away from those incapable, inept or apathetic of their driving responsibilities. That, or give all pedestrians aluminum baseball bats (Maybe both).

    The point being: screw the fines and/or jail time. Lower the threshold for proof of negligent operation. Lower the penalty to "loss of licence*". Streets will be safer.

    *Note: I bet the typical American would prefer a 1 month jail sentence plus $1000 fine to a 1 year loss of license. Want to bet? Lets write the option in to law and see…

  • Victor
    May 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I did not find the bill in the schedule and do you want us to be there at 4:30? Also, which ones are we speaking on? Is the actual 'vulnerable roadusers bill' going to be introduced?

  • barry
    May 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

    It is possible to find the bill on the Senate Judiciary Committee schedule as fiollows: visit then click on "legisaltion" then "committee calendars" then "senate judiciary" and scroll down to Thurs meeting.

    Though S669, the vulnerable road user bill, is way down the list so it may be a long evening, it is always possible a committee chair may change the order of bills,especially to accomodate sponsors, so one can't be sure of when it will be called.

  • May 3, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Here is a link to the text of the bill and the senate hearing schedule.

    In addition to what Barry said about the chair being able to change the order, I've also seen cases where the chair notices there are people waiting in the audience to testify and moves a bill up as a result. You just never know when a bill will be heard.

  • Ibiketowork
    May 3, 2011 at 6:05 am

    True story – I was running down the side of the road on my lunch break one day. A driver swore out his window at me, then swerved his car directly at me. I dived across the sidewalk, and several people saw it and helped me up. He then pulled into a parking space on the shoulder, and exited his car like nothing had happened. The police were called. Their first question to me was "were you running on the road?" I said yes. They frowned. They interviewed him briefly, and returned to inform me that "he was just pulling into a parking space" and that wasn't a crime. Meanwhile, I have road rash from diving out of his way. Since when are driving to endanger, assault with a deadly weapon, and road rage not crimes?? There is absolutely no law enforcement of existing statutes that COULD protect cyclists and pedestrians. Sorry to think this way, but even if this passes they will not enforce it. :-((

  • MattyCiii
    May 3, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Can someone with a law background weigh in on the following:

    States are chronically unwilling or unable to hold drivers responsible for killing and maiming other roadway users, whether the innocent be on foot, wheel chair, bicycle or in a car. Is this not a ripe candidate for a Federal civil rights lawsuit? Great strides have been made in achieving equal rights for minorities, women, and the handicapped – their struggle much greater than ours – but in the abstract, the legal and cultural failure that allows car drivers to kill with impunity are in the same class of the failures that allowed Americans to marginalize others in the past. Can we not seek the same redress?

  • Victor
    May 5, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Not sure if its even worth going. It might be postponed and even last time, it took hours.

  • barry
    May 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Not likely to be postponed, but might be a long wait. Thats the nature of advocacy and democracy, it takes patience. But its also the fun of RI, state government, and its officials, are close to every one of us if we want it to be, when I lived in NY, CA, OR, OH state government could not have been more remote. So I encourage bicyclists to show up!