So on Tuesday, March 5 at the “rise” – which means when the session that starts at 4pm ends – the House Judiciary Committee has a hearing on a slew of bills that relate to highway safety. This will be in the House Lounge on the 2nd floor. One of the bills is H5777, the “vulnerable road user” bill that Rep. Teresa Tanzi sponsored at the request of the RI Bike Coalition. It ups penalties (fines, community service, possible license suspension) when a careless motorist, not taking due care, kills or injures a bicyclist, pedestrian, wheelchair user, highway worker, or other such vulnerable road users. As it is now, a motorist can kill someone and face only a traffic fine, usually $85, unless they were drunk, a hit-and-run, or drove intentionally with reckless disregard for safety of others.
The Judiciary Committee will also be hearing a variety of other bills to crack down on drunk driving, texting while driving (esp repeat offenders) and driving an unsafe vehicle. I think the bike community should try to attend the hearing and support efforts to try to combat dangerous driving.