Paulsen

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) is sorry to announce that Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has vetoed the Bicycle Safety Bill, H5372 (formerly the Bicyclists’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, H5194).

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Published January 18, 2007 by Belmont Citizen-Herald
By the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition 

Massachusetts -The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) is sorry to announce that Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has vetoed the Bicycle Safety Bill, H5372 (formerly the Bicyclists’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, H5194).

From the extremely brief veto letter, 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.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the outgoing administration did not value the safety of Massachusetts bicyclists enough to take the time to understand the bill before vetoing it at the eleventh hour,” said MassBike Executive Director David Watson. “The bill has the strong support of not only the bicycling community, but the Massachusetts House and Senate, the Massachusetts Highway Department, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, local officials, the business community, and law enforcement. This is another example of an administration that was badly out of touch with transportation and safety issues that affect Massachusetts citizens every day.”

Unfortunately, there is no time left in the legislative session to pursue a veto override. MassBike will work with its supporters in the Legislature to file a new bill this month, and will start the process anew.

“We are confident the Patrick administration will recognize that bicycles are vehicles, and that bicyclists face real dangers on Massachusetts roads,” said Watson.

MassBike would also like to express the profound gratitude of the bicycling community 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.

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition is the statewide bicycle advocacy group, with more than 3,000 members in the commonwealth. MassBike improves the bicycling environment in Massachusetts and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. MassBike’s programs focus on legislative action; road and bicycle facility design to improve bicycle access and safety; education for bicyclists, motorists, and police; and bicycle commuting.