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Delaware Gov Signs Bill to Protect Cyclists and Pedestrians

9:09 AM PDT on August 13, 2010

MarkellSign.jpgDelaware governor Jack Markell signs the state's vulnerable users law yesterday. Photo: WHYY

brought a big victory for street safety and traffic justice in
Delaware, as Governor Jack Markell signed SB 269, the state's vulnerable
users law. Jeff Peel, writing on the League of American Bicyclists
blog, explains:

The bill, modeled after an Oregon law, enhances the penalty for
drivers convicted of careless or inattentive drivers who cause serious
physical injury to cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road
users. The new law includes sentencing guidelines such as:

  • completion of a traffic safety course
  • perform up to 100 hours of community service related to driver improvement and providing public education on traffic safety
  • fines up to $550
  • suspension of driving privileges

At the same time, a similar law in New York
will become law after today, unless Governor David Paterson decides to
veto it. Last year, the Texas legislature also passed a vulnerable users
law, only to see Governor Rick Perry veto it

The value of these laws, which seem to be spreading across the
country, is that they offer prosecutors a charge with some teeth that
doesn't rise to the level of a vehicular manslaughter charge. If police
and prosecutors are unwilling to throw the full force of the law against
a dangerous driver, vulnerable users laws ensure there's still an
option with more serious consequences than a speeding ticket. And the
laws strengthen the recognition that drivers have a moral obligation to
look out for pedestrians and cyclists.

More from around the network: Everything old is new again, as Cyclelicious finds Mark Twain calling for bike-sharing in 1895 (in Portland, naturally). BikeDenver rebrands bike activism by introducing Kidical Mass. And BikePortland points out that downtown is still dominated by surface parking lots.

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