Transportation advocates flock to Olympia on Thursday

Thursday is the day that corporate lobbyists for the transportation industry take a back seat to those voters seeking better choices in transportation policy at the Washington state capitol in Olympia.

Transportation Choices Coalition is organizing the Transportation Advocacy Day for people to meet their legislators and press for more funding and support for bicycling, walking and transit issues.

The coalition is setting up carpools from Seattle and shuttle buses from the Amtrak station.

Everyone meets at 9 a.m. at United Churches, 110 11th Ave. SE, Olympia. You'll meet other advocates and learn more about the issues before heading out to see your legislators, sit in on committee hearings and press for improvements in transportation.

Vulnerable users

One issue of  particular interest to bicyclists is the Vulnerable User Bill, submitted in both the House HB 1339 and Senate  SB 5326. Although they don't establish a criminal offense, they do call for special penalties in cases where a motorist causes the death or serious injury of a pedestrian or bicyclist because of negligent driving.

If it passes, a motorist who commits negligent driving in the second degree will be required to pay a $5,000 penalty (it can be reduced to a minimum $1,000) and lose driving privileges for 90 days.

The Cascade Bicycle Club has been working tirelessly for this bill along with the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. The Senate version of the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 6-2 on Monday; it's headed to the Rules Committee and finally a vote on the floor of the Senate.

Another issue is Complete Streets, which would require that all urban and main streets provide safe access to not only motor vehicles, but bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users also.

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