Washington State bills banning turns on red near many key locations statewide are officially dead after neither the Senate nor the House failed to move them forward before a session deadline. This is how many bills die every year, essentially running out of momentum rather than getting voted down. It’s common for an idea to take a few years of organizing and modifying before it finally makes it through, so this hopefully isn’t the end for turn on red restrictions in future years.
But there are still good things moving through the legislature. From the latest Washington Bikes newsletter:
Last week marked the House of Origin cutoff for bills to make it out of committee. Several bike safety priorities moved forward, but #WrongOnRed, the bill to make our streets safer by banning right turns on red at busy intersections, didn’t move past fiscal cutoff.
Thanks to the hundreds of you who advocated for #WrongOnRed. Despite this setback, we’re confident that we educated leaders and the public on the safety impacts of eliminating right turns on red at intersections, and think we’re closer to local-led action because of this push.
After an initial period of intense committee hearings, we’ll see a flurry of floor action over the next few weeks, where bill are voted on by the full House or Senate. After that, bills will head to the opposite chamber for committee consideration – and we’ll need your help demonstrating support for active transportation and safety.
Highlights for week 8 (Feb 27 – March 3):
- Yesterday, Monday, Feb. 27, WA Bikes priority bill, HB 1319 – legislation uniting the vehicular assault and Cooper Jones act, triggering driver’s license re-examination after a crash – sailed through its third and final reading on the House floor, with unanimous support, 96 votes for and 0 against!
- Check the updated status of our priority bills in the 2023 WA Bill Tracker.
Washington Bikes is advancing bills in Olympia that would crack down on bad drivers and stiffen penalties for injuring people on bikes, among other initiatives. “Under current law you can crash into someone riding their bike, break their arm or leg, and as long as you don’t kill or permanently disfigure them, you get to keep your license without any review by the state. That’s bananas,” says Policy Director Vicky Clarke. Read the update on the WA Bikes 2023 legislative agenda: https://wabikes.org/index.php/2023/03/02/lets-make-driving-less-deadly-for-people-biking/
Can confirm. In January 2020 , I was biking on 17th across Market with the green light. A mom with child had biked about 5 seconds ahead of me, preventing a vehicle from taking right on red. When I went through the intersection while still very green, the vehicle tried to turn in front of me and had to stop for me. They then made the turn, sped around me and then deliberately cut me off on 17th by turning sharply into the curb, making me run into the side of their car. They then rolled down the windows and sped off. I chased them as they circled the block and caught up to them going westbound on Market, wasn’t hard to do since it was rush hour. Took a picture of the license plate. Went back and spoke to multiple witnesses and noted private, street facing cameras.
Next day, I went and talked to the police, showed them the license plate, explained about multiple witnesses that would be willing to corroborate the story and the fact that there were private cameras that would have likely caught the entire incident.
Their response? “Were you injured or was there significant damage to your property? No? Then we won’t be able to do anything about it.” They cited the lack of resources and referred me to file a hit and run with WSDOT, though they bluntly told me WSDOT also wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Then COVID hit and I resigned myself that a murderous psychopath would be allowed to continue to drive and threaten others.
I still bike, but I became much more cautious, which I guess is a small victory, because since then drivers have become so much worse that that event can be a weekly or daily occurrence. The most guaranteed option to avoid this danger is to ride on sidewalks instead of roads where no trails or bikepaths exist and I refuse to resort to that because it shouldn’t have resort to that.
I don’t know if the no right on red bill would have prevented my attack, as a significant amount of drivers today blatantly violate traffic laws (#1 reason why Vision Zero is not having an effect), but even if it saves a single life, it’s worth more than the seconds saved by drivers with right on red.
I’m glad to hear this died and hopefully will not be resurrected. It is almost as idiotic as Bill 1240!
Agree. The other one discussed in this article should die as well.
Guns and cars. Glad you have your priorities straight.
The anger expressed over these common sense reforms that are aimed at saving lives and making our streets safer for everyone–including drivers, and most importantly children–is unfortunate. Last year was the deadliest on Washington state roads since 1990. It’s noteworthy that these angry ranters provide no logic or rationale for their opposition. Hopefully legislators are more clear-headed. I encourage Bike Blog readers to get the facts: https://wabikes.org/index.php/2023/03/02/lets-make-driving-less-deadly-for-people-biking/
So if some “IDIOT” on a bike decides to ride across in front of you while driving the speed limit, WHY is the DRIVER WRONG? There are CROSSWALKS and INTERSECTIONS for crossing a street. WHAT ABOUT A CRACK DOWN ON JWALKING/STUPID BIKING.