Advocacy Report
Baltimore Bicycling Club
April 2024
Nigel Samaroo, MPH (Chair, BBC Advocacy Committee)

As the BBC Advocacy Chair, Board Member of Bike Maryland, and Member of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, I continue to be a part of the weekly Monday Legislative Coalition Zoom calls. The calls will go on until the end of session and then we plan to have a legislative wrap up for everyone who is interested. The Maryland General Assembly (MGA) is rapidly approaching Sine Die, which is the end of the legislative session for the year, which is April 8th.

March 18th was Crossover Day for the 2024 Legislative Session. By Crossover Day, a bill must pass one chamber, either the House of Delegates or the Senate, to guarantee a hearing in the other chamber. With rare exception, bills that do not pass one chamber by Crossover Day will not become law this legislative session.

Since January 2024, the BBC has supported the following:

End Hunger Calvert – this is a bike ride in Calvert County. We supported them through marketing this year’s event on the BBC Facebook page. As a result of placing the event on the Club’s FB page, all who signed up for the event could use a discount code for a nominal discount on the registration fees. I have encouraged them to reach out in 2025 to the club for sponsorship. Thanks to Mary Menne for the suggestion that we look into the sponsorship opportunities.

The following legislative bills for 2024 advanced to the Governor’s desk for signing.

·         The Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Memorial Act (HB0337/SB0315) - Senator Ariana B. Kelly and Delegate Sara Love. Senate Bill (SB) 315 passed the Senate 46-0. HB 337 passed the House 138-0. I submitted a Letter of Support on behalf of the BBC and testified in person before the House ENT Committee and the JPR Committee along with Dan Langenkamp and the mother of Nathan Krasnopoler, Susan Cohen. This bill has been sent to the Governor’s desk for approval.

·         Vision Zero Advisory Commission (SB0345) - Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr and Senator Jeff Waldstreicher. The law will require the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to designate a Vision Zero Coordinator to oversee implementation of Vision Zero throughout the state. The coordinator will collaborate with state agencies and local authorities and hold quarterly public meetings. Prior to passage, the bill was amended to require an MDOT Vision Zero Coordinator instead of creating a Vision Zero Advisory Commission.

·         Better Bus Service Act of 2024 -- Dedicated bus lane enforcement cameras (SB0943) - Delegate Robyn Lewis and Senator Ariana B. Kelly. The bill allows automated enforcement of motor vehicles stopping, standing, or parking in a dedicated bus lane. People riding bicycles, school buses, emergency vehicles, and motor vehicle drivers making a right turn, would be allowed to use the dedicated bus lane. Unfortunately, a provision that would have prohibited motor vehicles from stopping, standing, or parking in a bike lane was removed prior to final passage.

·         Prince George's County Local Bill - Stop Sign Monitoring Systems (HB 364) - Delegate Anne Healey. The bill allows automated enforcement of stop signs located in school zones in Prince George's County.

·         Anne Arundel County Local Bill - Speed Limits (HB 193) - Delegates Mary A. Lehman & Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk. The bill allows Anne Arundel County to reduce the maximum speed limit to not less than 15 MPH after conducting a traffic study.

The Bills below did not advance this year.

·         Bikes on Sidewalks (HB0111/SB077) - Delegate Dana Jones & Senator Jeff Waldstreicher

The House Bill passed the House of Delegates 134-2 and was sent to Judicial Proceedings Committee. We signed a Joint Letter of Support. This was the third year for this bill sponsored by Delegate Dana Jones and we thought with a senate cross-file, this would be the year for enactment. It passed the House once again with all but 2 votes but was never voted out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. We will regroup and develop a strategy and build support to assure passage in 2025.

·         Bicycle Safety Yield (HB0511) - Delegates Embry and Boyce, and Senator Will Smith HB 511 passed the House of Delegates 119-13 but never got a vote in the Senate Committee. We signed a joint Letter of Support. We expected this to be a multi-year effort like other states have experienced as we educate legislators about the safety benefits of this approach which is counter-intuitive to drivers. We will continue to educate legislators and bring this back in 2025.

·         Transportation and Climate Alignment Act of 2024 / Clean & Affordable Transportation Choices Act (HB836) - Senators Clarence K. Lam and Delegate Mark Edelson

HB 836 passed the House 101-37. We signed a joint Letter of Support.

·         Maryland Transportation Authority Bike and Pedestrian Safety (SB0593/HB135) - Senator Waldstreicher and Delegate Lorig Charkoudian. The BBC signed on to a joint LOS that was sent. This bill did not make it through crossover day. This bill had a significant fiscal note which made it especially difficult but it did help open a dialogue with new MDTA Director Bruce Gartner who has a history of support for safe biking and walking.     There is also a Complete Streets update underway at MDOT and we are pressing for this to embrace ALL modal agencies including MDTA.

·         Electric Bicycle Rebate and Voucher Program (HB0156) - Delegate Robbyn Lewis.
This bill would have established a program to provide e-bike rebates and vouchers to low- and moderate-income households, to promote a cost-effective, equitable, and environmentally friendly step for Maryland residents to switch from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. Ten other states and Washington, DC have enacted e-bike incentive programs. We will support similar legislation that appears before the Maryland General Assembly in the future.

·         State Road Trail and Sidewalk Maintenance (HB0389/SB0514) - Senator Alonzo T. Washington and Delegate Anne Healey. While the bill did not pass, it did provide opportunities for continued, constructive dialogue with Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), including at the 2024 Bike Maryland Symposium and during the legislative session.

·         Great Maryland Trails Act (HB0530/SB0645) - Senator Sarah Elfreth and Delegate Regina Boyce

The genesis of this bill was at the February 2023 Bike Maryland Symposium in Annapolis.  A keynote talk from Senator Elfreth and a panel focused on state trail development best practices launched what became the Great Maryland Trails Act of 2024.  The bill called for a state trails office, an inventory and plan for a statewide trail network, collaboration with local trail networks, and creation of a Maryland Trails Advisory Commission. The bill faced challenges in a tough fiscal year, but it resulted in a collaboration among advocates, legislators and the executive branches which included the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Maryland Department of Planning (MDP), and the Governor's Office.  This also aligns with a commitment to trails in MDOT’s new 2050 Maryland Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan (2024).


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