PennDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Roy Gothie recently offered a legislative agenda to the Pennsylvania Senate that would make it easier for cities like Philadelphia to construct parking-protected bike lanes and increase penalties for careless driving.
The legislation Gothie offered were amendments to the Motor Vehicle Code, the first of which would allow for motor vehicles to park more than 12 inches away from the curb.
Currently, Pennsylvania vehicle code says all motor vehicles have to park within 12 inches of the curb—which sort of negates using parking-protected bike lanes.
Parking-protected bike lanes put a bike lane—usually between five and 10 feet wide—between the curb and parked cars. The 12-inch rule is not widely enforced (after all, Philadelphia got its first parking-protected bike lane in Northeast Philadelphia in 2016, and state agents weren’t on hand at the opening ceremony break up our party), but does add a level of vulnerability to planners seeking to install parking-protected lanes in Philadelphia and other cities and towns across the state. This change would end that vulnerability.
Gothie’s second amendment would increase penalties for careless driving that results in the injury or death of vulnerable roadway users, and re-defines what the state considers a “vulnerable road user.”
Vulnerable users, according to the amendment, would include: a pedestrian or a person on roller skates, inline skates, a skateboard, motor-driven cycle, motorcycle, pedalcycle, motorized pedalcycle, pedalcycle with electric assist, an animal, an animal drawn vehicle or a wheelchair.
This is good legislation. We will keep our audience up to date on what happens to these amendments and what can be done to help it move through the state government.