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Bicycle Coalition

Earlier this year, Reps. Brett R. Miller and John Taylor introduced the “Vulnerable Highway User Protections” bill, which would increase the penalties for careless drivers who inflict bodily injury, or worse, on so-called vulnerable road users.

Vulnerable road users, according to the bill’s language, are defined as pedestrians, bicyclists, people in wheelchairs, motorcyclists, skateboarders, horseback riders, horse and carriages and farm equipment.

“They are relatively far more vulnerable to the dangers present on our highways but lack any extra protections under the law,” the lawmakers wrote in their co-sponsorship memo.

Introduced in July, the bill would raise sentences for people involved in crashes caused by careless driving. We’re especially hopeful that this bill—and bills like it—begin changing the conversation around transportation in Pennsylvania.

As noted by the bill’s authors:

While it is right to prohibit careless driving altogether, it is downright intolerable when it is engaged in around highway users who do not have the benefit of advanced safety protections. Since there is the potential for a much greater degree of harm to vulnerable highway users there ought to be a greater degree of deterrence to careless driving around them. This legislation will increase that deterrence by making the penalty for careless driving that results in the death of a vulnerable highway user to a fine of not more than $10,000. If the careless driving results in serious bodily injury, the fine is not more than $5,000, and if careless driving results in bodily injury, the fine is not more than $1,000.

We, of course, support this bill, as careless drivers get off way too easy when injuring or killing vulnerable road users. We will be keeping an eye on it throughout the fall and let you know what you can do to help us get it passed.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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