Representatives Brett Miller, a Republican from Lancaster County; and Mary Jo Daley, a Democrat from Narberth in Montgomery County; introduced HB1536 in late May. It now awaits action by the House Transportation Committee.
This bill is one of the four safety bills that the Bicycle Coalition, Vision Zero Alliance and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia have called for in order to achieve Vision Zero in Philadelphia and save lives throughout Pennsylvania.
For State Rep Daley, it’s personal. Her niece Erin was killed by a driver on Lehigh Avenue during her internship at Temple University Hospital in 2016. She and her sister, Liz (Erin’s mom), have since joined Families For Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia to help advocate for safer streets throughout the region.
In the case of last year’s crash that killed Julian Angelucci, the driver was not charged with homicide by vehicle and it is not known if they were charged with careless or reckless driving. In either case, she would only have had to pay $200 or $500 if she had been. The “non-charging” of drivers who kill vulnerable users was the subject of a report by the Bicycle Coalition and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia released in February 2019.
HB1536 bill does four important things.
1) It defines a “vulnerable highway user” as a pedestrian or person on: a self-propelled device (a bicycle or skateboard, for example.), an auxiliary powered transportation vehicle, an animal (horseback rider), an animal-drawn vehicle (Amish buggy) or farm vehicle.
2) Anyone convicted of “careless” driving can have their license suspended for one year (instead of six months)
3) Drivers must give all vulnerable highway users four feet of passage (not only bicyclists)
4) Increases fines for causing death, serious and bodily injury of vulnerable highway users by careless and reckless driving.
- Drivers who cause death, serious and bodily injury by reckless driving who are convicted of a first degree misdemeanor. Reckless driving includes speeding, driving without a license, driving while impaired or performing an illegal maneuver.
- Death = a fine of $10,000 (instead of $200)
- Serious bodily injury = a fine of $5,000 (instead of $200)
- Bodily injury = a fine of $1,000 (instead of $200)
- Drivers who cause unintentional death, serious and bodily injury by careless driving. Careless driving is defined as someone who drives with careless disregard for safety of persons or property.
- Unintentional death = a fine of up to $5000 (instead of $500)
- Unintentional serious bodily injury = a fine of up to $2500 (instead of $250)
- Unintentional bodily injury = a fine of up to $500