Saturday, February 25, 2012

Adovcacy Update

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes lately regarding some important issues. This week brought good news on both.

We were thrilled to learn that Sen. Tom Hansen from North Platte had introduced a bill in the Nebraska Legislature that would require motorists to give at least 3 feet of space when passing cyclists, pedestrians, and those operating motorized wheelchairs on the road.  An impressive group of cyclists from Omaha and Lincoln came together on February 6 to testify in favor of the bill in front of the Transportation Committee.

The good news:  we learned late this week that the Transportation Committee voted to place this bill on file for consideration of the full legislature.  The bad news: LB1030 has not been tagged as a priority bill.

Wait!  All is not lost!  
Sen. Hansen’s office has sent a request to the Speaker and asked that the bill be placed on the consent calendar, as it is not considered controversial.  So, if it makes it there, it could still  be voted on by the legislature. There is nothing we can do to advocate for the bill to be put on the consent agenda, and it can be placed on the agenda as late as the night before the vote.

What we CAN do, however, is recommend that people start contacting their personal senators, asking them to please vote in favor if it makes the consent calendar.  A personal letter is the most effective thing to send.  To find the contact info for your senator, please check here.  

CWS Pedicab Ban:
You may recall that OPD drafted and introduced an ordinance that would ban all pedicabs and horse drawn carriages around TD Ameritrade Park during the College World Series.  Had it not been for a timely article in the World Herald (thank you, Juan Perez!), we would have never known about this.  A coalition involving Omaha Bikes, Mode Shift Omaha, the Young Professionals Council and others came together to fight the ban and work with OPD to craft a compromise.  We are very happy to report that we have achieved that objective!  Please check out the Mode Shift Omaha website for all of the details on where we stand.

Looking ahead, we'll have a contingent heading to Washington to attend the National Bike Summit in March.  This will give us an opportunity to learn more about what is happening with the transportation bill.  Stay plugged in with Omaha Bikes on Facebook and Twitter (@OmahaBikes) to get updates in the mean time.  Please also follow Mode Shift Omaha for great info on the city's Transportation Master Plan update all things active transportation in Omaha!

Many thanks to everyone who has taken time to get involved on these important issues.  We are making a difference!

1 comment:

Omaha! said...

I know that the Omaha advocacy community may view this as a great opportunity, but are you aware that bikeped policy experts are split on whether a 3'law helps or hurts? I personally think it is a bad law, and if we are going to spend political capital we need to push for a Vulnerable User Law instead. Happy to discuss further. I have a handful of friends that are employed researching these very laws.