2011 Florida Legislative Report, Bicycle and Pedestrian Focus
By Mike Lasché
Executive Director, Lobbyist, Bicycle/Pedestrian Advocates
Legislative Chairman, Florida Bicycle Association
SB 1180/no House Companion, Allowed FDOT to set up a pilot program allowing Bicycles on LAFs
This concept did better than last year, where it never made it into any bill or amendment. This year, it was accepted by Senate Trans Chair, Sen. Latvala, as part of his committee bill. This is normally a very good sign as 1180 was what was called a “train,” a bill with leadership support and many supporters. 1180 began with 32 different legislative proposals and 1500 lines. 1180 made it through all the Committees and was sent to the Senate Floor but never formally passed..
SB 1150/no House Companion, Fixed the Mandatory Lane language of 2009, Allowed cyclists to install lights instead of paying tickets for not having them, redefined the bicycle to allow tandem wheels on one end.
1150 was another bill that appeared certain to pass. It was a train from the Committee on Governmental Oversight. As of the last Senate text, it had 90 different sections and over 3600 lines. Indeed, it did pass the Senate, was sent to the House where it was amended, then sent back to the House. Unfortunately, one of the House amendments, passed on a 59-57 vote, was to effectively eliminate red-light cameras. That, and other political friction, at crunch time at the end of the session, led to it not being re-taken up by the Senate.
Several items, proposed for 1150 this year, to watch out for next year: Redefinition of the bicycle to allow two wheels on one end, a late amendment by Rep. Albritton, R-Bartow, to redefine the bicycle to include small engines of any type, and amendments that required cars to stop at all intersections where a handicapped person was attempting to cross.
The language regarding allowing cyclists to install/repair lights instead of paying a fine began with SB 118/HB 981, proposed by Sen. Bullard and Rep. Cruz. SB 118 passed all Committees in the Senate but HB 981 did not clear its committees. Eventually, the language of SB 118 was folded into SB 1150.
SB 560/no House companion, Allowed Corporations to donate to Recreational Trails in exchange for Naming Rights, Preserved role of OGT in Trail Process
SB 560 passed through several committees but did not make it to the Senate Floor, despite several attempts to include it in trains. Some of the revenue from this proposal would have been funneled to bike/ped education in county school systems.
Budget, Preservation of OGT Funding
For the third year running, OGT’s own department, DEP, suggested major cuts to OGT. It’s director, Jena Brooks, left earlier this year and was not replaced. The House and the Governor proposed cutting the remaining 16 positions. The Senate proposed cutting only 8 positions. Fortunately, the Senate position prevailed and only 8 positions were cut.
SB 1788/HB 4113, Removes requirement that cyclist keep at least one hand on the handlebars
This “cleanup” bill passed the Senate but was not passed by the House. In the House, it did not clear all of its committees.
SB 608/HB 404, Enhanced penalties for motorists who kill or injure other motorists
Last year, this bill included enhanced penalties including jail, or house arrest, for motorists, who commit a traffic offense which injures or kills another motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian. This year, due to friction between its primary advocate, ABATE, and inexperienced FBA personnel, bicyclists and pedestrians were not included in the bill’s language. As for the bill, it made it through some committees in the Senate but did not make it to the Senate Floor. In the House, it did not get a committee hearing.
Items for the bike/ped community to introduce/support in the 2012 session:
Install/repair lights instead of paying fine
Bicycles on LAFs pilot program
Fixing Mandatory Lane language
Support of red-light cameras
Complete Streets Legislation
Items of concern/analysis/pondering for the next session:
Redefinition of bicycle to allow tandem wheels on one end, small gas motors
Stopping for handicapped pedestrians