Thank you for your emails to the subcommittee!!! It made a difference.
Senator Hembree chaired H.3909 through its subcommittee, and it survived largely intact. We’re confident he will champion it, as it stands below, through to law. Here is the bill’s status:
1. Stop for pedestrians in non-signalized crosswalks; don’t just yield.
2. Additional penalties for negligence causing serious injury or death to Vulnerable Road Users.
Intact, in part.
Negligence is criminalized in the specific event of the death or great bodily injury of a bicyclist, pedestrian, person on a tractor, or wheelchair. Achieved an increase in penalty for the above from $100 max to ANY OR ALL of these: a max $2000 fine, max 30 days prison sentence, a motor vehicle accident prevention course, and/or 200 hours community service. These penalties can be added to others, such as causing death from failure to pass safely (for bikes = $1000 fine from 2008 law), and a host of others. We lost the 6 month license suspension, a pragmatic decision by Senator Hembree based on the failure of other bills with license suspensions to move further.
Note: Negligence is categorically a lesser offense than reckless driving, DUI, and other offenses, which can result in harsher convictions (manslaughter, homicide, murder) and current penalties such as suspension of driving privileges and years in prison. Hence, we addressed a gap in the law for vulnerable road users, lying between low level traffic citations and reckless driving, in the due care (negligence) section of SC law. For further information on this legislative opportunity and the model law from the League of American Bicyclists, see this resource.
3. Update ped control signal law.
4. Define a bike lane.
5. E-bike definition and rights/duties.
Once again, we need constituents, members, and partnering organizations to send in Letters of Support for H.3909, the Dylan Paul Mitchell Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act. H.3909 will see the full Senate Transportation Committee next Wednesday, so we need these letters sent by C.O.B. Monday, February 29th. Take Action here. This link provides more information on the bill, as originally written.