Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Healey to Cyclists: Die!

In her last days as lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey played the bobble-head one more time. Filling in for her chronically absent boss, she actually vetoed a bill to protect bicyclists. In addition, her terse memo to the legislature showed clearly that she had no idea what she was doing.

Double doh.

Tip of the helmet to Talking Politics for a brief mention of this. I haven't seen anything of this in our rags. Also, MassBike's lament on this is here.

The bill (H.5372) resulted from the dogged efforts of Rep. Anne E. Paulsen. The Belmont legislator is a guardian of public safety, with a particular eye for cyclists.

It provides that police around the state take training in cycling laws and requires real enforcement of such reckless acts as turning a vehicle into a cycle or opening a door and causing a crash. It is full of long overdue, common-sense help for commuting cyclists, the ones most at risk on their daily rides.

Our bleach-job politician (I am a real blond and can write that) clearly was swiveling in her chair instead of reading when she vetoed this one. In its entirety, her note to the legislature reads:
December 31,2006

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:

Pursuant to Part the Second, Chapter I, Section I, Article II of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, I am returning unsigned House Bill No. 5372, "An Act Providing for Bicycle Safety."

I support increased awareness of bike safety, but I believe this bill is overly regulative and represents an unwarranted governmental intrusion into the recreational affairs of citizens. I encourage the Legislature to focus on education that promotes safety and not on a new regulatory framework that subjects bicyclists to sanctions and fines.

For this reason, I am returning to you House Bill No. 5372 unsigned.

Respectfully submitted,
Kerry Healey
Acting Governor
Okay...but...it wasn't about recreational affairs...it wasn't restricting cyclists...

This was safety for citizens, pure and simple. It's too late for a veto override, but at least this will come up again in the next session. Bless Rep. Paulsen. Curse Kerry.

She wasn't a real governor, but she played one at the State House. Thank the forces of heaven and earth that she never had a shot at the office.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is substantive language in the bill restricting a bicyclists activities: illegal to ride more than 2 abreast on a lane, arrest for failure to identify self, fines for helmet non-use.

Thanks for the veto!

Laurel said...

"represents an unwarranted governmental intrusion into the recreational affairs of citizens"

So it's Big Gubmnt to increase cyclist safety but not to hack the civil rights from a minority?

Yep, she's a Republican alright.

Craig said...

A "real blonde"? Come on Mike!

Mass Marrier said...

Hey, Anonymous, this is a rights and responsibilities law, written carefully after years of work, including lots of input from cops and all levels. They wanted a balanced bill, accurately treating bicycles as the vehicles they are.

The veto was based in ignorance. This bill passed every critic's niggles and questions after much study.

As a cyclist, I'm behind it. It's time drivers realize that if they treat bikes like targets, they'll pay. One price for that is reasonable accommodating by us two-wheelers.

Anonymous said...

Indeed - it is only fair and right that bicycles be required to obey traffic laws and "share the road" with cars, and that cars are expected to do the same. This was a fair and just bill that should have been passed for everyone's sake.

Of course, I think it would be great to have a police force in Boston that actually enforces ANY traffic laws, even as they stand. Until that happens, the whole issue is effectively irrelevant.

Mass Marrier said...

Well, as we have been learning in the Moving Together conferences, PDs like Brookline's have gone from that non-enforcement to bike knowledgeable and bike friendly. With a mandate from legislation, the BPD loses its excuses of laziness and no applicable laws. Those are huge for city cops. This bill had both education and enforcement mandates -- the key first steps.

Likes Bike 2 said...

Thanks for blogging about this. I was begining to think no one noticed.

A big, deep, heart-felt 'farewell' to Mrs. Healey.

Buh-bye.

Uncle said...

Hey Craig,

I worked with Mike and (when I'm well)hoist a few with him. Blonde in a literal sense: how's that?

Belatedly: didn't we try this once before, many moons ago, get it passed just to see the laws totally ignored by most police? I'd like to get la Belle Healey's Prides address and fake an accident on her doorstep.

BTW, my major score includes one millimetres-near-miss of a clueless pedestrian, one dooring, and one threat with a pistol, plus minor crap not worth mentioning. And I don't even ride downtown!

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