Maryland 2021 Legislative Session Summary

The 2021 legislative session was a busy one, hampered by COVID restrictions but productive nonetheless.  Below are the transportation related bills WABA and other bike advocates from around the State, including BikeMD, followed and worked to pass.  We will renew the fight for the ones that did not pass next January in the 2022 session and also make a concerted effort to significantly increase the level of State funds for all active transportation projects.

Bills Passed

HB 118/SB 293 – Vehicle Laws -Injury or Death of Vulnerable Individual -Penalties text here.  This was the main focus of efforts by the BikeMD advocates and will become effective law on October 1, 2021.  The new Vulnerable Road User law will save lives by encouraging safer driving with stronger penalties for those who hurt or kill pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, wheelchair users and other vulnerable road users lawfully using or crossing our roads.The law mandates a court appearance by any motor vehicle driver who causes a crash with a vulnerable road user who is killed or seriously injured.  In the past, such drivers usually were issued a traffic citation or ticket.  Now, such drivers must appear in court and face stiffer penalties including higher fines, a driver safety program, community service and license suspension for up to six months.  This will provide greater support to victims and friends of crash victims knowing the driver involved will face a greater penalty.    The law helps fill a gap between traffic citations and higher offenses such as criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle.

HB 562 – Montgomery County –Speed Limits –Establishmenttext here.  Montgomery County and any local jurisdiction in the County  can now decrease the speed limit on a street down to 15 mph after performing an engineering and traffic study. This seems to include State Highways ( such as Georgia Avenue/MD-97) as long as the change is approved by MD State Highway Administration.  This bill will be effective October 1, 2021.

PEPCO Trail paving fundedmore detail here.  $10 Million was appropriated to Montgomery Parks to pave 7 miles of an existing 13 mile natural surface trail that runs along an electric powerline right of way from South Germantown to Cabin John Regional Park.   The trail goes along a electric powerline right-of-way.

Passed but Vetoed by Governor Hogan

HB 114 – Maryland Transit Administration – Funding and MARC Rails Extension Study – establishes and funds a Purple Line Grant program for businesses along the light rail corridor and funds a study on extending MARC service to West Virginia.  It is likely the veto will be overridden by the legislature in 2022.

Proposed but Not Passed

HB 564 – Montgomery County –Automated Traffic Enforcement – the bill would have allowed Montgomery County to transfer the automated traffic enforcement program (Speed and red light cameras) from the police (MCPD) to the transportation agency (MCDOT), thus placing this program with the agency primarily responsible for Vision Zero and any redesign of the roads.  In addition, removing this program from police responsibility could be an initial step towards removing armed police from traffic enforcement overall and thus reducing friction (often racially motivated) between the police and drivers.  This bill passed the House of Delegates, but failed to get a floor vote in the Senate.

HB 0067 – Maryland Department of Transportation Promises Act – bill would have placed restrictions on public-private partnerships and aimed to hold the Maryland Department of Transportation and Hogan Administration to many of the promises made during highway expansion planning.  The bill would prohibit the Board of Public Works from approving a phase public-private partnership agreement for the I-495 and I-270 Public-Private Partnership Program unless the payment of the toll revenue is transferred to a certain special fund; it also would authorize a public-private partnership agreement for the Program to require a bidder to agree to initiate a community benefit agreement.  This bill did not pass either house.

Women & Bicycles Reliable, Affordable Transportation Ride and Chat

About this ride:

Expect a low key, conversational pace on mostly flat, car free trails. We’ll stop at a few places to talk about this article about how hospitality workers struggle to find reliable, affordable transportation. We’ll be out for about 2 hours. 

Note: This ride series is a part of WABA’s Women & Bicycles program and is only open to those who identify as woman/trans/femme/non-binary. If that’s not you, we have plenty of other events you should check out at waba.org/fun. Know someone who should come? Please share this event with them!

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Where We’re Riding: 

The Anacostia Tributary Trails are quaint stream valley trails that stretch throughout Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties in Maryland and the District. We’ll do a short, flat 7 mile ride on Piscataway land starting from West Hyattsville Metro Station (2700 Hamilton St, Hyattsville, MD 20782). The ride is round trip. We’ll depart from West Hyattsville Metro Station and head to Bladensburg Waterfront Park via the Northwest Branch Trail. 

While riding, walking, or taking a break along the ride routes, participants must maintain 6 ft of distance between themselves and others not in their households. During the check-in, the chat, and while otherwise gathered as a group, participants must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. Helmets are required for this ride. If you don’t have one, email us and we’ll get you a loaner. We’ll be riding on a paved trail for the duration of the ride and welcome you to bring your own bike. Don’t have a personal bike? No worries. We’ll reimburse your usage fee of a Capital Bikeshare bike – just shoot us an email. It will likely be warm so please dress accordingly in comfortable attire and bring water to stay hydrated.

What We’re Reading: 

We’ll be reading Hospitality Workers Struggle to Find Reliable, Affordable Ways Home from Washington City Paper that discusses the intersection of service industry workers and transportation (in)justice. An issue that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic but has been around for a very long time.

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This ride is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company. 

2021 Annual Member Meeting

Word cloud from WABA's 2025 strategic planning engagement process.

Join WABA for our annual member meeting.

Come learn how your membership dues make an impact on WABA’s work! This once-a year event is a chance to hear how 2020 went for WABA, learn what’s on the horizon, and meet and ask questions of WABA’s leadership.

At the meeting, you and your fellow members will vote on the nominated slate of incoming board members, hear from our Board of Directors and Executive Director about our work, and have opportunities to ask questions.

Agenda:

  • 2020 Updates & Wins
  • Transportation equity and antiracism at WABA
  • Q&A
  • Recognition of outgoing board members
  • Nomination of slate of 2021-2023 board candidates
  • Vote

The meeting will be closed captioned but not be recorded. If you’re not able to attend and would like to see the presentation after the 16th, drop us a line at membership@waba.org.

Register

All current WABA members are invited to the annual member meeting. WABA launched a pay-what-you-can membership model last year, so any personally meaningful contribution makes you a dues-paying member for one year. 

To register for the meeting, first confirm your membership by entering your email into the lookup box:

Trouble viewing this form? Click here.

Prince George’s County Trail Highlights with Robyn Short

Often when people think about biking in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the Anacostia Branch Trails are the first that come to mind. But, Prince George’s County has over 160 miles of bike trails ready for your next ride. Join WABA Instructor and Black Women Bike Organizer, Robyn Short, as she offers a look at some of the lesser-known trails in the county and how you can reach them.

This webinar is FREE to join. Invite friends and family members and be sure to bring plenty of questions!

Tune in on Zoom

Add to your calendar by clicking here.

Click here to register for the Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 916 9273 4759   Password: bike

Tales and Trails of Prince George’s County with Robyn Short

This event will take place entirely online

Often when people think about biking in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the Anacostia Branch Trails are the first that come to mind. But, Prince George’s County has over 160 miles of bike trails ready for your next ride. Join WABA Instructor and Black Women Bike Organizer, Robyn Short, as she offers a look at some of the lesser-known trails in the county and how you can reach them.

This webinar is FREE to join. Invite friends and family members and be sure to bring plenty of questions!

Tune in on Zoom

Add to your calendar by clicking here.

Click here to register for the Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 999 1558 6497   Password: bike

Action Committee for Montgomery County

WABA’s MoCo Action Committee meetings are going online using Google Hangouts Meet. It’s relatively simple to set up and participate. And at a time when limiting in-person social contact is advised, it’s good to see some friendly faces.

Join the video meeting: meet.google.com/zpo-xkfj-mfk

Join by phone:‪ Dial (470) 485-0804‬ and use PIN: ‪190 847 912‬#