State Bills to Make our Roads Safer

State Bills to Make our Roads Safer

In 2020, although there were fewer cars on the road due to Covid-19 restrictions, pedestrian and cyclist deaths continued to climb. Last year alone, 130 Marylanders lost their lives while attempting to cross our streets and there were an additional 3,022 pedestrian-involved crashes which caused injury or property damage.

First up we have HOUSE BILL 254, the Safe Access for All (SAFE) Roads Act of 2022,.

This bill addresses the disconnect between MDOT response and the goals of the Vision Zero law stems from a lack of detailed plans to address the problem and insufficient dedicated resources.

The SAFE Roads Act

  1. necessitates pedestrian and bicyclist safety countermeasures be incorporated into new, preservation, and maintenance construction projects;
  2. requires SHA conduct a thorough crash analysis of all roadways to identify high-risk intersections and corridors with serious pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities by July, 2023;
  3. using this crash analysis, requires SHA to identify gaps in safe infrastructure and engineering improvements, and develop a budget estimate and timeline to implement these improvements;
  4. provides dedicated funding of nearly $170 million in FY24 with a 10% increase each subsequent year to be included in the MD state budget for fiscal years 2024-2028 to be used specifically by the SHA to address and improve the safety of Maryland’s roads for pedestrians and bicyclists, including ADA and bicycle retrofits, sidewalk program, traffic management and safety/spot improvements;
  5. identifies pedestrian and bicyclist project planning, implementation, and program management function as a SHA budget line to expedite vulnerable road user safety engineering improvements.

Nest we have the HB0254:  State Highway Administration – Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities – Infrastructure Review (Vision Zero Implementation Act of 2022)

HB0254 perfectly complements Delegate Charkoudian’s SAFE Roads Act; while the SAFE Roads Act requires a systemwide assessment to identify the most dangerous intersections and corridors using the most recent 5 years of crash data, as well as identify and implement corrective engineering countermeasures for these dangerous roadways, HB0254 requires a crash analysis of individual future fatal crashes and targeted engineering countermeasures to address specific gaps at the crash location. 

HB0254 requires SHA to:

  1. Assess each individual fatal pedestrian and bicyclist fatality occurring on SHA roadways within 6 months after the crash;
  2. Identify engineering countermeasures consistent with Safe System approach; 
  3. Consider the countermeasures that are appropriate for the highway context (e.g., urban, rural, modes of travel)
  4. Publicly post the assessment to SHA web site

To advocate for these bills, please send an email supporting HB254 and HB0254 to the following people:

Senator William C. Smith, Jr.D20Montgomery Chair
Senator Jeff WaldstreicherD18Montgomery Vice Chair
Senator Susan C. LeeD16Montgomery Member
Delegate BarveD17Montgomery Chair
Delegate David Fraser-HidalgoD15Montgomery Member (MV&T-Chair)
Delegate Sara LoveD16Montgomery Member (MV&T)
Delegate CharkoudianD20Montgomery Roads bill sponsor

Amy Ginsburg


One comment

Tina Slater

Thank you for summarizing and clarifying these important bills! They are naturally filled with “legalese” (specialized terminology and phrasing used by those in the legal field and within legal documents), as any bill must. But you’ve done us a favor by boiling down the major points and citing the dates by which certain tasks must be completed.

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