Senate approves Archambault legislation to protect vulnerable road users
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) that would protect vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The bill (2021-S 0318A) would provide for specific fines and sanctions to operators of motor vehicles who fail to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a vulnerable road user causing injury, serious injury, or death to the vulnerable road user.
“This legislation, which has the support of the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition, will add a layer of protection to our vulnerable road users,” said Senator Archambault. “There was a 3.4 percent increase in national pedestrian fatalities in 2018, and a 6.3 percent increase in bicyclist fatalities in that same time period. As a society, we’ve been encouraging walking and cycling for environmental and health reasons. Ensuring pedestrian and bicycling safety will go a long way toward encouraging these activities as well.”
The bill defines vulnerable road user as a pedestrian; a bicyclist; a police officer or emergency worker on duty when outside of a vehicle; a highway worker performing duties outside of a vehicle; a person riding on or driving a wheelchair, motorized or not; a person using a skateboard, inline skate, or roller skates; a person riding on or driving an animal; or a person riding on a scooter.
Those found in violation would be fined $200 for a collision resulting in bodily injury, $500 for serious bodily injury, or $1,000 for a collision resulting in death.
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, which has passed similar legislation (2021-H 5093) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston).
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