The Cascade Bicycle Club is proposing a new state law that would aim to protect bicyclists and pedestrians. The advocacy group is pushing for a "Vulnerable User Bill," which would expand Washington's negligent driving law to include traffic infractions that result in death or serious injury to a cyclist or pedestrian, such as a fatal failure to yield. Such infractions then would become gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail.
The proposal is the club's top priority for the 2010 legislative session, said David Hill, Cascade's advocacy director. "This isn't about acts of God or things that are generally unavoidable. This is about when people deliberately ignore the parameters we have established for safe operation of what is a very dangerous appliance and it results in seriously bodily injury or death," he said.
The City of Seattle had a similar ordinance that was overturned by the state Court of Appeals in August.