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Thursday, June 5, 2003

Go, Greg! Go, Greg!

From my friend Rep. Greg Macpherson's latest legislative newsletter:

Rep. Greg Macpherson led an effort in the Oregon House of Representatives to pass a bill expanding the protection of pedestrians in crosswalks. Senate Bill 315 requires motorists to stop and stay stopped when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk that has no stop light.

The bill replaces the current legal requirement for motorists to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

"The problem with the current law is that a driver has no obligation to actually stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk," Macpherson said. "Some drivers meet their legal obligation to yield by just steering around the pedestrian, which can be very intimidating."

Senate Bill 315 applies the requirement to stop during the time when the pedestrian is in the same lane as the [motorist] or an adjacent lane. As a result, the requirement does not apply to a vehicle that is in the right hand lane of a four lane roadway while a pedestrian is in the portion of the crosswalk that is in either of the two opposite lanes.

“Our public rights of way are for pedestrians as well as automobiles,” Macpherson told fellow House members. “To maintain our public rights of way for pedestrians, we must defend their ability to move from place to place without fear for their safety.”

Senate Bill 315 passed the House by a vote of 53 to 3 and is expected to be signed by Governor Kulongoski next week.

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