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House | March 31, 2015 | Chamber | Transportation

Full MP3 Audio File

We'd like to call the meeting of transportation to order, good to see everyone today. Our House Sergeant at Arms are Carlton Adams, Joe Osteen, Martha Gadison, and paging for us today, and pages we'd like for you to stand to be recognized, is Matty Dyson from Davidson County, and she's with her sponsor is Representative John Faircloth very good to have you with us, and Corey Dean from Orange County and her sponsor is Representative Brian Turner. Good to have you all with us today. First order of business this subcommittee for House Bill 136 will include Representative [xx], Representative Rayne Brown and Representative Brawley and will be asking them to report back to the committee by April 15th, at the latest, on that bill. The first order of business bills, this is House Bill 86, Utility Line Relocation School Board Representative McNeal and Representative Hurley and the bill is before us. One other comment, we'd like to be out here by 12:30 so we could do the hard work today with representative Connie so you all talk fast and don't be redundant on your questions. Well, if somebody wants to go ahead and make a motion for a favorable report, we can really get out of here fast. Alright, Representative Jeter? Move for favorable report on House Bill 86 with no referral. Any discussions, any questions from the committee? Representative [xx]   has nothing to do with your emotion represents the Charlotte OK, alright, I got to explain it now, alright, when you look at the bill go all the way to the very end of it OK, I've only added for words to this statue, it says, the local board of education right now basically non betterment cost is a very key point in this. Let me explain to you what happens. if the state comes along and decides they want to replace a bridge, okay, but they're perfectly good water lines and sewer lines hanging on those bridge it belongs to a county, a city under 55 population and several other entities there. they don't have to pay the cost of replacing those lines. They're perfectly good, the state decided to replace the bridge so, this statute says, they shouldn't have to pay to replace them. Local boards of educations are not included in that. This is adding local boards of education in basically this is what this bill will do, is that the state comes in, and decides to replace a bridge, or has another project where the water lines have to be, removed, then local board of education would't have to pay for it. Now, non-betterment means they're not improving it there's no improvement to the lines, they're just being charged to move them. And if I might take the liberty as Chair, the Department of Transportation does not oppose this Bill. Representative Adams. Thank you Mr. Chairman. My question is, can you give me a real life example what the Board of Education will benefit from this or has benefited or been damaged by it?   If you look at the fiscal notes, and I don't think it tells you which counties. I think it has affected four state projects, one in 2014 and in 2015, and it gives you the cost of what that would have saved. It doesn't tell you which counties, but I can tell you in Randolph County there are two bridges scheduled for replacement later this year that it would affect. Representative Cleveland. [xx] the local Boards of Education own the sewer and water lines they're not on their [xx]?   Yes Sir. Well, I can give you an example of the case from Randolph County. Their water and sewer lines run from one school to another, they run from Liberty School to Grace Chapel School, so probably eight miles, and during that they cross several bridges. The water and sewer lines are perfectly fine. The state has decided they want to replace the bridges, and since if the county owned those lines the state would pay for a replacing them. If they were owned by certain cities, they would pay for replacing them. School boards are just not

listed, and that's what this Bill does, it adds school boards. Follow up. You have a Board of Education [xx]  at least eight miles [xx] of water and sewer lines, and they maintain these yes sir and it's not the only county in the state that where the board of education owns water sewer lines, they're just the only entity that has to pay to, move them if the state has a steep project Any other questions from the committee or a follow up? Do we hear a motion? OK. Second. All in favor say I, all opposed nay. Opposed? bill passed. Thank you. We refer to, no referral got it Next before us is House Bill 232 PCS for study update bicycle safety laws and it's a PCS that we need a motion to bring before the committee. Representative Conney has made that motion, Representative Whitmire and Ginger Thank you Mr. Chair and thank you committee for hearing this bill. We have seen a lot of issues with trying to address certain things that address how bicycles and motorists and a whole lot of other things interact, and usually it's not with the best of outcomes in terms of different groups that take sides and find offence at the measure.  So, last year, a little bit background, Bike Magazine has designated TransPennine county as the mountain biker in Mecca, the South East, red bull, he's having advance, bikes are everywhere, mountain bikes, road bikes. TransPennine From a stand point of respect in the geography of our states which stretches 543 miles and the interest here Representative [xx] so with that, this tries to shorten and cut the chase when it comes to how study committees often are in use existing expertise from the department of transportation, I consulted tremendously with the division for pedestrian and bicycle transportation within DOT, and did a lot of research and contacted a lot of stake holders on this. What this bill calls for, yes when you get right down to it, it's a study bill, it's a directed study bill with a deliverable by the end of the year that will report back to transportation oversight and if they are able to generate some well thought out proposals that address the items that are in lines 11-16 and there's a lot of latitude there but there's also three specific topics, then we as a body, during the short session, may or may not act on them. But this is one of those ones that for 37 years we've not had a significant update of bicycle traffic law, and as we have more and more mix of dissimilar vehicles on Atlantic Avenue three weeks ago, we had uni-cyclist on 45 mile zoned in rush hour, right out there in the middle of the cars. That's probably not the wisest place for them to be, but on the other hand, there's a lot of things that under the service of just looking at these various laws it just get's a little dicey. So to ensure we have a good proper mix of stakeholders, trucking, law enforcement, agriculture, cycling, county governments, municipalities, the PCS touches on how they are selected, who facilitates that and it insures that as far as expertise on page two, different operators expertise and different geographical perspective are ensured in that group of 12. So that's a long way to say it's a study bill and it's touch on a topic that is long overdue of having some updates to make sure that commerce gets to market effectively and efficiently. Motorists and bicycles operate as safe as possible, and we have some issues that we need to address and hopefully this will be a way to do it. A [xx] Mr. Chairman. Go right ahead Representative Jeter. I want to address something a little bit off the Bill. I've heard from people. I had a nice young lady stop me outside our Historical Preservation Tax Credit press conference with concerns about the Bill. I've had biking enthusiasts express their concern about the Bill.

Let me allay the concerns that I think are somewhat unfounded because our goal is to make it safe for bicyclists. Our goal is to make it so people understand the rules of the road, not only for bicyclists, but from the trucking industry. What shouldn't my trucks do when they see a bicyclist, other than not hit them? Which right now is basically the standard, and it doesn't work very well, and the bicyclists are the one who aren't going to win against my 80, 000 pound truck. This is no effort trying to startle or harm bycycling in the state, this is an effort to try to come up with what is the proper rules of engagement so that when our citizens are driving down roads, when his citizens are driving around on the mountains and they can't see around the curve and there's five bikes around. What is the proper course of action? That's what we are trying to solve and the truth of the matter is, we don't know the answer. If we knew the answer, we'd have a law in here, so what we're asking is to put together a committee with various people from various disciplines, and we intentionally left some of it vague because we think DOT is the best group to put this specificity behind me. And I think this bill will be a tremendeous benefit and an asset to the bicyclist community and I hope that everyone will support the bill. representative Faircloff. Thank you Mr. Chairman, to the bill's sponsor, I've been working on requested bill from the lady whose husband was hit by a motorist. He was riding a bicycle and the motorist left the scene and left him with no way to get him help and he died, and so she's concerned about possibly a change in the hit and run penalties for when a bicyclist might be hit, would that fit into this study bill, you think? I think absolutely, and I think that was line 16 any other issue deemed relevant by the department, to me that's a prime example where this bill if done correctly can be a tremendous benefit to bicycles. So I think absolutely that should be a part of it. Follow up? Sponsor will be a minimal to minimum on floor then. We would be and one thing here I'm talking at both sides of my mouth, the overall you have different bills different nature, some are to stir up a hornet's nest, some are simple. Really there's no such thing as simple. There are a far more complements on just tackling issues that it's been in that too hard to debox for 37 years. So the good news is there's a lot of support to do something then on the other hand and these were miniscule in comparison to the positives and normally the ones that are negative you hear and see more of those because they have a motivation to be heard, but there are some who want to treat they come treated like American Idols who gets the most votes gets the most presents and gets the most issues, so that is why number 4, 5, 16 has that latitude to address topics that are pertinent, I would be very much with that specificity that Representative Faircloth mentions because it tends study and it's an issue probably should have been in here over the course of 16 months or so you weed out some, you get some and that is an ideal one to do. On the other hand, I hope don't have 400 MMS because at there's a point where they can only do so much and we do have some very good expertise and there have been a lot of people who've expressed interests from a lot of different disciplines that are on this bill or whether there's latitude to include it them that have expressed, but I would welcome that on the floor. Yes, Sir. One other comment, I think it might with your folks who are concerned about it Representative Jeter, I think it might strengthen their feeling about it doing something to help him if we're headed in there. Representative Tolbert. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of questions along the same line that Representative [xx] Clause was mentioning. This country has been functioning pretty well as a republic for over 200 years based on a primary concept of the rule of law. Hopefully within this study you'll come out with outcomes. Those outcomes will lead to what individuals can or cannot do to promote safety of both the vehicular traffic

as well as the bicycle traffic. With that rule of law comes penalties if you go beyond the scope of that law, so I hope that some of the outcome from this study will also incorporate laws and penalties associated with the breakage of those laws to the point that they're just not looked at and I'll using this somewhat  injustice driving 55, for example. There's enough strength behind the law and the penalty for not going by the law that we don't put lives in jeopardy. Representative [xx]. I'm going to give my Odex Nickerson example, Odex Nickerson used to play center field for the Atlanta Blaze back in the 90s. There's a rule in Baseball that on a foul tip if you are on the base pass you have to actually go back and touch the back. Odex Nickson never did, if he was on the second base, he never went back and touched the second base, he was violating  the rule. The penalty for violating the rule? There was none! Going to your point, if you're going to make rules in what we're counting on is the jail TOC, of which I'm guessing you will have an intimate involvement with. We'll be very active in be sure we focus the laws that come out of the recommendations side of this committee. Not only into the fair and applicable laws but the fair and applicable penalties if those laws aren't adhered to. Representative Cleveland. fair and applicable Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Quite a number three, this probably first half. instance the parent carry identification, or something along those lines. Does staff have any input on that? I would have to do some further research on that and get back to you. Through the committee, please. Thank you. President Whitmire. Just a comment on item three about the identification. There's many directions, you can take identification from a mishap stand point. If the cyclist has identification, especially if there's a situation that might be further complicated by the mishap, and I don't mean that so they mix it up with 80, 000 pound truck in loss. It could be something simple as they wrecked but they're laying in the side dish unconscious. That's one piece. The other piece, and this gets to why we have the stakeholders we have on the bill, I spend a lot of time talking to highway patrol last year about this, and I put a lot more time in this than I really ever imagined I would, but in the end he goes back to the other sneaks[sp?] an analogy of, there's laws on the books, but many of them are basically unenforceable. So, when it comes to, if there's a bad apple on one side of the equation or the other, motorcycles etc, etc. There's a need to get things to where the laws that we have that are really 37 years overdue of having some updates, are a little bit more effective on how they actually help enhance safety. Representative Tine. I have a motion at the appropriate time please. Thank you, Sir. Representative Carney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well first of all, I want to thank the Bill sponsors, and I know your intent is one the side of the safety issue for both cyclist and drivers on the road. I have two sons that have biked across country from coast to coast and the stories that they have told have been horrific to the mom but their outcomes were great. I don't think this is just a North Carolina issue, but it's in other states too but cycling is broader than just recreational people out riding their bikes. People use them to get to work. There are bike groups that have brought tourism to a new height in some parts of our state especially our rural counties. In other countries, they're way ahead of us so I'm really glad to see the study. I will say that I wish that I'm not going to amend your bill because I think your intent is in the direction of where I had hoped it would go and it will go and that is in your first eight appointments, we only

have one line of representative from the bicycling industry, and I wish that that could be the community because I think when we think in terms of industry, I hope that the department will look at that because these shop owners that do all these safety clinics that they have for their cyclists, they understand and know first hand rather than a bike manufacturer, if it's interpreted that way. When you put in here you've got a law enforcement officer, but then you put law enforcement officers twice again in rural and urban governments, municipal and county governments. There are people within their staff, other than law enforcement, that have this expertise on cycling. So I'm hoping that the department is listening, and I know they are because they have created, and I've been a part of the advisory so over there, they have a division that's just dedicated to sidewalks and bicycles so I'm glad to see you have this, I'm not going to amend your bill because I do know that your good faith is intended here and since it is the department that's doing it, I know that they too want to lift up the safety aspect of it, so thank you for bringing this forward. Thank you representative Connie, I would say that two things, five and six we say representative of county and then a representative of municipal government, who may be, they don't have to be my guess is if you went to the town of Huntersville which I serve for seven years and they said OK, honestly we want somebody from your city to be on this committee, they're going to the head of our bicycle green way division, they are not going to pick a law enforcement officer. The reason we say there may be a law enforcement officer is, there are some places in towns and municipalities across stay where the bike green way person overseeing that part of the division also is a police officer and we didn't want to exclude them based on a definition. So I agree with you, that intent is really for them not to be law officers but we didn't want to exclude them if they had that dual role and then on 9, we specifically put number 9 on the bottom of page 1, lines 31 to make sure that this working group had carte blanche to include anybody and everybody they thought would add value. And we really didn't want to tie their hands with too many definitions, and I I can assure you our tent is how you saw our graciously sedatives. Representative Adams. Well just want to let you know that I think this is an important bill. When we talked about this earlier, I didn't quite understand exactly what this was, I haven't had a chance to read it. I come from Hickory, the home of the Bridge to Bridge race - 321 Bridge the bridge at Grandfather mountain which I thought was absolutely nuts and I wondered how many days it took and found out it's only, the winners does it in about five hours which further boggled my mind. But we do have a well developed bicycling culture in the area where I live, and I just wondered looking at is, you say representative with the bicycling industry, I'm sure that there's great diversity of cultures across the state and I would hope that they would be represented but I'd be interested in working with you on this bill. I find this fascinating, thank you. Representative Holly. Thank you Mr. chairman. First of all, I would like to thank the bill sponsors because I think this is something that we do need to take a look at. I also like to thank them particularly for their flexibility in this bill. A couple of weeks ago, we passed out of this committee, I think it was out of this committee, the MOPED situation, that if it doesn't go through the house, it is classified under the bicycles, am I not, and could that then be studied under the study bill as part of this? I'm is trying to find out, I may be wrong if that other bill does not go throw and here you have any issues determined relevant and any expert brought by the department so this could be added into this? I'm asking this bill does not include mopeds at all, this is just bicycles. Follow up. Well, are not mopeds under the current law included under the bicycles say this thing because it's not a No motorcycle, if they don't fall under the definition of Moped their is a specific definition for a Moped and if they

don't fall under that definition, they are motorcycles. Thank you. Follow up? Representative [xx]. I am concerned about the message this sends to the DOT, that this DOT is one of the biggest problems we're going to face. We're going to have to raise taxes, we're going to have to cut them to the bone, maybe 500 people. And yet we're telling them we need to study bicycles. Representative Yarborough. I don't want to get into the addressing another issue, another bill, particularly that one, for other reasons. People are losing their lives. There are bicyclists who lose the battle every time they're in one of these conflicts, regardless of whose it fault, it doesn't make a difference, and this is a problem that is getting worse as bicycling becomes more common and I think it's incredibly important that we do everything we can to make sure we educate the public and put laws in place to protect our roadways because our roads are, and for those who don't like it and those who do like it, the reality is our roads four bicyclist and car bicyclists other than interstates, I believe, weren't allowed on any road in North Carolina. So, from that perspective, we have an obligation to make sure that we're doing everything we can to make sure their travels on our state roads are done safely and without threat to life. Representative Dollar. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Just a brief question and my vote is not going to depend on the answer, but has the department indicated there's going to be any appropriation needed to conduct the study? The way it's written, the way it's been that it is no, and when I say that, we have a representative here from department if they need to speak and answered, might be get recognized but simply put DOT which has a massive responsibility and a whole lot of infrastructure and issues to help that work better, they have a division of pedestrians and bicycle transportation that has expertise there, and mush of their guidance is reflected here and also they facilitate quit a bit of this selection of those to go in, they know the community, the issues so the answer is no, I'm sure that the department will always like to have one for charges but take a year to do this With that being said, we do have someone I think with us would like to speak today in the audience, if you like to come to the podium give us your name and who you are with turn your mike on sir. OK, my name is Stephen [xx] I'm speaking on behalf of bike walk North Calorina the state wide advocacy organization for pedestrians and bicyclists. We're here today to urge the state to include qualified bicyclists in the study committee, bicyclist are the primary stakeholders in this study because bicyclists  are the one who loose in collisions people believe that user behavior is the most important factor affecting traffic safety, and bicyclists must take responsibility for themselves unfortunately misconceptions about bicycling safety are widespread among the public, including many bicyclists and police officers. BikeWalk NC teaches successful traffic bicycling techniques to our members, to our children, to traffic engineers and to police departments. Our programs are based on 135 years of evidence-based research and analysis by bicyclist organizations. We wish to offer this experience to the Working Group, and to share what cyclists have learned from their successes and from their failures, with the goals of increasing bicyclist safety, reducing motorist stress and improving the effectiveness of law enforcement, thank you. Thank you. Representative Tine for a motion. Thank you Mr. Chair, and brief statement if you'll permit me. This is an important issue for transportation. If you've got kids that ride their bikes, they're out there, it's a safety issue for them. My eight year old's favorite thing to do is ride his bike. I also, believe it or not, you tell by the shape that I'm in but I ride a bike quite a bit as well. So with that I motion the proposed committee substitute receive a favorable report unfavorable to the original. All in favor aye?

All opposed? Alright, ayes have it. Thank you. Meeting is adjourned.