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2021 Legislative Agenda

BikeMN’s 2021 Legislative Agenda

You can check the status of these bills and read the text here (Hint: use this format in your search HF32 – leave no space)

The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) supports:

  • E-Bike Updates – HF 32 (Elkins) and SF 1161 (Dibble)
  • Bike Policy Bill – HF 1908 (Lillie) and SF 2131 (Howe)
  • Active Transportation Policy and Finance Bill – HF 1566 (Bernardy) (Dibble plans to introduce the Senate companion)
  • $10 million in bonding for Safe Routes to School infrastructure – HF 1108 (Murphy) and SF 1223 (Senjem) 

E-Bike Updates – HF 32 (Elkins) and SF 1161 (Dibble)

  • Clarifies that e-bikes are not motorcycles, off-road vehicles or motor vehicles.
  • Outlines the new 3-Class system with Class 1, pedal assist up to 20 mph, being what is currently defined as an electric assisted bicycle. Class 2 does not require pedal assist and can go up to 20 mph using a throttle. Class 3 require pedal assist but can go up to 28 mph.
  • Section 11 updates the riding rules and regulations to the 3-Class system

Bike Policy Bill – HF 1908 (Lillie) and SF 2131 (Howe)

There are several policy changes in House File 1908/Senate File 2131 that BikeMN feels will make things safer for people biking. It is exactly the same bill that passed the House 122-0 in 2019. Many of the changes were recommended as best practices by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the League of American Bicyclists. It makes the following changes:

  • Centralizes and makes consistent the definition of Bikeway.
  • Modifies the meaning of bicycle lanes so that all bike lanes are considered part of the roadway (that is, the main traveled portion of a road) and not a shoulder. This is necessary because not all traffic laws apply to those operating on the shoulder. 
  • Clarifies that traffic laws apply to those riding on the shoulder and that bicycles in a crosswalk have the rights and duties of a pedestrian. 
  • Resolves the differences between 169.18 Subdivisions 3 and 5 saying that the passing distance when overtaking bicycles requires at least three feet or half of a vehicle’s width when passing.
  • Changes the poorly understood as far to the right as practicable language to as far to the right as the bicycle operator determines is safe. 
  • makes it legal for bicyclists to proceed straight through an intersection from a right-hand turn lane.

Active Transportation Policy and Finance Bill – HF 1566 (Bernardy) SF 2079 (Johnson Stewart)

HF 1566 is an omnibus bill (a bill comprising several items) that includes language from many of the previous bills BikeMN supported. It will likely be  picked apart with pieces included in the Omnibus Transportation Finance and Omnibus Transportation Policy bills.

  • HF 1566 includes the exact language from HF 32, the e-bike updates bill and HF 1908/SF 2131 the bike policy bill.
  • The Active Transportation Finance provisions include:
    • A Pedal Minnesota licence plate and dedicates $20 from each plate to the Active Transportation program account (M.S. 174.38, the program that has been created but never funded).
    • Requires MnDOT to allocate at least 110% of the federal authorization for Transportation Alternatives to that program.
    • Dedicates the sales tax paid on bicycles, parts, maintenance, repair and upgrades to the active transportation program account (could be around $15 million per year).
    • Requires that at least 10% of a sales tax imposed by the Metropolitan Council for transit/bike/walk purposes be used for active transportation programs and infrastructure.
    • Appropriates $3 million to safe routes to school infrastructure grants from a bonding bill.
    • Appropriates $250,000 from the General Fund to the Amateur Sports Commission for plans for a new velodrome.
  • School Related Active Transportation
    • Deletes the option for schools to provide bicycle and pedestrian safety education and requires them to provide Active Transportation Safety Training. It also describes the program and requires MnDOT to maintain a model program.
    • Allows local authorities to establish a school zone on any street or highway regardless of jurisdiction over the road.
    • Allows cities to establish school-related speed limits as low as 20 mph outside a school zone but within two miles of a school or along a safe routes to school corridor.
    • Requires the Active Transportation Proram’s first $500,000 annually to be for a grant to develop, implement, and maintain an active transportation safety curriculum for youth ages 5-14.
  • Article 4 – Active Transportation Policy
    • Sections 1 & 6-11 are the same as HF 1908
    • Requires the Active Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC – the renamed Nonmotorized Transportation Advisory Committee that is reauthorized in Section 12) to advise MnDOT on the bikeway design guidelines and requires MnDOT to provide technical assistance to local governments.
    • Adds ATAC to the list of those advising MnDOT of State Bicycle Routes.
    • Designates the Mississippi River Trail bikeway as a State Bicycle Route.
    • Designates the route known as the North Star bikeway as the Jim Oberstar Bikeway, a State Bicycle Route.
    • Creates or reauthorizes the Nonmotorized Transportation Advisory Committee whose authorization expired a couple years ago and renames it the Active Transportation Advisory Committee. 

Safe Routes to School Bonding HF 1108 (Murphy) and SF 1223 (Senjem) the stand alone bonding bills for $10 million for SRTS.

(BikeMN opposes) Prohibiting Use of Trunk Highway Funds and Trunk Highways for Bike Lanes SF 1151 (Newman) and HF 1627 (Petersburg) BikeMN opposes these bills that would prohibit highway user tax (gas tax) distribution funds or trunk highway funds use for bicycle lanes or routes and prohibit vehicle travel lanes conversion to bicycle lanes. For example, this would prohibit the conversion of four lane main streets to 3 lanes (including a center turn lane and bike lanes) in places like Lake City, Glenwood, and other cities requesting that MnDOT do this where traffic volume permits and it would actually decrease motor vehicle crashes by preventing the most common, rear ending someone turning left, crash. 

The 2021 Minnesota Legislative session began in January and ended in mid-May with a stalemate between the House and Senate over the state budget. If there is a special session check the BikeMN Blog for an update on which of these bills passed as part of the big budget agreement.

Have a Chat & Sampling the 2021 Summit

Talking to your Legislators and Elected Officials

Sampling of the 2021 Summit

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