BOSTON —The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday passed legislation for new requirements for cyclists and motorists that promote safety for everybody who uses the road.
The Senate bill received overwhelming bipartisan support, and now must go to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
An act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities includes several measures that together will greatly improve road safety.
The bill classifies several groups, including pedestrians, utility workers, first responders and cyclists, as vulnerable road users and requires motor vehicles to apply a safe passing distance of at least three feet when traveling 30 miles per hour or less with an additional foot of clearance required for every 10 miles per hour over 30 miles per hour.
The bill would further require trucks and similar large vehicles purchased, leased or under contract with the Commonwealth after a certain date to be equipped with lateral protective devices, convex mirrors and crossover mirrors to reduce the risk posed to vulnerable road users who are susceptible to being unseen by truck driver’s and slipping underneath large vehicles during accidents.
The bill would additionally establish a 25 mile per hour speed limit on an unposted area of state highway or parkway inside a thickly settled or business district within a city or town that has accepted the 25 mile per hour local option, as lower vehicle speeds reduce the possibility and severity of crashes.
Finally, the bill increases the flexibility of the Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit in active construction zones thereby significantly increasing the protection provided to vulnerable workers and first responders at the construction site.
“We need to keep working year after year to achieve a future in which traffic fatalities get as close as possible to zero,” said Senator William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), lead sponsor of the traffic fatality reduction bill in the Senate. “This bill will help us move in the right direction.”