Bill to Protect Pedestrians and Cyclists Clears Committee Votes in Assembly

VUannouncement.JPGAssembly Member Brian Kavanagh, speaking, with Daniel Squadron and Scott Stringer at last year’s rally for Hayley and Diego’s Law. To Squadron’s right are Wendy Cheung, Hayley Ng’s aunt, and Jon Adler, representative for the families of Ng and Diego Martinez.

Hayley and Diego’s Law, a bill making its way through Albany that would give law enforcement a new tool to help protect pedestrians and cyclists, took a step forward on Monday night, receiving a unanimous favorable vote from the State Assembly’s codes committee, chaired by Brooklyn rep Joe Lentol. Hayley and Diego’s Law has now cleared both the codes committees and the transportation committee, chaired by Rochester’s David Gantt, and can now proceed to the floor of the full Assembly.

The bill creates a new offense that prosecutors can bring against
drivers who kill or seriously injure
pedestrians or cyclists, providing law enforcement with an intermediate charge between minor
traffic infractions and heavier charges of vehicular homicide.

"It’s a big step to get it through both the Assembly transportation committee and the codes committee," said Lindsey Lusher-Shute of Transportation Alternatives. Though no final vote has been scheduled yet, Lusher-Shute said she hopes to see a vote in the next two weeks.

Legislators in both chambers of the state legislature have changed the sentencing options in Hayley and Diego’s Law. The bill originally stipulated that sentences would include fines and jail times. As revised, judges could include any combination of community service, traffic safety courses, fines, or jail time in their sentencing. The revision means Hayley and Diego’s law hews closer to Oregon’s pioneering vulnerable users law, said Lusher-Shute.

In the State Senate, Lusher-Shute said expects to see the transportation committee, chaired by Brooklyn Democrat Martin Dilan, put the bill on its agenda very soon.