The Bicycle Coalition of Maine works at the federal, state, and local levels to enact laws and policies that protect and promote the rights of people riding bikes or walking. We work directly with state and local government officials to propose, support, and influence policies in Augusta that improve safety and clarify law. We monitor policies that cover a range of issues, including safety, education, access, infrastructure, and the environment.
The 131st legislature has a lot of bicycle and pedestrian bills moving through the process. Check back here for updates and be sure to sign up for our newsletter (bottom of this page) to stay informed about how you can help!
High Priority Bills:
- LD 256: An Act to Add Electric Bicycles to the Electric Vehicle Rebate Program
This bill would add electric bikes (e-bikes) to the statewide efficiency rebate program managed by Efficiency Maine Trust. Adding e-bikes to the rebate program not only promotes clean, efficient, environmentally friendly alternatives, it diversifies the modes of transportation available for this benefit, and allows for wider participation in the program by more Maine residents. Read BCM testimony
- LD 527 An Act to Allow Municipalities to Create Bicycle and Pedestrian Zones with Reduced Speed Limits
This bill would permit towns/cities to reduce speed limits to 25 mph on roads currently posted at 35 mph or less and with a volume of 6000 vehicles or less without a speed study and create bike/ped zones in “downtowns.” Speeding is the most common reason people say they do not walk or bike more and the process to reduce speed limits can be slow and often counterproductive. Read BCM Testimony
- LD: 730: An Act to Provide Traffic Safety Education in Schools
This bill would require 1 hour of age appropriate education per year between Grade 2 and 12, starting with pedestrian behavior and moving towards driving behavior. By providing students basic traffic safety education, we ensure that everyone has a common understanding of the law and best practices for using our public ways. Read BCM Testimony
- LD 1076: An Act to Expand the Use of Traffic Cameras in School and Work Zones
This legislation would allow an exemption to Maine’s prohibition on speed cameras for school and work zones. BCM believes this would help make these areas safer for vulnerable users like school children and road construction workers.
- LD 1156: An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Promote the Design, Development and Maintenance of Trails for Outdoor Recreation and Active Transportation
The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $30,000,000, will be used to provide funds for design, development, and maintenance of motorized, non-motorized, multi-use, and active transportation trails.
Additional Bicycle and Pedestrian Related Bills
- LD 31 An Act to Allow the Commissioner of Transportation to Reduce Speed Limits at Construction Sites with Input from Municipalities and Utilities
This bill allows the Commissioner of Transportation, in consultation with a municipality or utility, to temporarily reduce the posted speed limit where the municipal or utility construction project is located when construction workers are present. Read BCM Testimony
- LD 145 An Act to Increase the Penalties for Operation of a Motor Vehicle While Using a Handheld Electronic Device or Mobile Telephone
Distracted driving remains a significant cause of crashes, and raising penalties may help deter offenders and send the message that society views this as a serious issue. Distracted driving is particularly deadly for vulnerable users like walkers and riders. This bill would raise the penalty for a first offense from $50 to $500, for a second offense from $250 to $1000, and add revocation of a license for a third offense. Read BCM Testimony Voted Ought Not to Pass by Transportation Committee
- LD 209 An Act to Authorize an Interim Use Trail on the Berlin Subdivision Rail Corridor (concept draft) and LD 404 Resolve, to Direct the Department of Transportation to Implement the Recommendations of the Mountain Division Rail Use Advisory Council
Both of these bills direct the Maine Department of Transportation to get started on building trails as recommended by the two completed Rail Use Advisory Councils.
- LD 216: An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Stormwater Management to Provide an Exemption for Trails for Hiking and Other Similar Activities
This bill would extend the same stormwater permitting exemptions that logging roads, motorized trails, and mountain biking trails receive, to hiking and similar trails. Currently DEP stormwater regulations require permits on projects that impact an acre or more of land. Most trail projects are at least 5 miles long. Exempted projects include logging roads, motorized trails, and farming activities, and as of 2022 mountain bike trails are also exempt. The DEP supports BCM’s suggestion to make hiking trails exempt as well. Read BCM Testimony
- LD 552: An Act Regarding the Definition of “Reportable Accident”
BCM opposes this legislation which raises the threshold of property damage in a crash to $2000 (currently $1000). This is an amount much higher than is likely in a bicycle- or pedestrian-car crash. This law could also jeopardize the collection of critical safety data that informs police programming and MaineDOT project priorities. Read BCM Testimony
- LD 607 Resolve, to Direct the Department of Transportation to Examine the Feasibility of Extending Interstate 95 to the St. John Valley
BCM opposes this bill directing the MaineDOT to explore extending I-95 way up north. Building new segments of an expensive highway is not a prudent use of state funding. The MaineDOT has made clear they work under ‘fiscal constraints’ to maintain current roads or invest in active transportation infrastructure. Another car-centric transportation bill would siphon millions out of the MaineDOT budget that could be better used for maintenance and active transportation. Read BCM Testimony
- LD 687: An Act to Increase the Allowable Width of a Snowplow
BCM opposes this legislation which increases the allowable width of a snowplow from 108 (9 feet) to 126 inches (10.5 feet). The average width of a road in Maine is 11 feet. Wider plows will be dangerous to persons walking or bicycling during the winter, as well as to parked and oncoming vehicles.