No More Senseless Bicycle Deaths!
  • Petitioned Maryland Governor

This petition was delivered to:

Maryland Governor
Maryland State Senate
Maryland State House

No More Senseless Bicycle Deaths!

    1. Petition by

      Kenniss Henry

      Cheverly, MD

  1.  
  2.   
April 2011

Victory

Kenniss Henry, a long-time Change.org member, was a major force in the passage this year of an important bill in Maryland that enacts stricter penalties for reckless drivers who cause road fatalties.

She got involved when her only child, 30-year-old Natasha Pettigrew, was killed on her bicycle last year in a hit-and-run accident. Ms. Henry was overwhelmed by the support she has received from the Change.org community, including more than 5,000 people who signed her petition to push for the legislation, which had previously been stalled in the House of Delegates for six years straight before it passed the full General Assembly in a last-minute vote this April.

Update: 2/9/11: Kenniss Henry, mother of Natasha Pettigrew who was killed on her bicycle last Fall, has been working tirelessly to convince Maryland's state legislature to enact stricter vehicular manslaughter laws. Now, Delegate Luiz Simmons has offered a new bill, HB 363, that would help achieve this goal. The petition letter has been updated to reflect this latest development by offerring support for this bill. Kenniss Henry has also "adopted" the petition under her own name. Please continue to sign and share. Maryland's House of Delegates will hold a committee hearing on the bill on Wednesday, February 23rd.

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In September 2010, 30-year-old Natasha Pettigrew—a U.S. Senate candidate for the Maryland Green Party—was on her bike training for a triathlon just before dawn, when she was struck and killed by an SUV driver who left the scene thinking she had hit a deer. 

At a vigil, Pettigrew's mother, Kenniss Henry, said she intends to fight to make the roads safer to bicyclists. This week, Henry is making good on her promise. She announced that she would run her daughter's "race to the finish line" and replace Pettigrew as the Green Party's candidate for Senate, promoting her daughter's platform and advocating for safer roads. 

In cities and suburbs across America, the roads are dangerous for those in and out of cars. In 2008, federal statistics show that car wrecks killed 26,791 driver and passsengers, 4,414 pedestrians, and 718 cyclists in 2008. 

And if the roads are unsafe, how in the world will we get more people to get out of their car and use their bikes—for their own health and the planet's? 

Honor Pettigrew's death and her mother's memorial campaign pledge and tell the state of Maryland to a) commit to building bike lanes on more roads and b) pass the Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle Act, which would implement appropriate sanctions for reckless drivers who cause fatalities in a criminally negligent manner. You can read more about it on the website of Bike Maryland

In the words of Pettigrew: "Maryland is a large community of several million people and we can all make a difference together....When we help those within our communities we allow for stronger, more cohesive communities.  As we develop stronger, more cohesive communities, we can appreciate the strengths that each of us brings to the community table.  The possibilities are endless."

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Victory! Maryland Enacts Stricter Penalties for Reckless Drivers

      Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      With a huge win last night, the state of Maryland took one leap closer to preventing many senseless bicycle deaths.
      During the waning hours of the last day of the legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly approved House Bill 363, which...

    2. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      For the win! This bill passed late last night -- on the last possible day of the legislative session. There was a lot of drama along the way, including last minute negotiating, but in the end everyone got on board.

      Kenniss Henry, who has been working tirelessly lobbying for this bill, wrote first thing this morning: "YES! We made it!!!! We made it!!!!"

      She is really pumped. We'll get you more details soon about how it all came together at the end.

      Also read this post here:

    3. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      More awesome news.

      With a small change to the language of the bill, HB 363 has successfully been passed out of the Maryland Senate Judiciary Committee! A full Senate vote will be held tomorrow, Monday.

      If you live in Maryland, please take the time to send one more email to your Senator today. You can look him up here:

    4. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The cycling community in Maryland held a bike ride from Baltimore to Annapolis in favor of this bill:

    5. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Watch this NBC Washington news segment on the hearing for this bill. The segment features an interview with petition creator Kenniss Henry:

    6. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The Senate hearing for this bill is this afternoon. Read this Washington Post op-ed from the Washington Area Bicycle Association about the bill:

    7. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      A Senate committee hearing is scheduled on April 6th.

      Please take a moment to call Senator Brian Frosh, head of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, to support the legislation:

      (410) 841-3124, (301) 858-3124

      His support his crucial to moving forward the bill this year.

    8. Reached 5 signatures
    9. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Major news! The Maryland House passed this bill in a unanimous vote: 137-0. Now onto the Senate.

      MARYLAND RESIDENTS:

      This is the first time in seven years that this bill will hopefully (with your support) make it to the Senate for a vote. Please contact your Senator to let them know that you are a constituent and want them to support House Bill 363.

      Enter your home address here:

      Identify your Senator - they will be listed on the left side of the screen. Click on their name for contact information and pick up the phone!

    10. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The Baltimore Sun covers the progress of this bill:

    11. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Amazing news! It looks like there's a good chance the Maryland House will pass this bill this week. The committee passed it last night.

      MARYLAND RESIDENTS:

      This is the first time in seven years that this bill will hopefully (with your support) make it to the Senate for a vote. Please contact BOTH your State Delegate(s) AND Senator to let them know that you are a constituent and want them to support House Bill 363.

      Enter your home address here:

      Identify your Delegate(s) and Senator - they will be listed on the left side of the screen. Click on their name for contact information. to identify your Delegate(s) and Senator - they will be listed on the left side of the screen. Click on their name for contact information.

    12. After 7 Years, Finally a Vote for Maryland's Vehicular Manslaughter Bill

      Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      For seven years, accident victim and cycling/walking advocates have been trying to close a flagrant loophole in Maryland's law to make the road safer for bikers, pedestrians and all who use the road. And for six years running, the bill would get...

    13. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED:

      This is the first time in SEVEN years that the Judiciary Committee will bring House Bill 363 to a vote. If the bill is voted on favorably by the Committee it will then be voted on by the full House and have the opportunity to become law.

      Maryland residents: Because this is a rare opportunity for your State Delegate to show support/vote in favor of this bill, it is critical that you please take 2 minutes to contact your Delegate and let them know that you are a constituent and it is important to you that they support House Bill 363.

      It is not necessary to discuss the bill in more detail. Find your delegate here:

    14. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      If you live in Maryland, after signing the petition, will you directly email or call House Speaker Michael Busch?

      Tell him you support H.B. 363 -- the Vehicular Manslaughter Act -- and want to make sure it actually comes to a full House of Delegates vote this year. It's imperative this happens before April, which is the end of the session.

      Email: michael.busch@house.state.md.us

      Phone: (410) 841-3800 or (301) 858-3800

    15. 4,800 People Join to End Maryland's Reckless Driving Loophole

      Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      One state lawmaker calls Maryland's lack of a vehicular manslaughter law "a cosmic absurdity."
      For grieving families and friends of vehicular manslaughter victims, the law is simply tragic.
      Almost 5,000 people have joined Kenniss Henry, a Maryland...

    16. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Kenniss Henry at the committee hearing for HB 363: "We must stop sending messages that the only alternative is to let the driver walk."

    17. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The Capital Gazette, in Annapolis, covers the hearing on this legislation and quotes Kenniss Henry:

    18. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Check out this wrap-up on Bike Maryland's symposium this week:

    19. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Kenniss Henry on yesterday's hearings for the legislation: "The Hearings went very well I thought. We had such a diverse group of supporters, it was awesome."

    20. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Read myths and facts about this legislation here:

    21. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      A committee hearing on this legislation is today. Here is testimony that will be given by the Washington Area Bicycle Association:

    22. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Natasha's Ride:

    23. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The Baltimore Sun covers Bike Maryland's symposium today:

    24. Reached 4 signatures
    25. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      From the comments: "I was hit from behind by a "road rage" type driver, operating his truck recklessly. I was injured and could have been killed. The driver received a $140 fine, that's it. For almost killing me! I am a 44 yr old, father of two, airline pilot, US Marine Reservist, and ride 4,000+ miles each year." -- Stephen Brooks, Hagerstown, MD

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Cat Bening Stadler SACRAMENTO, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      Cyclist are people too!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Pamela Mayer DEBARY, FL
      • over 3 years ago

      I've lived in CA, TX & FL. All Tourist States. It only makes sense that a slight mental shift is made to protect pedestrians/bicyclers, etc are protected. It is in the best interest of the state and more imporantly why would anyone who killed a pediestrian receive a slap on the wrist? USE common sense. The numbers of pedestrians killed in FL, including mothers walking with strollers is abominable. We are attempting to take flash pix of those running red lights which will at least help id the "killer," but with much opposition. US Citizens where is your common sense?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bonnie Sudnick CHURCHTON, MD
      • over 3 years ago

      The penalities should be high, especially for drunk drivers. 'Accidentally' hitting someone is no excuse, especially when the family tells the tale that someone within the neighborhood has threatened the injured or deceased person. This I have heard in my own neighborhood and heard warnings about an individual who has made threats. So death by accident/vehicle has no real punishment now and even with this bill signed, it still means little to nothing to the one that caused it. Let's add a very high fine, and stiffer jail time. But as a start let's get this bill passed.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kenneth Weber REISTERSTOWN, MD
      • over 3 years ago

      Not only as a cyclist but as a parent, motorist and voter; our laws need to have fitting punishment. Yes, it may be "an accident" but aren't most accidents preventable?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Greg Cantori PASADENA, MD
      • over 3 years ago

      I played the bagpipes at Natasha's roadside memorial - I don't want to play them anymore.....

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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