Ride IllinoisRide Illinois
April 06, 2023

State and Federal Legislative Update

If you’ve been reading the emails that Ride Illinois has been sending and following us on social media, you know that there is a lot of activity in spring regarding legislation at the state and federal level. We appreciate everyone who has shared our action alerts, created witness slips, and voiced their support for safe biking in other ways! This update captures the latest information regarding bike-friendly bills and resolutions that are being discussed Springfield and Washington D.C. 

We also want to share some terrible, unacceptable, and gut-wrenching information. A recent report from NHTSA states that nearly 32,000 people died on U.S. roadways in the first nine months of 2022. Nationwide in 2022, bicyclist fatalities increased 8% over 2021. Pedestrian and motorcyclist fatalities are also on the rise. Fatalities involving trucks increased over 10%. IDOT reports that 1,269 people died on Illinois roads in 2022, including 33 bicyclists and 36 pedestrians. This is unacceptable!

We didn’t share these startling statistics to scare you but, rather, to inspire you to push for change in your community, in Springfield, and in D.C. Our elected officials and decision makers need to hear from people from all walks of life that the status quo is not OK.

Stay tuned to Ride Illinois for future updates via email and social media.

State Legislation Update

With assistance from partners, Ride Illinois has been closely watching several bills in the Illinois House and Senate. To learn the latest on these bills, visit ilga.gov or click on the links below.

  • E-Bike rebate/incentive program: HB3089 and HB3447 have been referred to the Rules Committee in the House. SB1700 and SB2015 have been referred to the Assignments Committee in the Senate. Those committees have not announced their next meetings.
  • Safer Intersections for pedestrians and bicyclists: SB2278 will address a shortcoming in Illinois law by allowing cities and towns to protect their residents by building safer intersections.
  • Lower default speed limit in Illinois: HB3530 will reduce the state’s default speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph in urban areas. Given that excessive speed is the most common factor in serious and fatal crashes, this bill could eliminate many traffic fatalities.
  • Establish a zero fatalities task force: HB2131 will create a statewide task force that will help chart the pathway toward eliminating traffic deaths.
  • Support for rail-trails in Illinois: SR50 urges support for rail-trails in Illinois and completing the vital connection between the I&M Canal Trail and Hennepin Canal Trail.
  • Lower burden of proof in motor vehicle/bike crashes: HB889 will modify the Illinois Vehicle code to state that motorists may not drive unnecessarily close to vulnerable road users in a negligent manner. The current code refers to a reckless manner.
Dedicated bike infrastructure provides a safe space for travel by bike

Federal Legislation Update

Over a dozen advocates from Illinois participated in meetings with members of Congress during the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. at the end of March. The National Bike Summit takes place annually and is organized by the League of American Bicyclists.

The Illinois delegation was led by Dave Simmons and Elizabeth Adamczyk. who served as the state coordinators for Illinois. Six meetings were held on Lobby Day, March 29, and we’re working to schedule meetings with additional members of Congress in the coming weeks. The purpose of these meetings is to voice our support for bills and acts that will make riding a bike safer and easier in communities across the country.

  • Tax break or rebate to purchase e-bikes: HR1685 and S881 will create a tax rebate for people buying electric bikes similar to the tax incentive for buying an electric car.
  • Remove barriers to Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding: HR1668 will make it easier for states to take advantage of flexibility by allowing the state to match local government identified projects while also ensuring the funds are used only on safety-oriented projects.
  • Include Vulnerable Road Users in truck side guard testing: Though large trucks represent only 4% of the vehicles on the road, crashes involving large trucks and bicyclists result in 11% of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities. This act will require NHTSA to include vulnerable road user crashes when completing the truck side guard research.
The Illinois delegation after meeting with Rep. Sean Casten

Voice Your Support

Ride Illinois strongly encourages state and federal elected officials to act swiftly and boldly to drastically reduce crashes and fatalities on our nation’s roads! Our transportation system is in dire need of a transformation.

Legislation and policy rarely move at the pace that advocates are pleased with. Patience and persistence are two of the most effective traits when pushing for change via legislation. That being said, the next couple weeks are a perfect time to contact your state and federal elected officials to make your voice heard!

Visit usa.gov/elected-officials to find contact information for your elected officials. We encourage Illinois residents to make phone calls, send emails, and schedule meetings with elected officials to voice their support for increased safety and better infrastructure for bicyclists, plus pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

Nearly 120 people are dying on our nation’s roads every day. On average, five people die on Illinois roads every day. We are hopeful that many residents of Illinois will contact their elected officials to demand change.

If Ride Illinois can be of assistance for outreach to elected officials, please contact us at info@rideillinois.org.

Photos from the National Bike Summit

Ride Illinois member, Bill Chalberg, pedaling to the Capitol on Lobby Day
Caron Whitaker, Deputy Executive Director with League of American Bicyclists, discussing the benefits of truck side guards
The Illinois delegation held a virtual meeting with Rep. Mike Quigley