A life is worth more than a traffic ticket

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Stephen Rader, 47

In his latest blog post on The Active Pursuit, Tom Held reports that Mitchell Edge, 23, has been fined $1,311 for driving his tow truck into and killing Steven Rader, 47, last May. Regular readers may note this is the largest fine we have seen in recent years for an inattentive driver who kills someone riding a bike. But whether the fine is $180 or $1,300, giving someone a traffic ticket and a fine for killing someone doesn’t seem like justice or much of a deterrent to inattentive driving.

If our Vulnerable Users Law was in place when Edge killed Rader, he might be facing a Class A misdemeanor criminal charge that comes with a $10,000 fine and up to 9 months in jail. The Bike Fed has been working with Sen. Luther Olson (R-Ripon) and Rep. Gary Beis (R-Sister Bay) to draft our Vulnerable User Law. The bill has already had hearings before the Assembly and Senate Committees on Transportation, and we have heard rumors that it might move out of committee for a vote by the legislature in early January.

If you are represented by any of the committee members below, it would be helpful for you to contact them and ask that they pass the bill on for a vote by the full Assembly or Senate.

If you don’t know who your state legislators are, you can find that out by entering your home address on this page.

For the Senate, ask that they approve 2013 Senate Bill 307 (sb307)

Committee on Transportation, Public Safety, and Veterans and Military Affairs

For the Assembly, ask that they approve 2013 Assembly Bill 388 (ab388)

Assembly Transportation Committee members

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 11 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave lives with his wife Liz and daughter Frankie in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's west side.

7 thoughts on “A life is worth more than a traffic ticket

  1. What if we are NOT represented by any of the committee members listed above; is this just trying to get through committee now? I ask because neither of the Madison reps are on the committee. Will it do no good at this point to contact them?

    Norm

    • Thanks for asking Norman. I am pretty sure all of the Madison area legislators will vote in favor of this bill once it makes it to either the Assembly or Senate floors, but it never hurts to contact your elected representatives at the local, state or federal level and remind them you care about any bicycling issue or to remind them to look for this bill to come out of committee soon. Another thought is that even though you are not represented by the chairmen of either committee, you could contact their offices and politely ask that they move the bills since you care about them and this Rader case affected everyone who rides a bike in the Madison area.

      Thanks for reading, writing and riding!

      • Thanks, this was also my question. I care a lot about this bill and would like to see it move, but live in Madison. Will contact the chairs and would welcome other suggestions for action.

  2. I submitted a comment to both Senate and Assembly committees today. I am vulnerable victim from October bike-car accident in Madison. Thank you for doing this campaign.

  3. With great power, comes great responsibility to harness that power, and respect for others in harms way. Do not let abuse of that power over two tons of steel and such, go unpunished by a mere slap on the wrist .

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