The house approved Sen. Adam Kline's (D-37, Seattle) legislation 61-32 yesterday that would raise penalties on negligent drivers who kill or injure cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users. Kline's vulnerable users bill already passed the senate 43-5 in February and moved out of the house judiciary committee mid-March—garnering some Republican support along the way.

Kline's legislation creates a new infraction where drivers who strike vulnerable users are subject to a $5,000 fine and restricted from driving for 90 days. Currently, drivers who strike vulnerable users in the second degree are subject only to a $250 fine. Opponents of the legislation such as Rep. Jay Rodne (R-5, North Bend) have argued in the past that vulnerable users shouldn't be treated any differently than other car drivers.

On the house floor today, Rodne told legislators that he was voting against the bill because it was "piecemeal legislation" and that he would rather "make the penalties for negligent driving int he second degree stronger," rather than create a new type of infraction.

In a statement today, Kline described the legislation as putting "reasonable expectations on motorists to pay attention and will help provide some sense of justice to families who have lost loved ones.”

Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Burien, W. Seattle) sponsored his own version of the vulnerable users bill in the house, but legislators opted to go with the senate vehicle instead of the house version. The senate and the house will now have to be sent back to the senate for final passage before sending the bill to the Governor.
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