Massachusetts Lawmakers Weigh Bills on Teen Motorcyclists, Wheelchair Seatbelts

This week, members of Massachusetts’ Joint Committee on Transportation heard testimony about two bills that relate to traffic safety. The first, dubbed Ryan’s Bill after a 16-year-old who died in a motorcycle accident, would require driver’s education for motorcyclists between the ages of 16 and 18. Currently, Massachusetts law does not require Class M permit applicants to pass a riding test or undergo lessons, which some consider “ludicrous” given that motorcycles can travel up to 100 miles per hour.

Ryan’s father, Brockton Fire Lieutenant Roger Orcutt, hopes that the bill will prevent other teens from getting into a dangerous motorcycle accident. State Senator Stephen M. Brewer urged the Joint Committee to pass the bill, so “Ryan’s death will not be in vain.”

The committee also heard testimony surrounding a bill that would require paratransit vehicles to have an up-to-date wheelchair tie-down and safety belt system. In addition, the bill would require a training course for employees and volunteers who transport wheelchair-seated passengers. Among those testifying in favor of the bill were Kenny Cieplik, a 34-year-old man from Middleborough who sustained serious injuries in a van crash last May when the seatbelts tying down his wheelchair broke.

Bill aims to toughen license laws, Boston Globe, October 7, 2009
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