303 heard from Sen. Rachel Zenzinger Senate District 19
“Thanks for reaching out. The pollution bill came to the floor today and I voted yes. It passed the Senate with all the Democrats in favor and about two thirds of the GOP opposed. With that split, it will likely make it through the House, but keep reaching out to make sure you voice is heard.”
A Colorado state senator has introduced a new bill (SB-278) that would penalize drivers who “coal roll”—the dangerous practice of expelling heavy exhaust on road users like cyclists from vehicles with modified diesel engines.
Coal rolling is already indirectly illegal nationally under EPA guidelines. The Clean Air Act prohibits tampering with vehicles in ways that bypass emissions regulations, which can yield fines up to $3,750. The new statewide bill calls for levying an additional $100 ticket on drivers who expel exhaust “in a manner that obstructs or obscures the view of another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian.”
The bill (introduced by Republican State Senator Don Coram at the end of March and passed in committee last week) notes that these fumes and clouds of smoke create hazards for cyclists and pedestrians, like breathing difficulty. Supporters also note that while modifying exhaust systems is already illegal in Colorado, this bill will help enforce the law.
“In order to write a citation, an officer has to take a special class in diesel emissions at extra time and expense… [which] means almost no tickets are being written,” says Ted Heyd, the Policy Director of Bicycle Colorado. “This bill is a step in the right direction because it would finally give police officers a tool to cite offenders who ‘roll coal’ to harass bicyclists, pedestrians, or other road users.”
SB-278 needs to get through Colorado’s state senate and house in order to become law, but its outlook is good. Lawmakers on both sides of the table agree that coal-rolling cyclists—whether you define it as assault or a nuisance—is a bad thing. Plus, cycling advocates from places like Conservation Colorado are attempting to make it easier to support the bill by providing example emails constituents can send their representatives.
The bill was read in the Senate April 17 and is currently listed as “Under Consideration.”
Read the full story from Bicycle here
From Conservation Colorado
SB-278, the rolling coal bill, is on the Senate floor on Monday. This is the bill that makes the deliberate and harassing blowing of black diesel exhaust by diesel pickup trucks into the face of following cyclists & motorists & pedestrians a traffic violation.
Here’s a tool to plug in your address and find your state Senator, and here is a draft script that you should feel free to share with your networks:
Hi Senator , my name is and I’m from _ .
I’m calling today to ask you to support SB-278, a bill to prohibit rolling coal in Colorado. Rolling coal is blowing a cloud of black smoke from the tailpipes of a diesel-engine truck to annoy pedestrians and motorists. The effect is achieved by individuals manipulating the exhaust system in their vehicles and removing filters from exhaust pipes.
XXX personal story if applicable XXX
The emission of this smoke can be a safety hazard, as it obstructs the view of the other drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians. It is also a public health hazard– in fact, the American Cancer Society has linked exposure to diesel exhaust to lung cancer.
Rolling coal is done for the express purpose of bothering others, and there is no benefit or purpose than to harass and annoy other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. This commonsense bill would help deter the activity by making the activity a Class A traffic infraction, punishable by a fine of $100.
Please support SB-278.