Nelly’s Bill

NellysBillNelsonPictureNelly’s Bill (House Bill 1267) has been filed in memory of Nelson Selig, Sr., of Essex, who was killed in May 2000 by a 19-year operator crossing the center- line. Its goal and purpose is to include motorcycle awareness programs in the high school driver education courses in order to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities which disproportionately affect the more than 106,000 motorcycles registered in the Commonwealth. More than ten representatives and one senator have signed on to be “co-sponsors” of this Bill, led by Rep. Brad Hill and Sen. Bruce Tarr. The “Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Season Proclamation,” is intended to change the Motorcycle Safety & Awareness “month” to the entire riding season (April through November). Further, the proposed legislation mandates the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau expend ten percent (10%) of the Motorcycle Safety Fund during these eight months in paid public service announcements, advertising and other publicity for greater “awareness” that motorcycles are on the road and to “check twice.”

Date:     June 14, 2004

From:    Paul W. Cote, Mass Motorcycle Association

Note:     On Thursday evening, Governor Mitt Romney signed into law, House, No. 2124, known as “Nelly’s Bill,” an act to put a motorcycle safety & awareness module into the Auto Driver Training Course curriculum, to help reduce accidents and injuries.

The bill was initially filed in 2001, in memory of Nelson Selig of Essex, who was killed while on his motorcycle by a 19-year old crossing into his path on Route 133 in Ipswich.  State Senator Bruce Tarr and Rep. Brad Hill were its main sponsors, with numerous other legislators signing on a co-sponsor.

Both Senator Tarr and Rep. Hill are working with the Governor Romney to schedule a ceremonial signing with Nelson’s mother, widow and children.

The law, now know as Chapter 124 of the Acts of 2004, will take affect in 90 days.  (Below is a history of the bill’s movement through the legislature.)

This is the 6th bill filed by the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) to be enacted into law the past two legislative sessions.  The concept of putting a motorcycle safety and awareness module into the auto driver training schools initiated in Virginia in 1999/2000 with American Motorcyclists Association member Alan Broom getting legislation passed in Virginia.  The AMA connected the MMA representatives with Alan who shared his information and contacts.

House, No. 2124

Presented by: Representative Bradford Hill

Petition of Bradford Hill, Bruce E. Tarr and Paul K. Frost that driver education courses be required to include motorcycle awareness courses.
01/01/03 H Referred to the committee on Public Safety -HJ 175A
01/01/03 S Senate concurred
Public Hearing date Mar 27 am at 10:30 in Room B-1
06/12/03 H Accompanied by H985 and H1169
06/12/03 H Bill reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on House Ways and Means -HJ 486
11/17/03 H Committee recommended ought to pass and referred to the committee on House Steering, Policy and Scheduling
11/17/03 H Committee reported that the matter be placed in the Orders of the Day for the next sitting for a second reading -HJ 1054
11/18/03 H Read second and ordered to a third reading -HJ 1064
01/26/04 H Read third (title changed) and passed to be engrossed -HJ 1261
01/29/04 S Read; and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means -SJ 1492
03/03/04 S Committee recommended ought to pass with an amendment
03/03/04 S Rules suspended
03/03/04 S Read second, amended (as recommended by the committee on Ways and Means) and ordered to a third reading -SJs 1594-1595
03/04/04 S Read third and passed to be engrossed -SJ 1603
05/12/04 H Rules suspended
05/12/04 H House concurred in the Senate amendment
05/13/04 H Enacted -HJ 1867 -HJ 1859
06/03/04 S Enacted and laid before the Governor
06/10/04 G Signed by the Governor, Chapter 126 of the Acts of 2004

Motorcycle ‘Awareness’ for Driving Training Bill Advances

(State House, Boston, MA) A bill aimed at putting a motorcycle awareness module into the State’s Driving Training Course curriculum today received an “ought to pass’ recommendation from the Joint Committee on Public Safety.

House, No. 1267, known in the motorcycle community as “Nelly’s Bill,” in memory of Nelson Selig, 37, of Essex who was killed in Ipswich on Route 133 when a 19-year old crossed into his lane, was sponsored by State Rep. Brad Hill (R-Ipswich) and Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).  Numerous other legislators have signed on supporting its passage.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles, which oversees the Driving Training programs, has recommended up to two hours in the curriculum for motorcycle awareness, identifying common causes of accidents, and including an eight and a half minute video, “Cars, Motorcycles and the Common Road.”

“We believe teenagers learning to drive, exposed to motorcycle awareness, will reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities,” said Paul W. Cote, Legislative Director of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association and Community Council Leader of the American Motorcycle Association.

“Right now there are over 200,000 licensed drivers under 20 years old who have had little to no ‘exposure’ of motorcycle safety & awareness,” claimed Cote.

The bill now goes to the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling, to be brought before the House for its vote.  Cote reports the Registry has already implemented a ‘voluntary program’ for driving schools to offer this training, but his groups say a law is needed to ensure schools make students coming onto the roads of the Commonwealth ‘aware’ of the more than 120,000 motorcycles they share the road with.

Since the tragic death of Selig, over a thousand Cape Ann motorcyclists gather each August (August 24th, 2003 this year) riding in his memory raising scholarship funds for his two minor children while continuing to bring ‘awareness’ to motorcyclists on the road.