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Old 03-25-17, 01:18 PM   #1
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Foot Race

2 bicyclists killed by driver in Waller County | abc13.com
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Old 03-26-17, 08:25 PM   #2
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Read a bunch of posts about it in the critical mass Facebook group. Can't believe it.
Doesn't make me feel good about heading out to Waller for the Bluebonnet next weekend. I know this guy was a little messed up but the folks out there hate cyclists and so does the county mayor.
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Old 03-27-17, 12:13 PM   #3
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Many, if to most of the organized rides in Waller County are "MS150 Recommended Rides". Because of this, the MS Society hosted a cycling summit at their offices in December of 2016. Attendees included The Waller county Judge, Waller County Sheriff, other Waller County officials, Ride directors from several of the rides going through Waller County, and members of the MS150 Executive Committee. I can't speak for the mayor, I don't think he was there, but the Sherrif and County Judge certainly do not "hate" bike riders.

During the meeting, the judge explained most of the problems did not come from people on organized bike rides, but from the many independent riders who ride out there every weekend. When residents are constantly calling the sheriff and the judge about bike riders hogging the lanes, trespassing and using their property for urinals, it will draw a reaction. That is what happened during last years Bluebonnet ride.

I won't go into all the details, but it was a very pleasant and fruitful meeting that ensured organized bike rides would be welcome in Waller County.

The secret to an enjoyable ride in Waller County is simple: Don't trespass. Don't piss in people's yards. Don't impede traffic. Stop at STOP signs.

As for the original subject of the thread, I am very saddened by deaths of the two riders. I worked at Baker Hughes for many years and many of the people there were like family. My prayers go out to the families of both victims.
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Old 03-27-17, 12:48 PM   #4
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Maybe it was the county sherriff not the mayor - i remember a lot of hubbub on facebook with the person after last years bluebonnet.

and i can't say i agree with your statement on how they don't hate cyclists because what came out of that meeting was that waller county would not provide any law enforcement support for any of the rides (manning intersections, etc). but they were going to be out there to nail anyone who didn't put a foot down at a stop sign or some other garbage.
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Old 03-27-17, 01:40 PM   #5
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I think you are conflating two different issues when trying to evaluate the Sheriff's feelings towards cyclists. I don't have any personal experience dealing with him, but I can sympathize with the situation he found himself in. He had officers who were being paid by cycling groups to work the rides, and he had citizens who were driving around angry at cyclists who were not being good about sharing the road and who often WERE running stop signs, pissing in yards, and riding in a way that they were impeding traffic. The citizens would roll up to an intersection and see a Waller County deputy standing at the corner waving riders through and they were getting pissed and complaining to the Sheriff about his deputies not enforcing the laws.


His response was to pull his deputies from working bike rides so that there is no confusion for the citizens about who the deputies work for. My understanding from reading a few other locations is that it seems to be mostly the city of Waller police who are more actively harassing riders, not so much the County deputies (after the screwed up situation at BBX last year).


The message that came out of the big meeting from the Waller county folks was simple...obey the laws when you ride out there. That really isn't that hard to do, and as cyclists, we ought to be less bashful about calling out those around us who act like idiots when they ride (peeing on lawns, tossing trash, riding 2-3 abreast when there are cars trying to pass, etc.), and we should stop getting angry at the police for enforcing those laws correctly. We should be saving our ire for situations where the police clearly are misapplying the law (like writing tickets for cyclists riding 2 abreast in one lane of a lightly travelled 4 lane road where they are not impeding traffic).


My main problem with the police response in Waller is that I think it encourages residents out there to think of cyclists as the enemy and makes them feel emboldened in being aggressive towards cyclists as well, without feeling like the police will hold them accountable. I still don't know if Waller every charged the driver who ran a stop sign and killed Stafford Campbell years ago. No idea if this whack job this weekend was motivated by that attitude, but it wouldn't surprise me.
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Old 03-27-17, 01:55 PM   #6
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I've only been on a few rides in Waller County, but I have no desire to go there now. I never see any of this bad behavior by cyclists, but I know a bunch of people who have seen tickets written out there for nothing. There are plenty of good places to ride where the cops either ignore us or are nice to us.
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Old 03-27-17, 02:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
....
The message that came out of the big meeting from the Waller county folks was simple...obey the laws when you ride out there. That really isn't that hard to do, and as cyclists, we ought to be less bashful about calling out those around us who act like idiots when they ride (peeing on lawns, tossing trash, riding 2-3 abreast when there are cars trying to pass, etc.), and we should stop getting angry at the police for enforcing those laws correctly. We should be saving our ire for situations where the police clearly are misapplying the law (like writing tickets for cyclists riding 2 abreast in one lane of a lightly travelled 4 lane road where they are not impeding traffic).


My main problem with the police response in Waller is that I think it encourages residents out there to think of cyclists as the enemy and makes them feel emboldened in being aggressive towards cyclists as well, without feeling like the police will hold them accountable. I still don't know if Waller every charged the driver who ran a stop sign and killed Stafford Campbell years ago. No idea if this whack job this weekend was motivated by that attitude, but it wouldn't surprise me.
The Texas Motorist Mentality is really showing up here, from people who do ride bikes. Wow, Houston area folks.

We regularly ride 2 abreast on group rides here in the Austin area. We take the whole lane on group rides all of the time. Waller County law enforcement needs to get things straightened out. The people that live and ride there should demand it.

To call out some cyclists purported behaviors by generalizing is indeed placing the blame on legitimate road users and victims.
The more cyclists that are on our roads, the safer we all will be....

My two cents.

I am also very saddened by the tragedy last Saturday. My wife went to school with one of the victims (and friends of the family) and the other victim's wife was one of my niece's elementary school teachers.
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Old 03-27-17, 02:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
.....
The secret to an enjoyable ride in Waller County is simple: Don't trespass. Don't piss in people's yards. Don't impede traffic. Stop at STOP signs.
...
People riding bicycles on our public roads are traffic, with every right to use said roads....
Wow.
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Old 03-27-17, 05:05 PM   #9
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We have every right to use the roads, but we specifically are forbidden BY LAW from riding two abreast when it impedes the normal flow of traffic. TXDOT's FAQs state:


Additionally, persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Also note, you can't make passage of traffic "unreasonably inconvenient." Tex. Penal Code 42.03.

Most of the roads in Waller County that we ride on are one lane going each direction, and quite a few of them have no passing striping on them for a significant distance. In those cases, when we ride 2 abreast at 15-20 mph on a road signed for 40-50mph speed limits, and a car cannot legally move into the other lane to pass, we ARE impeding the reasonable flow of traffic and BY LAW, should go to single file. You and I both will disagree with the law because we both believe it is unsafe to encourage cars to try to pass a cyclist while staying in the same lane, but that is what the law says. The law does allow a cyclist to take the lane for safety in specific cases, but large group rides on otherwise safe roads are not one of those cases under current law.


Believe me, I wish the laws were different and I am an advocate for changing them...but when cops apply the law as it is written correctly, I am not going to criticize them for writing that ticket. If I want them to enforce the laws correctly in my favor as a cyclist, then I need to be willing to accept it when they enforce it the same way against a cyclist who is not following the law.
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Old 03-27-17, 05:10 PM   #10
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People riding bicycles on our public roads are traffic, with every right to use said roads....
Wow.

Texas Transportation Code Sec. 551.103.

(c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

When I am driving in a car, and I am slower than the car coming up behind me, I do what I can to let him get past me. It's just a polite thing to do. When I am on a bike I will also do what I can to enable traffic to get past me as quickly and easily as possible.

If a car driver gets pissed off at me, there is no way I am going to win any argument with a car. It's in my best interest to be polite.
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Old 03-27-17, 05:11 PM   #11
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BTW, Not sure where my "motorist mentality" was in what I posted. When we go out in large groups, I have no problem taking the lane two abreast most of the time, as it is safer for everybody. But I do so recognizing that it is against the law as it is written, if we impede the flow of traffic on a two lane road by doing it. So if Waller wants to write tickets to people for doing it where motorists can't pass safely, they are following the current law, even if it is shortsighted in how they are applying it.
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Old 03-27-17, 05:14 PM   #12
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Maybe it was the county sherriff not the mayor - i remember a lot of hubbub on facebook with the person after last years bluebonnet.

and i can't say i agree with your statement on how they don't hate cyclists because what came out of that meeting was that waller county would not provide any law enforcement support for any of the rides (manning intersections, etc). but they were going to be out there to nail anyone who didn't put a foot down at a stop sign or some other garbage.
The man I met at the meeting did not hate cyclists. And the Waller County Sherrif had good and understandable reasons for not allowing his deputies to work bike rides. He also signed a letter allowing other jurisdictions to work in his county so bike rides would not go without support. He and the county judge were very willing to work with the ride organizers to ensure the rides would go on with minimal problems
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Old 03-27-17, 05:22 PM   #13
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I'm all for following the laws as well. I've got not no problems stopping at signs, and moving to the right to allow cars to pass. My issue is with aggressive drivers, and people who just complain because they can.
Also, if somone walks up to the fence in your front yard in full view of everyone and everything and whips it out to take a wiz - ok I think that's not great. But I don't believe for one second that nearly very dude, at some point, going somewhere, pissed on someone else's property - whether it was behind in the woods - or out off the #6 tee box at the country club, or whatever - and really to that I just have to say get over it. If someone pisses in your kiddie pool? Sure, that's a problem. But it someone pulled off and is trying to hide himself up next to a tree then what's the problem with that?
I also cannot stand people who litter. Anyone who tosses their trash on the ground is an *******.

Thanks for the clarification about allowing other officers working in the county.
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Old 03-29-17, 05:38 AM   #14
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Hi everyone. This riding 2 abreast law is unclear to me. While the language regarding stop signs states that you SHALL stop, the riding 2 abreast states that you MAY not impede reasonable or normal flow of traffic. I will argue that the reasonable and normal flow of traffic for a 2000 riders bike ride is about 20 mph.

I do ride in single file and stay on the right side of the road but I shouldn't have to call the sheriff every time a car passes me closely at a dangerous speed or the car fails to stop at a stop sign because it can accelerate faster than my bike.

I much rather ride in the cities that want cyclists such as Fulshear, Bellvile, Columbus, Fayetteville (although Fulshear is partly in Waller County). So no Bluebonnet ride for me this year.

Sec. 544.010. STOP SIGNS AND YIELD SIGNS. (a) Unless directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic-control signal, the operator of a vehicle or streetcar approaching an intersection with a stop sign shall stop as provided by Subsection (c).

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Old 03-29-17, 07:49 AM   #15
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as far as the 2 abreast rule goes if we're riding on a 2 lane each way road, i'm not moving to single file because they have an entire lane to get into and go around. if they have to wait 20 seconds for a few cars to pass first before they can get over so be it. as far as i'm concerned that's not impeding the reasonable flow of traffic. I'm not putting myself in squeeze by clipping danger when there is another whole right of way lane there. just, no.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:29 AM   #16
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why are you guys talking about bike safety & the cops? this was admitted murder
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Old 03-29-17, 08:54 AM   #17
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why are you guys talking about bike safety & the cops? this was admitted murder

If you read the thread, it isn't hard to follow the thread of the discussion. Sciguy commented that the county government hated cyclists, and several of us don't have the same impression and the discussion flowed from there. Sometimes threads on the internet don't stick strictly to whatever was mentioned in the very first post...
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Old 03-29-17, 10:23 AM   #18
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Old 03-29-17, 04:20 PM   #19
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as far as the 2 abreast rule goes if we're riding on a 2 lane each way road, i'm not moving to single file because they have an entire lane to get into and go around. if they have to wait 20 seconds for a few cars to pass first before they can get over so be it. as far as i'm concerned that's not impeding the reasonable flow of traffic. I'm not putting myself in squeeze by clipping danger when there is another whole right of way lane there. just, no.

I understand your issue here, and I agree to some degree. But understand that what you are saying is not supported by the law. If you impede them from passing by riding two abreast, you are breaking the law. I account for the concern you have when I ride by not riding completely on the edge of the road when I go to single file. I leave myself some bailout room and always ride with a mirror, so I can see if a car is going to pass too closely and move if necessary without crashing into the ditch. The problem with what you are saying though, is that motorists don't understand it. They see you riding 2 abreast and refusing to move to single file, and they don't see a guy trying to be safe, they see an a-hole who isn't willing to "share the road". I am not saying they are right to think that, but that is what happens. And so the next time they encounter a cyclist on the road, they are going to give less room when passing as "payback". Much like the Critical Mass rides that you like and that I believe do serious harm to attitudes towards cyclists, I think we are going to have to disagree, because I think riding the way you do makes me less safe because of the attitude it causes in motorists who encounter you.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:35 PM   #20
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Understandable. What it always comes down to is education for motorists and their significant lack of a world view.

I've also never ridden critical mass.
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Old 03-30-17, 10:49 AM   #21
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Understandable. What it always comes down to is education for motorists and their significant lack of a world view.

I've also never ridden critical mass.

Sorry, I thought you had ridden with them a few times and defended them on past threads about their rides. I guess I had you confused with somebody else. I agree that reaching motorists and educating them about why we ride the way we do is the key, and I just don't see it ever really being all that successful. We would have to get half of them to be willing to put their phones down first, and that is never going to happen.
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