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  1. #1
    Senior Member djetelina's Avatar
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    Exclamation Texas Cyclist Signatures Needed NOW

    Many thanks to all of you who supported Senate Bill 488 which was created to provide protection to vunerable road users (road workers, horse riders, tow truck operators, runners, walkers and folks riding their bikes) in the State of Texas. This important bill passed the legislature by a wide margin, across both party lines.

    Smooth sailing right up to Gov Rick Perry's desk. THEN MR. PERRY SAW IT UPON HIMSELF TO VETO SB 488! Without any plausible explanation.....

    Well that was his mistake and come election time things will take care of itself.

    In the meantime please take a few seconds of your time to sign the attached petition that will help underscore the need for this important piece of legislation:

    http://www.biketexas.org/component/o...d,32/Itemid,1/

  2. #2
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    I still cannot see why this law is necessary. Why shouldn't our "advocates" at Texas Bicycle Coalition (TBC) be demanding the vigorous enforcement of present laws, which would have an immediate positive impact on cyclist's safety, rather than lard up the transportation code with a bunch of redundancies?

    "Sec. 545.053. PASSING TO THE LEFT; RETURN; BEING PASSED.
    (a) An operator passing another vehicle:
    (1) shall pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance; and
    (2) may not move back to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the passed vehicle."

    Gee, why is this perfectly straightforward law not being enforced, and how would a three foot rule be any more enforceable? When a cyclist is struck by an overtaking automobile, why isn't the motorist given an automatic citation for this crime?

    "Sec. 545.401 RECKLESS DRIVING; OFFENSE.

    (a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." (f)(g)

    Why are there no prosecutions under this statute? When will the "bicycle advocates" that are so concerned with our well being press our DAs to enforce and prosecute this law? That would help us now, not next September!

    "Sec. 545.103 SAFELY TURNING

    An operator may not turn the vehicle to enter a private road or driveway, otherwise turn the vehicle from a direct course, or move right or left on a roadway unless movement can be made safely." (e)

    How many right hook violations have been prosecuted under this statute? Why is the redundant wording needed in SB 488? Right hooks are already a crime in Texas!

    "Sec. 545.418 OPENING VEHICLE DOORS.

    A person may not:
    (1) open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic, unless the door may be opened in reasonable safety without interfering with the movement of other traffic."

    Bicycles are vehicles, and thus traffic, so "dooring" is already a crime in Texas. The words “vulnerable user” was substituted for the second instance of the word “traffic”. This redundant language was dropped from the final version of the bill, but I wonder why it was proposed in the first place!

    "Sec. 545.060 DRIVING ON ROADWAY LANED FOR TRAFFIC.

    (a) An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
    (1) shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane." (b.1)

    Why can't this statute be applied to motorists who buzz cyclists by straddling the lane?

    "Sec. 545.152 VEHICLE TURNING LEFT.

    To turn left at an intersection or into an alley or private road or driveway, an operator shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is in the intersection or in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard." (d)

    The passage of SB 488 would not have altered this statute in any meaningful way, except to have it apply to pedestrians, and it would not have increased the likelihood of prosecutions.

    If a bike lane is present, SB 488 would have allowed overtaking traffic to pass any "vulnerable road user" that was in it without deviating from their line of travel. (b.1) Trucks and buses could legally pass a bicyclist as close as the lane stripe. Ouch! That would make newbie bicyclists confident and enthused about their new cycling experience, wouldn't it?

    Furthermore, SB 488 would have eroded the the legitimacy of the cyclist as an operator of a vehicle by codifying our classification with pedestrians. (a.1) I cannot see how this would be good for the preservation of our liberties.

    I expect better advocacy from TBC. When they say that SB 488 would make Texas safer for cycling, it makes me think they are lying to me. New laws won't change anything- as I have demonstrated, they are not even enforcing present laws, why would we think new ones would be treated any different?

    This legislation was more smoke than substance, and TBC is using it as a tool for recruitment of new members and more donations. Has TBC lost their way? Their claim that they are a “non-profit, member-supported organization whose mission is to promote bicycling access, safety, and education” is ringing hollow to me.

    The only education that has resulted from this is to give the false notion that it is not against the law to buzz a cyclist! We have some friends in Austin, don't we!

    I want our TBC to demand that current traffic laws be enforced vigorously. I want them to remind our police, our DAs, our judges and the public that violating the above traffic laws is a crime! I want laws that are designed to make bicyclists operate in a safe manner to be vigorously enforced. Wrong way riding, sidewalk riding and operating at night without lights. Enforce these laws to avoid needless injury and death.

    I want a real effort made to make current laws work before we go messing about with new ones. -Ones that have inevitable unintended consequences like how SB 488 would interact with bike lanes. I want TBC to address the needs, and defend the liberties, of all cyclists everywhere in Texas, not just the agenda of the Austin cycling scene.

    Perhaps we need better advocates.


    The text of SB 488-
    A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
    AN ACT relating to the operation of a motor vehicle in the vicinity of a vulnerable road user; providing penalties. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Subchapter I, Chapter 545, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Section 545.428 to read as follows:

    Sec. 545.428. VULNERABLE ROAD USERS.

    (a) In this section, "vulnerable road user" means:
    (1) a pedestrian, including a runner, physically disabled person, child, skater, highway construction and maintenance worker, tow truck operator, utility worker, other worker with legitimate business in or near the road or right-of-way, or stranded motorist or passenger;
    (2) a person on horseback;
    (3) a person operating equipment other than a motor vehicle, including a bicycle, handcycle, horse-driven conveyance, or unprotected farm equipment; or
    (4) a person operating a motorcycle, moped, motor-driven cycle, or motor-assisted scooter.

    (b) An operator of a motor vehicle passing a vulnerable road user operating on a highway or street shall:
    (1) vacate the lane in which the vulnerable road user is located if the highway has two or more marked lanes running in the same direction; or
    (2) pass the vulnerable road user at a safe distance.

    (c) For the purposes of Subsection (b)(2), when road conditions allow, safe distance is at least:
    (1) three feet if the operator's vehicle is a passenger car or light truck; or
    (2) six feet if the operator's vehicle is a truck other than a light truck or a commercial motor vehicle as defined by Section 522.003.

    (d) An operator of a motor vehicle that is making a left turn at an intersection, including an intersection with an alley or private road or driveway, shall yield the right-of-way to a vulnerable road user who is approaching from the opposite direction and is in the intersection or in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard.

    (e) An operator of a motor vehicle may not overtake a vulnerable road user traveling in the same direction and subsequently make a right-hand turn in front of the vulnerable road user unless the operator is safely clear of the vulnerable road user, taking into account the speed at which the vulnerable road user is traveling and the braking requirements of the vehicle making the right-hand turn.

    (f) An operator of a motor vehicle may not maneuver the vehicle in a manner that:
    (1) is intended to cause intimidation or harassment to a vulnerable road user; or
    (2) threatens a vulnerable road user.

    (g) An operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any vulnerable road user on a roadway or in an intersection of roadways.

    (h) A violation of this section is punishable under Section 542.401 except that:
    (1) if the violation results in property damage, the violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not to exceed $500; or
    (2) if the violation results in bodily injury, the violation is a Class B misdemeanor.

    (i) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that at the time of the offense the vulnerable road user was acting in violation of the law.

    (j) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by djetelina View Post

    In the meantime please take a few seconds of your time to sign the attached petition that will help underscore the need for this important piece of legislation:

    http://www.biketexas.org/component/o...d,32/Itemid,1/
    No.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member djetelina's Avatar
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    Many thanks for taking the time to state your opinion regarding SB488.

    The opinion of 176 out of 181 of the members of the Texas legislature was to vote FOR SB488. Not a whole lot of bills pass by a margin of 97.2%....

    My humble and practical opinion of SB488 is that it is similar in nature to SB193 which was passed by the Texas legislature in 2003 to provide additional protection for our police officers.

    "Basically when coming up on an emergency vehicle stopped along the
    side of the road you must move one lane away if more than one lane
    is available going in the same direction.
    OR Slow down at least 20mph less than what the speed limit is (ie
    posted 70mph, better slow down to less than 50mph.) If the speed
    limit is less than 25mph, then you must slow down to 5mph."

    Yes, one could say that SB193 AND SB488 are redundant with the existing laws. And yes, SB193 has worked wonders in providing improved security for those police officers who patrol the the roadways of Texas. Should anyone have any doubt just ask any patrolman for their opinion of SB193.

    Please support SB488 by signing:
    http://www.biketexas.org/component/o...d,32/Itemid,1/

    All the best,
    djetelina
    Houston, TX
    Last edited by djetelina; 07-09-09 at 12:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member yeamac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djetelina View Post
    Well that was his mistake and come election time things will take care of itself.
    I'll bet somewhere betwen 95-99% of people who actually vote for a governor in the next election will not even have a clue of SB 488, nor be thinking of it to influence their vote, so I really don't think an extremely small minority of voters upset over the veto of SB 488 is going to make a difference.

  6. #6
    Senior Member djetelina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeamac View Post
    I'll bet somewhere betwen 95-99% of people who actually vote for a governor in the next election will not even have a clue of SB 488, nor be thinking of it to influence their vote, so I really don't think an extremely small minority of voters upset over the veto of SB 488 is going to make a difference.
    I certainly agree. Without taking a proactive stance, our future will be predetermined by our inaction.

    Or as one of Benjamin Franklin's famous quotes goes "Failing to act is planning to fail."

  7. #7
    Senior Member cycle16v's Avatar
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    Just signed it! Thanks for letting everyone know about it.

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