Tag Archives: Legislation

Safe Passing signs

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In 2010, council member Dalton Gregory proposed the Safe Passing ordinance. In 2011, the council unanimously approved the ordinance. Pictured above is a new sign on W. Hickory to educate the public that cars must give 3 feet when passing, and trucks must give 6 feet. Since it protects far more than just people riding bikes, it’s called the “Vulnerable Road User” ordinance, and you can read about it in detail at the city website.

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Seen at shop: old bicycle license

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The idea of bicycle licensing comes up cyclically, and I won’t go into the details, because it’s been well covered here, here, here, etc. But it was kinda fun to see a relic of the past on this bicycle that somehow migrated 40 miles over 40 years from Richardson to Denton.

Querencia gets the odd stuff. Sometimes it’s a Britney Spears sticker, sometimes it’s an orange bakfiet cargo bike, sometimes it’s a 1969 bicycle license.

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Denton Pedicab Service Proposed

Over the years, Denton locals have consistently mentioned the idea of having pedicab service to the downtown and university zones, but until now, we haven’t heard of any proposals reaching city staff desks.

Christine Niblo, Denton resident, proposes to provide pedicab service to the downtown area. In the Operational Outline document, the services/benefits are succinctly summarized:

Denton Pedicab will:

  • provide clean, emissions-free, affordable transportation to the central Denton area, including UNT, TWU, and the downtown square
  • enhance the visibility of the downtown square to newcomers, particularly university students and their parents
  • help reduce the parking burden at and near the downtown square, thus enhancing the downtown experience for Dentonites, tourists, and business-owners
  • enhance the unique and friendly downtown Denton atmosphere with an attractive and locally-owned novelty
  • provide opportunities for community businesses, organizations, and individuals to charter pedicabs for special occasions and events

Christine reports that she’s submitted her proposal to Denton city staff, and she says she included examples of regulatory ordinance from other cities which have pedicab service.

I’m currently still awaiting the City’s verdict about the legal standing of a pedicab operation in Denton.

The proposal document touts the many ecological benefits of pedicab service, which fall in line with the city’s stated goal of increasing transit diversity and reducing single-occupant vehicle use.

Because pedicab operation is sustainable, the opportunities Denton Pedicab will provide to the community will be long-lasting. No natural resources will be depleted in order to operate pedicabs; therefore, their operation will not be affected by the price of oil, or state emissions standards. No pollution or waste will be caused by the operation of pedicabs.

Denton Pedicab will take great care to employ sustainable practices in all facets of its business, thus optimizing its potential for longevity. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of recycled, renewable, natural, and eco-friendly supplies like paper and cleaning products; as well as a commitment to serving the local community and economy.

Denton Pedicab will offer inspiration and vision to the community by bringing this service to the area at a time when the current transportation paradigm is shifting away from fossil fuels and petroleum-based products. Denton Pedicab will bring the City of Denton one step closer to the sustainability that is so desperately required by these transitional times.

The pedicabs to be used are manufactured in America by Main Street Pedicabs, and feature stout design and safety features like turn signals and 12V lighting.

File

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Gov Rick Perry Vetoes Safe Passing Bill

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In a move that shocked cyclists statewide, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed the Safe Passing bill, which added legal protection for cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, construction workers, etc, by requiring a minimum passing distance by other larger vehicles.

Via KVUE in Austin:

The measure, SB 488, would have required drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing them on most highways. Other ‘vulnerable road users’ included in the bill were pedestrians, construction workers, tow truck operators, stranded motorists, motorcyclists and moped riders.

In his veto statement, Perry said many restrictions on motorists already exist in state law.

“While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users,” Perry said in a statement.

“In addition, an operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she is at fault for causing a collision or operating recklessly, whether it is against a ‘vulnerable user’ or not.”

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Tax Incentive for New Bike Purchase?

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Via BikePortland, Jonathan Maus writes that Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced The Public Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act of 2009 (H.R. 2105).  This act would allow taxpayers to allot money in a pre-tax flex account to put towards “qualified sports and fitness expenses.”

Now, mind you, only $250 could be alloted towards purchase of an item.  Overall, this bill is aimed at increasing overall fitness participation, not specifically bicycles.  

Maus writes:

If the bill passes, section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 would be amended to include a subparagraph for, “qualified sports and fitness expenses.” Expenses covered under the new law would include; membership at a fitness center, participation or instruction in a program of physical exercise or physical activity, and “equipment for use in a program (including a self-directed program) of physical exercise or physical activity.”

The bill has text to disallow use of funds for joining country clubs, golf courses, and horse riding facilities.  $250 might not sound like much, but it’s comparable to the $20 per month employer reimbursement which the IRS recently adopted.

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