Tag Archives: Safe Passing

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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Traffic Safety to discuss bike education, safe passing signs

photo excerpt of Austin Bike Plan education chapter

On tonight’s Traffic Safety commission agenda, they’re set to discuss a bike safety education program for Denton. The agenda backup includes bike safety promotional material from the Austin Bike Plan, BikeTexas, and a Maine advocacy group. The commission will also preview road signs for the Safe Passing ordinance.  Since the federal road manual (MUTCD) doesn’t have a Safe Passing sign, this will be a preview of a proposed sign, possibly one used by another city or state.

Since tonight’s meeting isn’t a public hearing, there’s no opportunity for public input, but spectating is always welcome. 5:30 PM, Service Center Training Room – 901 A Texas Street.

One last tidbit: page 33 of the agenda mentions that the Bike Plan will go to city council for final approval in February 2012.

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Denton council unanimously approves Safe Passing ordinance

safe passing bill

Denton is the eighth Texas city to approve the Vulnerable Road User ordinance, aka Safe Passing, by a unanimous city council vote. Council member Dalton Gregory first brought up the idea in February of 2010, and after discussion this afternoon, the ordinance sailed through council at the evening meeting. The ordinance says cars must give 3 feet minimum passing distance, and commercial vehicles must give 6 feet passing distance. The law also criminalizes harassment of cyclists and right-hook accidents, and it explains that cyclists may ride two abreast as long as they don’t impede reasonable flow of traffic.

Gregory explained that the ordinance was one of many steps the city needs to take to encourage active transportation (biking and walking). He also said he’d like to see some educational signs representing the ordinance to replace the standard “Share the Road” signs seen around town.

During afternoon discussion of the ordinance, district 3 council member Jim Engelbrecht said the city should study cyclist ridership and accident statistics.

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City to vote on Safe Passing ordinance

safe passing bill

Tomorrow at 3PM, city council will hold a work session at which citizens may speak regarding the Vulnerable Road User ordinance, aka Safe Passing. In addition to requiring safe passing distance, the ordinance also criminalizes harassment or intimidation of a vulnerable road user. The ordinance seeks to protect cyclists, pedestrians, disabled persons, utility workers, and even stranded motorists. Violators may face fines up to $200.

For the full text, we’ve excerpted the applicable section from the 720 page agenda.

Councilman Dalton Gregory has championed the cause since February 2010, and the ordinance stands to pass with a single sweeping vote, along with the other Consent Agenda items. Anyone wishing to provide comment on the proposed ordinance may speak at the beginning of the work session meeting, 3PM, in the city council work-session room, 215 E. Mckinney.

The ordinance text includes a section that touts the city’s recent push towards biking and walking:

a safe passing ordinance provides the foundation for an education campaign of tolerance and acceptance for “active” forms of alternative transportation, which furthers the City’s goals of promoting Denton as a bicycle friendly community, as well as for the enhancement of walkable streets and neighborhoods.
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Council to discuss Safe Passing ordinance

safe passing bill

At tomorrow’s afternoon council work session, council members will discuss the terms of a Vulnerable Road User ordinance, aka Safe Passing. If you’re wondering about the name change, it’s because the Vulnerable Road User protects includes pedestrians, runners, physically disabled persons, children, skaters, construction and maintenance workers, stranded motorists, equestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and unprotected farm equipment operators.

Dalton Gregory proposed the ordinance in February 2010 to help encourage safer passing by motorists in the same spirit as the bipartisan bill that Rick Perry vetoed. Several Texas cities have since passed their own similar ordinance.

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City council proposes Safe Passing ordinance

safe passing bill

Yesterday at a city council Mobility Committee meeting, council member Dalton Gregory proposed a Safe Passing ordinance similar to ones recently passed in Austin and San Antonio, despite defeat of a statewide bipartisan effort that Governor Rick Perry vetoed in 2009.  The statewide bill intended to protect “vulnerable road users” including pedestrians, runners, skaters, motorcyclists, cyclists, construction workers, tow truck operators and more.

Lowell Brown of the Denton Record Chronicle writes:

A movement to offer bicyclists more protections through “safe passing” laws could be gaining traction in Denton.

City Council member Dalton Gregory, fresh from a transportation conference in Austin, addressed the council’s mobility committee Tuesday on ways to make Denton more bicycle-friendly, including possibly enacting a “safe passing” ordinance based on one adopted in San Antonio this month.

That ordinance requires motorists to allow a “safe distance” — at least 3 feet for cars and 6 feet for heavy trucks — between their vehicles and “vulnerable road users” such as pedestrians, bicyclists, children and physically disabled people. Violators can face fines of up to $200.

“They don’t get ticketed, generally, if they get too close, but if there ends up being an accident involving an automobile and a pedestrian or an automobile and a bike rider, clearly they got within 3 feet,” Gregory said. “So the presumption is the driver is probably in the wrong. It’s not always the case, but at least we’re working from a different point of view and making the big guy, who is not likely to get hurt, think a little more carefully before they operate.”

Meanwhile, the council plans to meet at 11:30 a.m. April 5 at City Hall to discuss the potential for more bicycle and pedestrian lanes on Denton roads.

For more information, visit BikeTexas, who spearheaded the statewide effort.

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Cycling Parents Killed in San Antonio

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(Photo: Tom Reel/San Antonio Express News)

Summary from Erik Ryberg of TusconBikeLawyer:

Folks, that is a photograph of seven year old Kylie Bruehler. She is at a funeral service to bury her parents, both of whom were killed last week when a driver veered onto the shoulder and drove his pickup truck into them.

They were riding together on a tandem.

The local news reports that “investigators say there are no charges on the driver. They believe this was an accident and that somehow the driver lost control of his truck.”

Texas’s governor recently vetoed a law that would mandate a safe passing distance for cyclists, saying it was unnecessary.

This is one of the saddest, most senseless cyclist killings I’ve ever heard of.  If it’s manslaughter when the driver is drunk, then isn’t it manslaughter when the driver is distracted or texting or adjusting the radio?  MYSA News has run a few followup stories, like this one and this one, detailing Texas cyclists’ outrage at the lack of state legal protections.  Remember Denton resident, Nick Magruder, who was hit and run earlier this year, narrowly escaping with his life?  It didn’t make the newspaper headlines or blotter, and it also didn’t make the Traffic Safety Commission agenda.  Like most pressure for positive change, unfortunately it often takes tragedy with fatality to bring attention to where it’s needed the most.

BikePortland just ran a story on this and readers from all over America are commenting.

Rest in peace, Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler.

Bruehlers

Photo courtesy of Michelle Mondo and Eva Ruth Moravec of MYSA News.

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