Fresh Victory of Senate Bill 488 – Safe Passing

This is super exciting!!  I’ve been keeping an eye on this bill over the last few months as its support increased.  This bill designates safe passing distances that cyclists and pedestrians are due, and violation of this bill (aka, hitting somebody with a car) can now justify disciplinary action. Huge props to BikeDFW who organized 40 cyclists onto a bus to go down to Austin and support this bill.  This is a landmark Texas achievement in legislation and cycling lobbying.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, Bike Texas (aka Texas Bicycle Coalition) says:

The 2009 Safe Passing Bill, Senate Bill 488 was passed today by the Texas State Senate by a vote of 28-2.

Over the last two weeks, BikeTexas has been working with Senators Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Dan Patrick (R-Houston) and their staff to craft language that would address Senator Patrick’s concerns while still preserving the safety benefits of the bill. This afternoon, Senator Ellis reintroduced the bill and Senator Patrick then offered a floor amendment to substitute the compromise language. Senator Ellis accepted the amendment, and the bill passed with 28 voting yes and 2 voting no.

Click here to see the tentative amended version of the bill (the official version is not yet posted on the Legislature’s website). We have not been able to find out which senators voted no, but when that information is available it will be posted here.

Final coauthors in the Senate were Senators Ellis, John Carona (R-Dallas), Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) and Kirk Watson (D-Austin). As we informed the Cyclists in Suits participants yesterday, Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) did not sign on as a coauthor of SB 488. Due to an unfortunate miscommunication with her staff, we mistook her coauthoring of a different bike-friendly bill (SB 2041, requiring bike questions on the driver’s license exam) for coauthoring the Safe Passing bill. We apologize for any confusion this caused.

Link to original Bike Texas safe passing page.

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