First, it was Blackhawk, Colorado’s extreme ban of cycling through the downtown, and now we see Bartonville, TX attempting to regulate cyclists off the roads with ordinance 494-10. While this debacle is pretty unrelated to most of our commuting-ish topics in Denton, the topic is still a black cloud for area cyclists and an embarrassing spectre amidst our national movement towards bike friendliness.
As seen in the DRC recently, the nearby town of Bartonville now requires a “rally permit” for groups of 10 or more cyclists, pedestrians, or even drivers to travel together on Bartonville roads. According to this DRC article, “police have observed cyclists running stop signs, urinating behind Town Hall and riding more than two abreast and impeding traffic.” It’s unclear how the enacted ordinance affects any of those complaints.
The ordinance text states that this regulation applies specifically to races and rallies:
- Race means a contest of speed, as in running, riding, or driving including training with 10 or more participants.
- Rally: A competition in which motorists, runners or bicyclists traverse public roads and/or right-of-ways under normal traffic regulations but with specified rules as to speed, time, and/or route, including training with 10 or more participants.
In response, the Bike Texas nonprofit is circulating a petition and gained at least 2,000 petitions against the Bartonville ban. Led by Robin Stallings, the group opposes “all efforts by any government entity in Texas to pass laws or ordinances that selectively prohibit or constrain operation of a bicycle on Texas roadways.”
So how do cyclists deal with Bartonville? Read on:
Most groups of riders form pods of nine or fewer riders and spread out as they approach Bartonville, he said. Meanwhile, bike groups are working on a long-term strategy to address the problem.
Marc Mumby, president of BikeDFW, said the group has been working to get the word out to cycling groups how important it is to follow the rules and “be nice,” even though it’s likely that the cyclists who cause problems don’t ride with local clubs.
They have been holding “interventions” near the town limits, Mumby said, handing out cards to cyclists to remind them of the rules of the road.
Cyclists can ride two abreast, but they cannot impede traffic. Both town officials and cyclists agree that Bartonville’s roads have blind hills and curves that make it challenging for vehicles to pass.
Bob Pinard of Infinity Cycling Club in Flower Mound said there’s a flaw in the logic of the new rule.
“Most of these problems they’ve described have nothing to do with the size of the group,” Pinard said, adding that riding two abreast makes it safer for everyone on the road.