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.