Earlier this month, Texas Senator Rodney Ellis and Representative Linda Harper-Brown filed the Safe Passing Bill in the Senate (SB 488) and House (HB 827) respectively. In addition to requiring more than three feet passing distance when a motorist passes a vulnerable road user, it will include penalties for throwing projectiles, “dooring”, the “right hook” (turning dangerously in front of a vulnerable road user), and more. Vulnerable road users include cyclists, pedestrians, runners, farmers on tractors, motorcycles and more. This bill, specifically the definition of "vulnerable road user" is modeled after similar legislation in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. This is a huge step forward for Texas in actualizing "Share the Road" and reducing fatalities. Sadly, approximately 50 cyclists, 400 pedestrians and 500 motorcyclists are killed every year in Texas.
Currently I'm working closely with BikeTexas to do what I can to further legislative efforts and will be tracking and reporting this bill's (and other bills) progress over the next few months. But we need your help. Please contact your Senator and Representatives and let them know that you support this bill!
If you would like to read the bill, shoot me an email or you can go to Texas Legislature Online and click on "Bill Lookup" then enter the number of the bill, either SB 488 or HB 827. For more information on share the road programs, safety, and statistics, visit BikeTexas and join as a member to help with passing more cycling friendly legislation.