Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Safe Passing Bill Filed in Texas Senate (SB488) & House (HB827)

BikeTexas (Texas Bicycle Coalition) just published the following on their website regarding the bill that I alluded to in my previous post entitled "Give me 3 feet!." Scroll all the way down to the bottom to review a copy of the bill then call your Senator and Representatives to voice your support. Also, any feedback or concerns you have about the bill, please feel free to forward them to BikeTexas. They're happy to hear from you!

Safe Passing Bill Filed in Texas Senate (SB488) & House (HB827)
Tuesday, 03 February 2009
Tragically, approximately 50 cyclists, 400 pedestrians and 500 motorcyclists are killed every year in Texas. Many of those fatalities can be prevented in the future by legislative action on a new Safe Passing bill in 2009.

The 2009 Safe Passing bill was filed in the Senate by Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and John Carona (R-Dallas) as SB 488 on January 15th, and the companion bill was filed in the House by Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving) as HB 827 on January 27th.

The new Safe Passing Bill protects "vulnerable road users" including a pedestrian, runner, physically disabled person, child, skater, construction and maintenance worker, stranded motorist, equestrian, and person operating a bicycle, motorcycle, or unprotected farm equipment.

In addition to requiring more than three feet passing distance (six feet by commercial vehicle) when a motorist passes a vulnerable road user, it will include penalties for harassing, taunting, or throwing an object "dooring", the "right hook" at a vulnerable road user, (turning dangerously in front of a vulnerable road user), and failing to yield when making a left turn at an intersection.

A violation of this law is punishable as a misdemeanor, and if the violation results in property damage, the violation is punishable by a fine of not to exceed $500. If the violation results in bodily injury, the violation is a Class B misdemeanor punished by: (1) a fine not to exceed $2,000; (2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or (3) both such fine and confinement.

To read the bill language, click here.