Cyclists in Suits Recap

ImageLast week more than sixty cyclists from across the state went to Austin to advocate for bike legislation at the capitol building.

We were there with several other Bike Friendly organizations to talk to house and senate representatives about several pieces of legislation, highlighted for us by Bike Texas. The day was a “success,” as we were able to speak to every office in the building.

The two pieces of legislation we focused on were Complete Streets (HB 1102 / SB 565) and Safe Passing (HB 2225 / SB 1515).  All have bipartisan support and are still their respective committees.

Complete Streets calls for a set of guidelines for any road projects or improvements that are supported by federal or state funds. These guidelines would accommodate for all modes of transportation, including cars, bikes, pedestrians including the disabled or children, busses, commercial trucks etc. The guidelines vary based on the suburban, urban or rural context, but generally call for more walkable cities and recognizes that transportation improvements are opportunities to improve air quality and safety too. 

Complete Streets was authored by Rodney Ellis and Bob Deuell. It was co-authored by Wendy Davis, Eddie Lucio, José Rodríguez and Kirk Watson. The house version was authored by representatives Linda Harper-Brown, Jim Keffer, Geane Morrison, Armando Martinez, Eddie Lucio III in the house. It was coauthored by Jessica Farrar, Elliott Naishtat.

 

Safe Passing will create a law requiring motorists give at least three feet of space when passing not just cyclists but any unprotected road user. A nearly identical, bipartisan, well-supported bill was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry in the 2009 session (AustinChron). The new bill has changed the words “Vulnerable Road User” to “unprotected” in an attempted to address Perry’s concerns.

Safe Passing was authored by Rodney Ellis. The house version was authored by Linda Harper-Brown, Armando Martinez, and Ruth McClendon.

 

Both pieces of legislation are still in committee, but you can contact your representatives anytime, asking her or him to support the bill.

You can find your representatives here. Send them an email asking for support, or one to thank the representatives that authored the bills.

Bike Texas representatives were sure to point out other bills that might concern cyclists. 

HB 307 Requiring a red rear light for cyclists. 
SB 28 / HB 36 Banning texting while driving 
SB 1693 Managing federal and state funds for the Texas Safe Routes to Schools program

 

For more on Cyclists in Suits read the BikeTexas blog, Bike Friendly Richardson blog (Suburban Assault’s photos), or the Pondering Cyclist’s latest post. People for Bikes.org also has a post about one couples expereience at the event. Also, a big thanks to BikeDFW for organizing transportation for everyone in the metroplex. 

Bike Friendly Arlington will keep you posted on the status of these bills as news develops.

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