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Your Safety / Part 2: Meet the Road Gods!

26 Jan 2020

Move Over—a message from a tailgater
Move Over!—a message from a tailgater

Some drivers have a bad attitude: the pavement belongs to motorized vehicles only!

Part 2 in a series | See related article: Your Safety / Part 1: Meet the Road Gods!

In a state where drivers are kings of the road, it made many of streets in the Lone Star state dangerous for cycling.

By a non-partisan effort of Texas legislators, they presented Gov. Rick Perry the Safe Passing Bill (SB 488); he vetoed it. If the bill became law, it would mandate motorists to veer when possible or slow down when passing cyclists, pedestrians, construction workers, and stranded motorists. Already, there is a law that mandates the same effect for police officers and emergency personnel. According to the Texas Bicycle Coalition, approximately 50 cyclists are killed every year in the state of Texas. If the Safe Passing Bill were passed, it could save lives.

Perry's statement is as follows: "Many road users placed into the category of vulnerable road users already have operation regulations and restrictions in statute. For example, a person operating a vehicle being drawn by an animal is subject to the same duties as a motor vehicle, and a pedestrian is required to yield the right of way to a motor vehicle, unless he or she is at an intersection or crosswalk.

While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users."

Heavy traffic on Brook Hollow
Brook Hollow—one of many streets in San Antonio to be off-limits for cyclists.

It's no question that aggressive drivers literally own the major pavements—not local governments as so stated by law. There are not enough police to patrol aggressive behavior. An officer who is on the Bulverde Police force said that a few diesel pickup truck owners become frustrated at cyclists. Even though the cyclists are riding on the shoulder, they still cause traffic to slow down. As a show of frustration, diesel owners gear down and hit the gas as they pass the cyclists. The cyclists are hit with a cloud of black smoke. For non-diesels, drivers careen past the cyclists at a close distance which can lead to a fatal incident.

This situation leaves cyclists the alternatives: ride the greenway and park trails and avoid sharing the roads with motorized vehicles.

As a matter fact, I do own the road bumper strip
Actual bumper strip

—Robert Tillman, author of Vapors Rising Originally Published: 17 May 2012

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