City Council Delays Vote On The Don't-Throw-Things-At-Bikers Ordinance

The city's proposed rules for drivers operating motor vehicles near cyclists -- that they must pass at a safe distance, can't turn right into their path, and, last but not least, aren't allowed to pelt them with things from car windows -- seem like no-brainers. Anyone who doesn't think they are a good idea should be forced to pedal down LBJ while being pelted with rotten tomatoes. But the City Council this morning wasn't quite ready yet to put the rules in place.

See also: "To The Guy Who Thought It Was Funny to Shoot Me With a Paintball Gun on the Santa Fe Trail: You're a Dick"

"I do have a lot of questions about the ordinance," said Councilwoman Ann Margolin, and it quickly became clear she was not alone.

Councilwoman Angela Hunt wondered why the ordinance doesn't define what a safe passing distance is and suggested adding a provision defining a safe passing distance. Delia Jasso asked if it should be more specific about the pedicabs in the Bishop Arts District. And Sandy Greyson asked why she had almost hit a cyclist as she drove into Oak Cliff.

"As we put these bike markings down, we have to be sure that they're consistent and easy for the motorist to follow," Greyson said. "I did not even see him until I was almost on top of him."

(The lanes she referred to were guerilla bike lanes that transportation planner Keith Manoy said code enforcement is working to remove. Linda Koop took the opportunity to chastise whatever rogue cyclist put them there. "As much as they want bicycle lanes, it is inappropriate to put sharrows on the street ... that the city does not know about, because that really is a serious problem there.")

The main question was why the ordinance had been slipped into the City Council's agenda at the last minute without going before a committee.

Rawlings explained. "About nine months ago when I started asking questions -- I ride my bike a few times -- about our ability to prosecute drivers who are not safe, it was obvious to me that we did not have an ordinance in place to make it easy to prosecute (them)," he said. So, he asked the city attorney's office to draft an ordinance, which it did.

Margolin suggested sending the item to the public safety committee for further discussion, an idea that Rawlings seconded. That will delay a vote on the ordinance at least another two weeks though, based upon the universal warmth with which it was received, it should have no trouble passing.

Hunt was one of the members who praised the ordinance, though she quickly switched gears to push for real, buffered bike lanes.

"I'm thrilled we're moving forward on some type of bicycle infrastructure," she said. "If our goal, though, is to see more people riding, we'll see more people ... riding if they're seperated form cars in some way. When you create a separate facility, you dramatically increase ridership. Where you just put paint and shared lanes, you don't see that bump. I don't want us to get complacent."

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How about we keep fucking bicycles off main roadways?  Never seen so much effort wasted on goddamn bikes.  Bunch of rude, non-law abiding fucks anyway.


Laws and rules are nice. But when its a mass of metal vs flesh and bone the cyclist needs to be the more careful of the two or face long recovery time or even death.





RTGolden1 topcommenter

The buffered lanes, in my opinion, are a horrible idea.  Why? Left turns.  We've all seen cyclists here zip across two, three or four lanes of traffic to make a left turn from the right lane.  Not all cyclists, to be sure, but they're out there.  With shared lanes, at least the motorist has the option of paying attention to the cyclist and anticipating that douchery is about to happen.  From buffered lanes, that cyclist is going to be coming from nowhere, or worse, coming from someplace the motorist expects him to stay, and it won't end well.


For the cyclists who are going to retort with something along the lines of "there are rules for entering/exiting buffered lanes....", I say, there are rules for sharing lanes too.  Like stopping for stop/yield signs, signaling turns, not filtering, etc.  Cyclists don't follow those rules, why should we expect them to follow the rules for buffered lanes?


What people are missing here is that the ordinance would also protect construction workers, street maintenance workers, people waiting at DART stops, joggers, landscapers etc. Currently, if someone in the "vulnerable" pool gets smoked by a vehicle, there is no remedy other than civil court and remediation through car insurance. You're screwed. This new ordinance would add some food for thought. The Texas Legislature passed a bill in the last session for safe passing, Perry vetoed it. The law would have been 3 feet for a car, 6 feet for any vehicle larger than a passenger vehicle.


"Councilwoman Angela Hunt wondered why the ordinance doesn't define what a safe passing distance is and suggested adding a provision defining a safe passing distance. "


Angela, please don't.  You will get it wrong.  Chances are if they already moved over to the other lane to pass, they have passed at a safe distance.  If they aren't fully in the next lane by the time the front bumper of a car is even with the rear tire of the bicycle, then the pass is not safe.  


 @RTGolden1 "Cyclists don't follow those rules, why should we expect them to follow the rules for buffered lanes?"


You shouldn't, because many won't.  There are cyclists who do actually yield or stop, and would love to see some enforcement.  Like this:


Now, I agree that there are many cyclists who do not follow the rules, but let's talk about car drivers who speed, fail to yield right of way to other cars or pedestrians, tailgate, harass, road rage, use cell phones or put on makeup while driving, roll through all-way stops, run red lights, litter...the list could go on.  How about pedestrians jay walking or crossing against signals without even looking both ways? It doesn't matter what the mode of transportation is, people break the rules all the time, and in Dallas, I don't see all that much in the way of enforcement for ANYBODY.  Until there are actual consequences (other than needless death or endangerment) There will be no change for any road user.  



scottindallas topcommenter

 @BenS yeah, and the cops will be right over on a call.  They won't come for vehicle/garage burglaries, won't come for $50 thefts, they ain't gonna rush over.  You gotta freeze ray to preserve the scene?

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @BenS wait, so the idiot with the leaf blower in the middle of the street blowing leaves into the other businesses lot would now be protected?  Fuck that, he shouldnt be in the street with the leaf blower


 @JustDontDoItAngela In Chicago, where I just moved from, the law is three feet of clearance.  That worked out to about two-ish feet in practice.  As a cyclist, it got a little freaky at times while zipping through some of the more highly-trafficked neighborhoods, but as long as you stayed aware of which cars seemed aware of you and which ones seemed like jerks, it worked out alright.


 @scottindallas  Sometimes.  Of course, if its too narrow for a car to pass in a single lane, I try to be respectful and pull over every now and again, just as one would expect of a car driver going slow on a two lane country road.  


 @scottindallas  I take the lane when allowed, and am passed in the next lane EVERY time.  It's a beautiful thing, no ordinance required.  It's already the law in our transportation code, this just spells it out plain and simple.

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