City Hall Waters Down Bike-Friendly Ordinance, But Not Very Much

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The last time the City Council's Public Safety Committee met, members squabbled over the details of a proposed measure aimed at protecting cyclists. The ordinance -- we'll call it the don't-be-a-dick-to-cyclists rule -- would require motorists to pass bikes at a safe distance and not make right turns into their path and prohibit them from hurling projectiles from their car windows.

That's all pretty commonsense stuff, but several council members had objections. Many reasons were given, but Sandy Greyson came closest to the truth when she complained that cyclists run stop signs and cut people off and thus need to be held accountable before being given special protections. This is in line with the general City Hall zeitgeist that cyclists have to somehow earn what the city is so loathe to provide, be it bike lanes or a simple ordinance.

After the October meeting, city and DPD officials went back to the drawing board to revise their proposal, which they will present on Monday to the Public Safety and Quality of Life committees.

There are three notable changes. One reduces the maximum fine from $500 to $300, except when the violation results in a cyclist's injury. Then it's back up to $500. The new proposal also strikes the word "knowingly" from its description of a violation so that a driver who runs over a cyclist on accident (or claims to) can still be penalized.

Finally, to satisfy the Greysons of the world, there's a bit saying drivers and cyclists "shall comply with all laws governing the operation of their respective vehicles on a street or highway," which is silly because the whole point of laws is that people have to comply with them.

Little else was changed. A push to specify exactly what constitutes a "safe passing distance" was nixed by city staff, who predicted it would be too difficult to enforce and could make it harder to prosecute violators, and the rest of the language survived intact. Hopefully it will make it through council that way as well.


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49 comments
jared.heath
jared.heath

Cyclists around SMU routinely run Stop signs and lights.  Rarely does a week go by that I don't see somebody on a bike run a stop sign/light on University.

I have seen a guy literally run the Greenville/University light and almost get hit, all the while flipping off the motorist who had a green light.

The argument that motorists break traffic laws doesn't hold.  Motorists don't blindly ignore stop signs, going through them at 30+ mph, nor do they blindly ignore stop lights, or choose to flip/flop being on the street/on the sidewalk to suit their fancy.

Nor do slow motorists get to ignore the 5 cars that finally got to pass them by running up to the front of a red light/stop sign those 5 cars are legally stopped at only to slow all of traffic down again by jumping in front of everyone.  This is the thing that I see drives motorists the most crazy.  If that car past you already, you shouldn't be passing it at a stop light simply because you can fit between that stopped car and the sidewalk, only to be a hindrance to traffic again.

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

Where is this part of Dallas where all you guys see so many cyclists that it impacts your life so much?  Dallas has an abysmally low ridership.  You saw a cyclist on the road one time that ran a stop sign, and it enrages you still?  You can go weeks at a time without seeing a bike in most parts of Dallas.If you live near WRL, I can sympathize.  Most of those people are riding for recreation or fitness, and don't have any sense of how to ride on the streets.  The rest of you, you just don't see bikes often enough to generate the rage you feel.  

MattL11
MattL11

Wait, cyclists don't always obey the traffic laws?! Man, they should act like us motorists and...not always obey the traffic laws? Seems to me like an excuse for impatient people to be an asshole to cyclists without seeming like an asshole. It doesn't work. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The delivery cyclists from Jimmy John's are still recklessly racing along on downtown sidewalks.

whareagle
whareagle

@DOCensors , Sorry, but bicycles are vehicles, and bicyclists are drivers. Any lane under 14' is considered substandard, so then cyclists have a right to take the full lane. If they're ahead of you, they have the right of way. You can wait, pass safely by changing lanes, or take another route.

Of course, Savvy Cyclists know that multi-laned roads can be great places to cycle, specifically because traffic can pass unimpeded. 

whareagle
whareagle

Those Shirts are For Sale, BTW. Inquire at the RBM South Store. They have the relevant laws on the front of the shirt, and they're $25. 

DOCensors
DOCensors

So all the maladjusted spandex fags taking up the entire road around WRL because they are too good for the path, that refuse to let anyone in a car pass and yell/scream/make threats when finally manage-- will be calling 911 constantly? 

All these bike pussies can fall in a wood chipper. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

OK biker boy, what about the doofus dickheads that think coasting along at 5 mph is okay on a city street? The ones that turn around and look at you stuck behind them and toddle along. Streets have posted speeds, and traffic is required to move along.

If you want to coast, go to the gym and sit on a stationary and stare at the tv.

billdav
billdav

@jared.heath : Actually, I see motorists breaking all sorts of laws every single time I'm out on the road.  I especially see a lot of speeding and stop sign rolling by motorists.

It's all just an excuse though.  Anti-cyclists don't want to share the road and use the example of bicyclists running stop signs as some sort of trump card for why they shouldn't be allowed on the road.  Anti-cyclists act like it's about safety.  They're lying.  They act like it's about respect for the law.  They're lying.  It's about the fact that they are self entitled elitists who think that they have more right to the road simply because they are operating motor vehicles instead of human powered ones.

In any case, as the old saying goes: two wrongs don't make a right.  How can anyone think that it's OK to use a multi-ton vehicle as a weapon against a bicyclist?  It's insane.

jared.heath
jared.heath

I really don't have a problem with cyclists who obey the traffic laws. They should get a full lane (which is what I was taught when I was a kid on a bicycle).  The problem is far too many of them believe they are above traffic laws simply because they are on a bicycle (or worse, don't even know traffic law since they don't have to be licensed to drive on the same street they are asked to share with cars...obviously, a far different problem, but still a problem).  

Most cyclists are loathe to admit a sizeable chunk of their brethren are guilty...but they are.  Just drive around the neighborhoods surrounding White Rock on a pretty Saturday.  Count how many bikes run those stop signs.  You'll learn real fast what the truth is.  Or, just ask your friends who live in the area.  They will tell you all about how bad the bikes are on their streets....they've just accepted it.  Or sit at the corner of Bodecker and University from 3:30 until 6....you'll really get an education at that intersection.

I've been dealing with it for a very long time, and it is and always has been a very real problem in Dallas.  

jared.heath
jared.heath

@cheeseburger Drive around SMU every day....you'll see it plenty.  Especially along University drive between SMU and Skillman.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@whareagle @DOCensors A right to take the full lane does not preclude them from being considerate and moving over when safe instead of being immature dicks. But no. They ride in the middle of the lane, and get pissy when you pass them by completely moving into the other lane. 

I can't count how many times someone on a bike has sworn and flipped me off after overtaking-- IN THE OTHER LANE!

looptwelve
looptwelve

@DOCensors If you actually rode a bike and then rode it on the aforementioned path around the lake, you will quickly learn why bicyclists avoid it. If I had a dollar for every time I've almost hit a kid who wasn't being watched by their parent or almost run over a chihuahua not being walked on a short leash I would be able to afford a decent education for you. I don't want to be held accountable for some kid's injury because their parents are fools.

looptwelve
looptwelve

@Montemalone What about old people that coast along at 5 mph? Would you throw shit and scream at them too?

jared.heath
jared.heath

@billdav @jared.heath  You are entirely right about people using their cars as weapons against cyclists.

 You are entirely wrong about stop signs.  Cars might roll through stop signs at 2-3 MPH with nobody coming.  They do not blow through them at 30 MPH when they didn't even have the right-of-way if they had stopped properly.  There's a big difference.

And speeding should not even be brought into the discussion since bicycles cannot achieve such dangerous speeds.  If you want to talk about speeding cycles....we can go there, and those are the "grown up" bicycles that endanger everyone that encounters them on the road (the kinds with motors)

billdav
billdav

@DOCensors: If you passed in the other lane then why were they angry with you?  That makes no sense at all.  Were you honking at them?  Were you tailgating them?  Did you change lanes very late?

What is the big deal bout changing lanes for a bicycle?  You'd do it for anything that wasn't a bicycle.

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

@DOCensors @whareagle You know, some people are just dicks.  Climbing on a bike doesn't make them one though.  They'd be dicks in a car too.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@looptwelve @DOCensors Bicyclists avoid the path around the lake because they don't like people getting in the way so they get in the way of people but we aren't supposed to think people like you aren't self centered idiots?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@looptwelve @Montemalone yep fuck them too, get their old asses off the road

whareagle
whareagle

@ScottsMerkin @cheeseburger @DOCensors @whareagle What's the ROI on red light cameras? This is just like adding bicycle 'infrastructure' - throw millions at something that doesn't require it and will make a fraction of a dent in the cycling population. I refer to this link: http://cycledallas.blogspot.com/2010/08/breaking-news-nine-out-of-ten-kids.html .... So Hundreds of millions of dollars later, AUSTIN has a 1.4% mode share. Whoo hoo! It's like military spending! MORE for Less!

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

@DOCensors @cheeseburger @whareagle I don't think that's how this will work.  These safe passing ordinances really only come into play when there is a car-bike wreck..  It gives the police something to charge the driver with, rather than just shrugging shoulders and calling it an "accident".  Other than that, I doubt you could call the cops just because you felt you were being passed too closely.  It would take a police officer actually seeing an unsafe pass to trigger any response outside of a wreck.

looptwelve
looptwelve

@DOCensors I said nothing about being impatient around children, I said it's hard to stop quick enough to not hit one that jumps in front of me. Rather than waiting for the day where I'm not able to stop in time, I'd rather avoid the situation altogether and stick to roads. Where bicycles belong. Because they are a vehicle. Once again: reading comprehension.

yalc
yalc

@DOCensors @yalc Who has a chip on there shoulder? just saying that lawther isn't just a neighborhood road its also surrounds a park, if cyclist are that big of a problem I'd find another way arround as anyone would do on a road that has unfavorable traffic.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@yalc @DOCensors Who said anything about it being a highway? Why should I be subject to abuse because someone on a bike can't be considerate and has a chip on their shoulder?

yalc
yalc

@DOCensorswhy not get off lawther and go to abrams or buckner if they are that big of a problem? roads like lawther and peavy aren't designed to be highways most vehicles are speeding or rolling through stop signs them selfs arround the lake. I have had drivers honk at me as they floor it and squeel arround the turn lawther/williamson cause they see me leaving from the stop even though I have plenty of room if they just stayed at their speed.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@looptwelve @DOCensors Show me a school zone the length of W Lawther and then you may have a point. And you are the one who has already admitted to being so impatient around children than you can't ride your bike on the path.

So stick your hypocrisy in your spandex shirt with your energy bars and get bent. 

looptwelve
looptwelve

@DOCensors If you have a problem with cyclists on the road who slow down traffic, clearly you have a gaping problem with school zones as well. 

I'm sorry my vehicle that requires kinetic energy comes off as a child's toy... perhaps I should convert to power wheels. But probably not, because then I'd turn into a fat sack of shit in order to appease impatient assholes.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@looptwelve @DOCensors Why? I've never been in an accident and I don't nearly run over children either. You however seem incapable of riding your child's toy without causing problems no matter where you go.

looptwelve
looptwelve

@DOCensors It has nothing to do with people getting in the way, it has to do with NOT HITTING KIDS because you can't stop quickly enough after they jump in front of you without looking behind them. I fail to see how that is being self centered...

Also, reading comprehension is not your strong suit.

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