Here's Dallas' New Campaign to Make Drivers Be More Courteous to Cyclists

sanfrancisco-sign26.jpg
Via.
When the City Council passed new rules in December laying down a $300 fine on any driver caught cutting off, or throwing things at or otherwise behaving dangerously around bicyclists, there was an acknowledged need for a public awareness campaign to let drivers know about the new rules.

No one was expecting a glitzy, multi-million-dollar ad campaign, but certainly it wouldn't have cost much money or effort to outdo this brochure, which popped up on the Dallas Police Department's web site today.

We won't linger on the less-than-eye catching design or the brochure's claim that there are 90 miles of shared bike lanes in the city, which seems awfully high. (There were zero miles all of nine months ago.)

The bigger problem is that the brochure makes no attempt to translate City Hall legalese into plain, easy-to-understand English. While the writers could have something clear and concise (e.g. FUCK WITH CYCLISTS, PAY $300), they opted instead to regurgitate the ordinance word for word, guaranteeing that no one will read the brochure and negating its very reason for existence.

They had no such trouble spelling out what's expected of cyclists. This was a major point of contention when the council first discussed the new rules, the apparent rationale being that if bicyclists want "special" treatment -- like, you know, not being stabbed -- they should stop rolling through stop signs.

Just as council members made sure to include a redundant provision to the cyclist protection measure -- reminding them, once again, to follow all traffic laws -- the brochure included a bulleted list of "friendly reminders" for two-wheeled commuters.

Even less necessary is the brief section that follows, entitled: "You are every cyclist and every cyclist is you."

"The reputation of all cyclists is hampered by the few who ride outside the law," it reads. "Riding by the same set of rules as motorists makes you predictable and greatly reduces your risk of a crash. Law abiding actions send a message to motorists: 'I belong here and I'm going to share the road in a predictable and courteous way: just as I expect you to.'"

See the whole piece below.

My Voice Nation Help
44 comments
epicmale
epicmale

Twice, in just the past 3 days, I have been cut off by two different jerks in 'green' cars with bikes on a rack...each turned into a 'bike path' park.  There wasn't a problem with people that rode bikes in decades past.  Heck, I rode one a LOT in college 45 years ago.  But we stopped at stop signs, we didn't weave traffic, we didn't slap mirrors off or kick doors panels in.  And as a result, drivers looked out for us.  Of course we were smart enough not to ride in a cage's blind spot, or to jump out in front of faster moving traffic and force them to pull a panic stop. 

There is a 'this is my universe; you are superfluous' mentality in the biking community these days.  Just witness the decades of the Armstrong fiasco!  That mindset is worse these days.  I don't think everyone on a bike is this self-centered, but in my youth it was one in 500.  Now it is close to 1 in 10.

ANYONE that thinks a law will make them safer is what we call DEAD MEAT.  "Yep, Officer, he had the right of way, but...."

Tom434
Tom434

I particularly like the cyclists who when there is a line of cars stopped for a red light who weave their way through the cars to the front

tbarker1
tbarker1

Do over: 

I expected much more than this but the product is in line with the smiley face signs the Park Dpt created after Ms. Huddleston died.   The original meetings, on creation of a Dallas cycling plan, featured Peter Lagerwey, one of the most qualified consultants in the business. His boss, Jennifer Toole, and her compnay were very thorough on the "needs assessment" for Dallas.  They presented numerous signage and marking alternative.   

See: http://www.tooledesign.com/company/firm-leadership

I am lost on how this got translated over the last couple of years, not surprised, just lost.  

Everyone needs to read everything written on bikes by Bob Mionske, a large voice for legal issues and cycling. Bob used to train at WRL with other professional cyclists.  His columns cover every angle of street riding.  

I had thought Max Kalhammer would have more influence on this offering from the City.  Considering the amount of ink I have directed at City Hall on cycling Dallas streets since 1990, not impressed.

Some of my first suggestions were to use WRL area as a testbed for share lane, striping or changes to the City Code.  Not seen much progress.  

I understand that Complete Streets is now defunct, explain.


oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

The overstressed Dallas police are to busy to  proactively  enforce helmet LAWS ( Outside of the riding trails on city parkland ) what really makes any of you think they are going to give a hoot about proactively enforcing these new rules ?

Negotiating our streets is dangerous proposition.  Be careful.


Miguel Ortiz
Miguel Ortiz

I drive a car... I have the right of way. :l *beep, beep!

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Now, if cyclists started obeying the law we'd be good to go.  Get them off the sidewalks!

Wendy Rhodes Quenzer
Wendy Rhodes Quenzer

@Christopher Waters- I am both a cyclists and a runner and I completely disagree with you. Most experienced cyclists, myself included, make it a point to stay *off* the sidewalk and *on* the road. We do this for several reasons. One is to protect the runners. So many runners use 2 headphones and do not hear a cyclist coming up behind them, even when the cyclist calls out "coming up on your left!" Runners have been severely injured and even died due to accidents like this. Also, as a cyclist, it is my RIGHT to ride on the road. Have you ever tried cycling on a road bike clipped into pedals? It is practically impossible to do things like jump on and off curbs to get on a sidewalk (because many sidewalks in Dallas do not have ramps). Also many areas do not have sidewalks at all. As for everyone else who drives around White Rock Lake, you should EXPECT and RESPECT that there will be cyclists i nthat area. It is a park. Speed limits are 20-25 mph. Many cyclists can pedal close to that speed so they shouldn't be slowing you down too much if you are following the speed limit. I believe the main issue is the overall Dallas culture towards exercise. Per the Dallas Observer on February 23 last year, (http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2012/02/mens_health_weighs_in_and_hous.php), Dallas is America's 25th FATTEST CITY. That is a serious problem. On the other hand, Austin is America's 12th *fittest* city. Do you think Austin-ites treat bicyclists the way Dallas-ites treat bicyclists? Have you personally ever ridden on a bike, clipped into pedals? It's easy to get frustrated with cyclists if you've never tried it yourself. If we can change the way Dallas-ites think about 'being green' and outdoor exercise, then we should be able to change the way cyclists, runners, pedestrians are treated.

Christopher Waters
Christopher Waters

Bikers get on the sidewalk!!! Roads are for motorists!! There are bike trails. Use them!!

qtzie
qtzie

If we can change the way Dallas-ites think about 'being green' and outdoor exercise, then we should be able to change the way cyclists, runners, pedestrians are treated.  Per the Dallas Observer on February 23 last year, (http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2012/02/mens_health_weighs_in_and_hous.php), Dallas is America's 25th FATTEST CITY.  That is a serious problem.  On the other hand, Austin is America's 12th *fittest* city.  Do you think Austin-ites treat bicyclists the way Dallas-ites treat bicyclists?  Have you personally ever ridden on a bike, clipped into pedals?  It's easy to get frustrated with cyclists if you've never tried it yourself.  

MattL11
MattL11

I like the idea, as Dallas drivers are generally horrible to cyclists for no reason, but the execution is just awful. 

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

This is ass backwards. They really need to set up a program pushing bicyclists into obeying traffic laws better. 

Shannon Adolph
Shannon Adolph

I see motorists breaking the law every day but I don't have an urge to smash my car into them.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Was this before or after his appearance on ESPN?

EliotLandrum
EliotLandrum

Is the cover photo of a cyclist on a sidewalk?

Jayne Hexa DessieMaul Ochoa
Jayne Hexa DessieMaul Ochoa

Yes, Brenda! Especially around White Rock lake where so many think they own the whole road and we can't go around them.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

What is a "shared bike lane?"

If by that they mean street lanes bikes can share with cars then Dallas has thousands of "shared bike lanes."

This city's attempt at bike-friendliness remains a complete joke.

WylieH
WylieH

Wow, pretty sad.  How many typos can you count?

EdD.
EdD.

That road sign is Dallas' plan to replace the Superconducting Super Collider with a budget alternative.

Brenda Barrett Van Sickle
Brenda Barrett Van Sickle

Is anyone going to enforce cyclists obeying traffic laws, like stopping at stop signs? Or riding three abreast and completely blocking traffic? While I totally advocate sharing the road, even I sometimes want to just run over them because they're such self-absorbed turds.

qtzie
qtzie

@Myrna.Minkoff-KatzI am both a cyclists and a runner and I completely disagree with you. Most experienced cyclists, myself included, make it a point to stay *off* the sidewalk and *on* the road. We do this for several reasons. One is to protect the runners. So many runners use 2 headphones and do not hear a cyclist coming up behind them, even when the cyclist calls out "coming up on your left!" Runners have been severely injured and even died due to accidents like this. Also, as a cyclist, it is my RIGHT to ride on the road. Have you ever tried cycling on a road bike clipped into pedals? It is practically impossible to do things like jump on and off curbs to get on a sidewalk (because many sidewalks in Dallas do not have ramps). Also many areas do not have sidewalks at all.  And how do you think most cyclists get to the bike trails?  Many do not pack their bike up in their car and drive to a trail.  Many have to ride on a street to get to the actual trail.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@GuitarPlayer Interesting. Someone posted earlier that cyclists need to get on the sidewalk, roads are for cars. I don't have a dog in this fight but it seems to me (based on my highly scientific experiment of reading through Dallas Observer comments on the subject) that maybe the drivers are the ones who need to be educated.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@Shannon Adolph 

I see plenty of bicyclists who run red lights and who don't use turn signals, many more than motorists.

notmike
notmike

@EliotLandrum yeah, we need to get them off the sidewalks. the jimmy john's guys almost kill me at least once a week.

whareagle
whareagle

@Jayne Ochoa Er.... Cyclists do own the road. First come, first served. You can seek an alternate route, wait, or... pass when it's safe. Sorry. 

BenS.
BenS.

@Jayne Ochoa 

Speed limit is 25mph on the west side and 20 mph on the east. Where are you headed in such a hurry? It's a road. In a park. Feel free to throw a temper tantrum out there. The cyclist ranks out there are full of off duty police officers and firefighters. See where that lands you.

G_David
G_David

@Brenda Van Sickle Not sure if you're self-absorbed or not (my guess is yes), but you're definitely very turd-esque.

MattL11
MattL11

@Brenda Van Sickle You di see the difference between advocating "sharing the road" and wanting to run over a cyclist, right? They're mutually exclusive positions. Like every other Dallas driver who "complains" about cyclists "disobeying traffic laws," you're merely using that as a bullshit justification for your anger towards them for not being able to go as fast as you (love the italics feature, by the way) want to. I don't ride a bike, either. 

BrandenHelms
BrandenHelms

@Brenda Van Sickle If a car runs a stop sign and hits something, people can get hurt and die. If a cyclist runs a stop, at worst is a dent. I see all manner of motorist violations every day. My point is, what difference does it make to you? My experience as a bicycle patrol officer downtown is that many motorists are jealous or selfish. They can't do why do it, so the cyclist shouldn't either. As for riding three abreast, it is not illegal. The cyclists are entitled to the full lane. If there are three cyclist, they can take up three lanes. BTW, there are very, very few speed minimums. My advice is to just relax and don't sweat the small stuff.

muchow
muchow

@qtzie,

Ditto. Bikes are vehicles, too. And most cyclists drive cars also... we are not some bunch of nylon lunchbag Berkeley freaks who have no regard for laws. We ride in the road, wear helmets, and stop at stop signs and stop lights. We signal turns well in advance and ride single file on two-lane roads.

Now, all we ask is that drivers don't plow into us, sideswipe us, or turn right from the lane to our left.

Also, speaking as a runner/cyclist (like qtzie) I don't wear earphones. About a month ago, I had to avoid a runner who suddenly changed lanes after I announced I was passing.  It cost me about $200 in bike repairs and a new helmet. Not to mention that it hurt wiping out. Fellow runners, heads up, OK?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@qtzie I live downtown, where all sidewalks have ramps.  Delivery cyclists from Jimmy Johns are the most reckless of all.  Even the Downtown Safety Patrol ride their bikes on the sidewalk.  Very dangerous.

qtzie
qtzie

What does race have to do with anything?  I am referring to changing the overall opinion on exercise. Fat community= a community that doesn't exercise enough.  And a community that doesn't exercise enough will have less tolerance of cyclists on the roads because they simply can not relate to it.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@casiepierce  

What the fuck are you talking about? I never said bicyclists should ride on the sidewalk, Why are you trying to compare my comment with one that isn't even related? What an ass. 

My point has always been that bicyclists should be on the road and observe traffic laws, That IS the law and has been for decades. 

kduble
kduble

@GuitarPlayer That's hard to believe. I mean, how many motorists in Dallas use turn signals? Zero? Even the police don't use 'em!

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

@BrandenHelms I know someone who ended up in the hospital with broken ribs after a cyclist hit them. Other's have died. 

Besides-- that isn't how laws work anyway. It's not 'well that applies to them because I don't think it should apply to me' regardless of how you try and justify it. 


As for riding single file or not:

  1. A person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

    However there are exceptions to this law.  Under the following conditions the law allows bicyclists to take the full lane of travel when:
    1. The person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction.
    2. The person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
    3. When there are unsafe conditions on the roadway, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, or surface hazards that prevents the person from safely riding next to the curb or edge of the roadway.
    4. The lane is of substandard width (less than 14 feet in width and not having a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane) making if unsafe for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
  2. A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.
  3. Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast.  Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane.  Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway.  Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

qtzie
qtzie

@muchow Ditto!  Wish more runners were aware!

FEDUP
FEDUP

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @qtzie Safety Patrol?? You mean meter maids and meter meter lads, safety patrol my ass. Throw your cats between their spokes that'll get off the sidewalks.

qtzie
qtzie

@PersistentID2345 @qtzie To me, bringup up race sounds like a poor attempt at an excuse.  The fact still remains that Dallas is a fat and unhealthy city- across all races and demographics-- and it requires change.  I feel like overall, we must be more tolerant of each other, especially if someone is exercising and working on improving their health.  It will be beneficial to *everyone* to support each other as we try to be more green and increase exercise. and health awareness.

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

@qtzie 

  • Among Mexican American women, 78 percent are overweight or obese, as compared to only 60.3 percent of the non-Hispanic White women.
  • In 2010, Hispanic Americans were 1.2 times as likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic Whites.
  • In 2009 - 2010 Mexican American children were 1.6 times more likely to be overweight as Non- Hispanic White Children.
  • From 2007-2010, Mexican American women were 40% more likely to be overweight, as compared to Non-Hispanic Whites. 

http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=6459

 

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...