Dallas Now Has a Bike Task Force, and It's Hellbent on Killing the Helmet Law

Categories: Transportation

KingstonKleinmanJenkinsBike.jpg
Philip Kingston for City Council
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, with Dallas City Council members Philip Kingston and Lee Kleinman at the Northaven Trail on Saturday.
In case you missed it, NPR ran a piece yesterday about Texas' moderately surprising move toward bike-friendliness. The state, especially its cities, have been adding trails, bike lanes and pro-cycling policies at a respectable, if not quite Portland-esque, clip. Just look at Dallas' ambitious bike plan, with its plans to lay out 1,100 miles of bike lanes over the next decade.

What the story doesn't mention is that City Hall has been slow-walking implementation of the bike plan ever since it was finished in 2011. Sharrows -- car lanes with the bicycle icons on them -- aren't hard to find, but the more substantial bike infrastructure that's been promised (i.e. dedicated bike lanes) has been slower in coming.

How to change that? A bit of public pressure can't hurt, so council members Philip Kingston, Lee Kleinman, Adam Medrano and Scott Griggs have begun the process of forming a citizen bike task force.

See also: Max Kalhammer, the Architect of Dallas' Bike Plan, Is Leaving City Hall

"There's just been a lack of initiative," Kingston says. Dallas' bike plan is good policy, he says, but implementation has been hamstrung by a "lack of will" by city management.

By giving cycling advocates a permanent seat at the table -- one that disappeared once the bike plan was done -- Kingston thinks City Hall can be nudged into action.

The first, informal meeting happened last week and included the usual suspects, mostly representatives from Dallas' various bike friendly groups.

"The membership is open to anybody who cares about bicycles," Kingston says. "The agenda that I gave them is organize yourselves, how often you want to meet, and tell us what resources you need from us."

Kingston's top priorities: accelerating bike share, which has been in the works already for about two years ("We're not digging the Panama Canal. This is a phone call to a vendor."); building on-street cycling infrastructure; and connecting the city's trail system.

The task force added a fourth priority: abolish the mandatory helmet law.

That topic's set to go before the council's Quality of Life Committee. Kingston expects the helmet rule to be gone by the end of the year, right before the city gets a respectably sized bike share program.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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52 comments
kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

NPR.......oh brother; stuff makes me sleepy.  I love the New York liberal bent though. 


"citizen bike task force"......first thing this task force should do is get most of these people off the roads, and onto bike trails; except for the real cyclists!   Nothing worse than fat arse bike dude in full gear impeding traffic for miles and miles. 


Also, citizen bike task force sounds like a bunch a 8 year old's with fake badges. 

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

Including why the helmet law is unpopular would have been a great addition to this article.     I understand it's ridiculous that motorcycle + no helmet = legal, but bicycle + plus no helmet = illegal.  That aside, is the issue that bicyclist safety (protecting their heads) is all of a sudden a non-issue; that helmets don't protect bicyclist heads; or some other reason?   

auntiecairo
auntiecairo

Guess it's culling of the herd - if people are dumb enough to want to bike without a helmet -- then let them. 

GAA214
GAA214

The bike helmet law is only enforced towards brown and blacks.  I have been harassed by the gustapo several times while WASPy riders rode by.  

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Who is on this "Quality of Life Committee"?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

So long as we have a couple of dipshits with Obama helmets on, tooling down the "Sharrows" at 8 miles per hour in rush hour BLOCKING AN ENTIRE LANE  . . . there will be blood (ha!).

WAIT! I'm getting a vision . . . 

Redneck illegals swilling beer heading home at breakneck speed wondering what's up with THIS shit?  Donde esta a slap on the the ass Whela.

And the Garland boys cheer them on.

Settlers give the place passion, don't they?


richardsontx
richardsontx

In a move to increase  bicycle transportation and reduce car dependence, and thus educate the public by leading by example, how about we eschew bicycle driving, the act of driving a bicycle by car and then riding it and then driving it back home.  If we cannot use bicycles as "transportation" in order to ride them then there's not much hope in getting drivers to accommodate bicycles on the roads.  

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Well, I prefer wearing my helmet when on either a motorcycle or bicycle. But, considering I was hit twice by idiots yacking on their cell phones while I was riding a motorcycle, it might just be personal bias in my case.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

I guess it is enforced in the parks and bike lanes/trails  in our area  but it sure hasn't been a priority in my neighborhood.  

Thanks to a lack  of enforcement I doubt it has modified the general populations behavior .






WylieH
WylieH

The three guys in the photo scare me.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

Seriously, what happened to Myrna and Mini-Myrna?  Murder-suicide?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

OK, who on the Dallas City Council has a friend/relative/associate/contributor who sells bike helmets?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

The helmet law should be like New Hampshire 's seat belt law. Minors required, adults, use your own common sense.

sidewalkastro
sidewalkastro

Strange that you can ride a motocycle in Dallas without a helmet, but not a bicycle. Damm Dallas is alway late to the party. So assbackward as always. Sharrows and just painted bike lanes offer no protection for the cyclist, but very cheap for the city to do to make them look like they are doing something. What a friginning joke.

titusgroan
titusgroan

What does the helmet law have to do with making Dallas bike-friendlier? 

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Dallas is the only county in Texas to have a helmet law.

Needs to go.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Great, now it'll be just like Somalia.

rroyb
rroyb

@The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley 

Bike share and mandatory helmets don't work well together.  Helmets a good idea and hope that individuals will make the appropriate choice.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

That's exactly the problem. Car-dependent development is so unsustainable you have to waste BILLIONS of dollars on asphalt.

By the way, the "burden on the healthcare system" caused by car drivers is infinitely higher than it is in the case of cyclists.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@holmantx  


GENIUS......"a couple of dipshits with Obama helmets on"; (a salute and slow clap) how true!

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Tim.Covington

I hear you - helmet or no, the road has become a far more dangerous place for motorcyclists with the advent of the 'smartphone'.

As much as it pains me to acknowledge it, that may be the reason the old springer finally goes on the auction block.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Tim

Were it not for my MX helmet, I wouldn't be here to annoy.

(Now there's a helluva opening for my fan base)

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ColonelAngus

Just don't try pinning anything on me, I have several alibis.

Actually, I imagine Myrna and the cats are vacationing in the South of France, feeling an Italian and telling Terrible Tales of Texas.

Or, cowering in wonderful Crooklyn. Either way, we win!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@sidewalkastro  If I was riding a bike on the mean streets of Dallas, I wouldnt just wear a helmet, I'd have a full on body armor!

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@titusgroan It is hard to get people to do bike share if they have to go buy and carry a helmet with them for use on the borrowed bikes...

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  Damned libertarians, wanting to let anyone get on a bike and just start pedaling it all over town without any training, background checks, licensing, taxing, helmets, anything.

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@rroyb  

Thank you.  I'm going to assume that bike share is exactly what it sounds like, which seems to be the best of both worlds for bicyclists.  A non-motorized means of transportation at a fraction of the purchase cost.  Why don't the helmet and bike share not work well together? 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@rroyb  


yeah, and don't drink and drive, don't smoke in bed, don't do drugs, and on and on.........

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@MikeDunlap  without all that asphalt, your 10 speed wouldn't be too fun to ride to work asshat

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

"I have only two out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918.).


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

They remind me of the Sonic guys, trying to recruit a third obnoxious dingbat.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@dfwheathen

Ah, been listening to Mozart I see.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@lakewoodhobo

What happens if you ignore the tickets, bike-license suspension? Bike impoundment? Detention?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

Before you know it, the natives will start hijacking the solar powered water taxis and holding for ransom.

BTW, I ate here last Fall, where Capt. Phillips has his own special sandwich

http://underhillcountrystore.com

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@rroyb @The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley 

I don't ride a bike so I don't know how inconvenient carrying around a helmet is, but that sounds pretty chickenshit to me.  You get to ride a bike, something bicyclists love, and carrying around a helmet is an inconvenience? 

Thank you again, I appreciate you taking the time to explain it to me.

rroyb
rroyb

@The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley @rroyb

The idea of bikeshare is that you can pickup a bike, use it, and drop it where you got it or somewhere else.  Could also do that with a helmet but, like bowling shoes, everyone doesn't go for it and carrying a helmet around all the time doesn't work either. 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

 @MikeDunlap  


he's right Dunlap, this place is a two horse town if it ain't for the foresight of infrastructure. 

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