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Action Alert: HB 117 Needs Your Support

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HB 171 by Rep. Goldman will override all local mobile device ordinances and replace them with a new, weaker version. The sole purpose of this bill is to water down local decisions regarding mobile device use. Please vote NO on HB 171.

We urge you to contact your Texas Representative and tell them that you want to support HB 117 by Rep. Uresti instead. Please vote YES on 117.

HB 117 expands and strengthens our new statewide mobile device bill (HB 62). This bill is in danger of languishing in the House Transportation Committee and dying before the end of the Special Session. 

Here's what you can do to support more stringent rules for cell phone use while driving: 

 
 
We've found the following format to be useful when contacting elected officials:
  • My name is _____ and my occupation is _____. I live in District ____. I support Representative Uresti's House Bill 117. Please vote YES on Uresti's HB 117, and NO on Goldman's HB 171.

Relevant facts related to this legislation include:

  1. Use of a mobile device while driving is widely recognized to be a dangerous behavior.
  2. Distracted drivers are highly dangerous to bicyclists and pedestrians.
  3. Local mobile device use ordinances are frequently stricter than state law. If local voters have chosen to more strictly regulate themselves, then their decisions should be honored.
  4. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration urges local citizens to advocate for local laws with regards to distracted driving. Rep. Goldman's HB 171 seeks to take away that local control.
 
Thank you for speaking up for safe driving practices in Texas! One more way to help--please share this with any bike, pedestrian, or traffic safety groups you may be part of, plus all of your friends that want safer roads in our cities. 
 
Action Alert Header

You are receiving this email because you are a constituent of a Texas Representative on the Texas House Transportation Committee. 

HB 171 by Rep. Goldman will override all local mobile device ordinances and replace them with a new, weaker version. The sole purpose of this bill is to water down local decisions regarding mobile device use. Please vote NO on HB 171.

We urge you to contact your Texas Representative and tell them that you want to support HB 117 by Rep. Uresti instead. Please vote YES on 117.

HB 117 expands and strengthens our new statewide mobile device bill (HB 62). This bill is in danger of languishing in the House Transportation Committee and dying before the end of the Special Session. 

Here's what you can do to support more stringent rules for cell phone use while driving: 

 
 
We've found the following format to be useful when contacting elected officials:
  • My name is _____ and my occupation is _____. I live in District ____. I support Representative Uresti's House Bill 117. Please vote YES on Uresti's HB 117, and NO on Goldman's HB 171.

Relevant facts related to this legislation include:

  1. Use of a mobile device while driving is widely recognized to be a dangerous behavior.
  2. Distracted drivers are highly dangerous to bicyclists and pedestrians.
  3. Local mobile device use ordinances are frequently stricter than state law. If local voters have chosen to more strictly regulate themselves, then their decisions should be honored.
  4. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration urges local citizens to advocate for local laws with regards to distracted driving. Rep. Goldman's HB 171 seeks to take away that local control.
 
Thank you for speaking up for safe driving practices in Texas! One more way to help--please share this with any bike, pedestrian, or traffic safety groups you may be part of, plus all of your friends that want safer roads in our cities. 
 

On the Lege: 85th Regular Session Recap

85th lege collageBikeTexas had several priority bills during the 85th Texas Legislature. The good news is that HB 62, No Texting While Driving, finally passed after many years of work and was signed into law by the governor. Under this law, drivers may not read, write, send texts, or communicate via other electronic messages while the vehicle is moving. Stricter ordinances at the local level are still law. The Special Legislative Session may pass a bill to void local hands-free ordinances.

Unfortunately, the Iris Stagner Safe Passing Act (HB 1236 by Rep. Mando Martinez/SB 1274 by Sen Jose Rodriguez), Vision Zero (HB 1677 by Rep. Celia Israel/SB 1245 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez), and Safe Neighborhood Streets (HB 1368 by Rep. Celia Israel/SB 1244 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez), did not fare well. We were given reasons that some very conservative legislators didn't like the bills because of "nanny state," "too many laws," or "should be a local ordinance only."

Generally these bills are unlikely to be won by compelling arguments that address the legislators' concerns. The bicycling movement will need to show a lot of "boots on the ground" in every legislative district that has a legislator whose votes we need (hint: all of them).

Many thanks to the over 80 folks who traveled to Austin for the Bike Lobby Day, Cyclists in Suits, on March 27. We visited every legislative office to let them know that people who ride bikes have high expectations of our legislators to hear our concerns and take those concerns seriously.

We're keeping an eye on bills that come up during the Special Session and fighting every day to make Texas a great place to walk and bike.

 

Cyclists in Suits 2017

cyclists in suits 17 biketexas bicycle advocacy texas

We want to extend our thanks to the more than 80 citizen advocates who signed up for Cyclists in Suits on March 27. BikeTexas members and friends from across the state visited every legislative office to advocate for safe bicycling and walking. Volunteers provided information about Vision Zero (House Bill 1677/Senate Bill 1245), the Iris Stagner Safe Passing Act (House Bill 1236/Senate Bill 1274), and the Safe Neighborhood Streets Bill (House Bill 1368/Senate Bill 1244) to every legislative office.

We also extend our thanks to Richardson Bike Mart and Bike DFW, YMCA, H-E-B, Bike Houston, Bike Austin, The Bonneville, and members and friends for their financial support of Cyclists in Suits.

Special thanks to YMCA staff members and Senator Jose Rodriguez, who provided information, encouragement and training for our volunteers.

 

Save State Parks Funding for Texas: Contact the TX Lege Now

Domingo 30 de Abril de 2017 18:03

Action Alert Header
HB 78 Goes Before the House Appropriation Committee on May 4
HB 78 Makes State Parks Funding Permanent

The Texas Sporting Goods Sales Tax was created to fund Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD)– not to be used for other purposes at the whim of the legislature. But both House and Senate appropriations committees are poised to carve out $92 million from the sporting good sales tax to do just that.

This can be fixed now! The Budget Conference Committee can correct this error before the budget is ultimately finalized. If your Senator or Rep is on the Conference Committee, ask him or her to fully fund state parks.

Additionally, House Bill 78 by Representative Ryan Gullien has been filed to fix this glitch so that the $92 million can be recovered and bring TWPD funding up to its full level. HB 78 will be heard by the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 4Please contact your reps immediately and tell them you support Texas State Parks.

In addition to developing and maintaining our priceless State Parks, TPWD provides Recreational Trails funding for trails all over the state, including rail-to-trail corridors such as Caprock Canyons, Mineral Wells, and the proposed 130-mile long Northeast Texas Trail from near McKinney though Paris to near Texarkana. This valuable work should be supported by our legislature, not curtailed through choking off funding.

Here's what you can do to support Texas State Parks: 

  • Find your Texas Representative and Senator and head to their respective contact pages. Not sure what to do? See the illustrations below. (Please look up your own representatives; don't just call the folks listed here--they might not represent you!)
  • Is your Rep or Senator on the Budget Conference Committee? Ask him or her to fully fund state parks.
  • Call or email your Rep and Senator and urge both to support HB 78 to bring TPWD up to its full funding level with YOUR Texas Sporting Goods Sales Tax.
  • Keep in mind you'll most likely speak to a legislative staffer, not the Rep or Senator. 
We've found the following format to be useful when contacting elected officials:
  • My name is _____ and my occupation is _____. I live in District ____. I support Texas State Parks.
  • (If applicable) Please correct the $92 million shortfall in the TPWD budget by appropriating the 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax that was intended for parks into the TPWD budget.
  • Please support HB 78 by Rep. Ryan Guillen, scheduled for a hearing on May 4 in House Appropriations Committee.
  • (Use any/all of the suggested talking points below as they relate to you. Help your elected officials understand why this is an important issue for you.)
  1. State and local parks are vital to our state’s economy and to preserving our Texas heritage, culture, and way of life. 
  2. This bill would amend the Parks and Wildlife Code and permanently require that 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax be appropriated for the state and local parks, as it was intended.
  3. I am proud to join a diverse range of voters in supporting our parks. From hunting and fishing groups, to environmentalists and conservation organizations, we stand together in support of proper funding for our parks.
  4. The Comptroller’s revenue estimate for the 2018-2019 biennium budget shows the Sporting Goods Sales Tax will bring in an estimated $333.5 million. Under the tax code, 94% of that should be appropriated for state and local parks, which would amount to $313.5 million. However, there is currently a $92.5 million shortfall in the budget.
  5. As a proud Texan and friend of the parks, I am calling on you to fully fund the parks so that the department will have consistency in its budget and be able to properly maintain and operate our state parks for all Texans to enjoy.
  • Thank you for your time and consideration.  
Thank you for speaking up for state parks funding in Texas! One more way to help--please share this with any bike, trail, or park groups you may be part of, plus all of your friends who love Texas State Parks. Let's let the lege know Texans want great parks!
 
 

Cyclists in Suits - Texas' Bike Lobby Day

Cyclists-in-Suits, March 27, in Austin

 

.cyclist in suits 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We'll meet at the Capitol Auditorium (E1.004, which is across from the Capitol Grill at 9am sharp for a welcome and brief training session.check in at least 15 minutes prior. No food or drinks are allowed in the auditorium. The Capitol Grill near the auditorium has breakfast foods, and coffee at a very reasonable price. It is open early.)

 

After orientation, volunteers from across the state (including bus loads of individuals from bike groups in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth) will visit legislative offices to show support for our bills. 

At the end of the day, we’ll meet at The Bonneville Restaurant overlooking Lady Bird Lake for a social hour and refreshments.

Sign up to participate by 
 clicking here.


When we reach out to our friends in email blasts this spring, contact your legislators to show support for our bills. Sign up 
for our Enewsletter, and Action Alerts which are time sensitive during the session.  

 

Bus Trips to Cyclists in Suits:

From DFW (thanks to Richardson Bike Mart and BikeDFW) please click here.

 

Summary of bills BikeTexas is supporting this session:  Please note, legislative sessions are fluid and bills can change at any time. Consult this bill tracker for up-to-the-minute information.

 

Iris Stagner Safe Passing Act for 2017-House Bill (HB) 1236

Iris Mark and RobinNamed for a populabicycle safety advocate and BikeTexas board   member, who died on the road in 2012.This Safe Passing Bill will establish for unprotected road users a standard safe passing distance of 3 ft. (or 6 ft. for Commercial Vehicles) that  only applies when road conditions allow. It also  prohibits the “right hook” (turning dangerously in front  of an unprotected road user) and failing to yield when making a left turn at an intersection. Comments: No fiscal note. Twenty-five Texas cities and twenty-five other states have enacted                                                     safe passing laws. Imposes penalties for violations under this bill. 

 

Establishment of the Vision Zero Legislative Task Force by the Legislature - House Bill (HB) 1677

This legislation would direct TxDOT to establish The Task Force on Vision Zero: Achieving Zero Traffic Crashes, Injuries and Fatalities, to report findings to the 2019 legislature, based on the Task Force review of a) current state of roadway fatalities and serious injuries and b) identification of effective measures to reduce the number of roadway fatalities to zero by no later than 2050. Comments: no fiscal note. Vision Zero is a national and international effort to reduce fatalities to zero. BikeTexas is proud to be a member of a coalition of Texas-based health concerns 

supporting this bill.

 

Lowering the Prima Facie Speed Limit in an Urban District – House Bill (HB) 1368

This legislation would amend the Transportation Code to change the lawful speed from 30 miles an hour to 25 miles an hour in an urban district on a street other than an alley unless a special 

hazard exists. Comments: no fiscal note. Uses speed reduction as a tool for reduction of fatalities and serious injuries.

 

Alex Brown Memorial Act – Distracted Driver - House Bill (HB) 62

This legislation relates to the use of a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, creating a criminal offense and modifying existing criminal penalties. 

 
 

Ride Like a Pirate

talk like a pirate on a bike day biketexasAvast! September 19 be Talk Like a Pirate Day, so haul yer best Pirate to yer ride and impress yer mates! (We be puttin' these here fer a laugh. We be not wantin' ye to do anythin' that might land ye in traction.) Don't be forgettin' yer eyepatch for yer post-ride grog, savvy? And nae stealin', either--that be the wrong spirit fer Talk Like a Pirate Day.

 

Before the ride -- "Arrrr, where be we goin'? Which one o' ye is the coxswain? Does every bilge rat have flat changin' tools?" 

 

Car back -- "There be dragons."

Car up -- "Here be dragons." 

Road hazard -- "Ahoy, mates! Watch yourselves o'er this ____." 

Speeding up -- "Smartly, mates! This be not the time for slackin'!"

Stopping -- "Avast! There be a stop sign!" 

And if someone ignores ride etiquette -- "Release the Kraken." 

 

After the ride -- "Pass me the grog, mates, or be keelhauled." 

 

Photo: Arrrr, bikes!

 
 

Learn and Roll: Back to School 2016

Teachers, students, and parents are already in the swing of a new school year. How's it going so far? Is your bicycle rolling with you to class?

brain slide

Biking or walking to school gives your child (or you!) tremendous health and mental benefits. Childhood obesity is on the rise across the US, and regular physical activity can help protect your child: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children and adolescents.

In addition to getting kids active, studies have shown a link between children being active on their way to school and their ability to concentrate once they arrive. Doss Elementary School in Austin has noticed this firsthand: after just a few months of the school's bike program, teacher Amanda Swann said, "children who walk/ride to school are much better prepared to sit and learn and have gotten those ‘wiggles’ out on that trip to school instead of during school."

 

So, time to get everybody ready to roll!

Girls walking to school

1. Learn how to do the ABC Quick Check before every ride.

2. Make sure everyone in your family has a properly fitted helmet. (PDF download)

3. Get a refresher on the rules of the road with the Texas Bicycle Laws Activity Cards. (PDF download)

4. When's the last time you changed a flat tire? Find step-by-step instructions here. (PDF download)

5. Find more fun ways to learn about biking and walking on the BikeTexas Educational Resources page here.

6. Does your bike need a tuneup? Click here to check out the BikeTexas bike shop members in your area.

 

Want to plan a Bike/Walk to School Day for your school or community?

  1. bike lightsInternational Walk to School Day is October 5! Check out the interactive map on the Walk to School Day site to find an event near you or to register your event.
  2. Check out the Bike/Walk to School Day chapter in the BikeTexas Event Handbook for tips to make everything run smoothly. Start with the Team Leader Checklist (PDF download) to get you well on your way.
  3. Order activity books and lights from BikePedEd to make sure you have plenty of fun giveaway items on hand. Pass this info on to your school district, too, so that they have plenty of bike and walk safety items to hand out all year long.

 

Biking/Walking not a feasible option for your family?

Never fear: You are not forgotten! StreetsBlog LA shared excellent advice from Jim Shanman, the executive director of Walk n Rollers: "Instead of driving all the way to school, try parking 5 blocks away and walking the rest. Spending an extra 10 minutes with your kids and avoiding the drop off crush is an excellent – and rewarding – way to start your day." Read more of Jim's suggestions here.

You might also consider joining-- or starting-- a walking school bus or a bike train in your neighborhood. Parents take turns being the leaders, reducing each person's overall time commitment-- a valuable commodity for busy parents. Learn more: info about walking school buses here and info about bike trains here.

 

Above all, have a great school year, and happy riding!

 
 

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