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Thursday, June 15 2006
Cyclists’ Appeals Fall on Deaf Ears
On Tuesday, June 13, 2006, cyclists filled the room at the Anna City Council public hearing about the bike ban on FM 455 in Collin County, north of Dallas. The Herald Democrat newspaper estimated that almost 100 cyclists gathered for the hearing.
Speaking on behalf of the cycling community were representatives from BikeDFW, Plano Bicycle Association, Texas Bicycle Coalition and two citizens from Anna who oppose the bike ban. The cyclists and speakers were polite and respectful throughout the meeting.
The speakers offered to work with the City of Anna to plan safe accommodations to all road users. Recommendations from the cycling community to improve the safety of the existing roadway included road markings and signage.
Speakers talked about the importance of bicycling as a physical activity and the need for our communities to help prevent the alarming rise of obesity. Cyclists also spoke of the importance of respecting the freedom for Texans to choose for themselves whether it is safe enough to ride on a road.
Ninety-five percent of the citizens in the packed room at Anna High School were there in support of removing the bike ban on FM 455. Only one Anna resident spoke in support of maintaining the bike ban. Two consultants hired by the City of Anna also spoke in support of continuing the bike ban.
The pleas of cyclists fell on deaf ears. With no discussion and no questions asked of the speakers, the Anna City Council passed a motion to stiffen the existing bike ban ordinance. The motion language increased the fine to $200. The Council also chose to add the penalty of impounding the bicycles of offenders. The motion did remove a requirement that bicycles be registered with the City.
The Council also added the word ‘temporary’ to the bike ban ordinance with no explanation or discussion. The duration of temporary was not defined. Texas Bicycle Coalition discussions with engineers at the Texas Department of Transportation indicate that it will be a minimum of five years before the roadway in question can be widened.
We need your help!
Texas Bicycle Coalition, BikeDFW and Plano Bicycle Association are asking Texas cyclists to write respectful letters addressed to Anna Mayor Kenneth Pelham requesting the City of Anna repeal the bike ban ordinance.
The Honorable Kenneth L. Pelham
City of Anna
P.O. Box 776
Anna , Texas 75409
If allowed to continue, this bike ban could threaten bicycle access in other Texas communities. It is imperative that we win the battle to overturn the Anna bike ban.
Please remember, you can help in several ways:
1) Write a respectful letter to the Mayor of Anna;
2) Join BikeTexas as a member to support our advocacy efforts; and
3) Continue to support your local club, and if you’re in north Texas, join BikeDFW, the new north Texas bicycle advocacy group.
After the Council’s action, cyclists expressed a clear resolve to continue the campaign to overturn the Anna bike ban.
“We’ve received generous offers of support from a number of law firms,” said Robin Stallings, executive director of Texas Bicycle Coalition. “Law clerks have been assigned to research the common law related to bicycle bans in preparation for any potential future legal actions. Considering what the Anna City Council did tonight, we can no longer rule out legal action.”
Several cyclists said they intend to ride FM 455 until cited to provide the basis for a legal test of the ordinance. A cyclist spoke up and said that if they are ticketed while riding their bike on FM 455 that they will be respectful of the police officer and accept the ticket calmly to avoid any potential complications. Texas Bicycle Coalition does not condone, nor does it encourage, breaking the law.
“BikeDFW will form a committee to focus on the Anna bike ban here in the Dallas area and work closely with Texas Bicycle Coalition,” according to Michelle Holcomb of BikeDFW.
Holcomb announced that the committee will be chaired by Gail Spann, former chair of Texas Bicycle Coalition and a member of numerous bicycle organizations. Members of other DFW bicycle clubs and related organizations will be asked to join the committee. Visit BikeDFW to learn more about the committee.
Rusty Nail, speaking on behalf of Plano Bicycle Association, pledged to continue working with Texas Bicycle Coalition and BikeDFW until the Anna bike ban is overturned. Nail said, “This issue is bigger than any one of us. If the cycling community continues to work together, we will succeed.”
Several thousand north Texas cyclists were represented by attendees from the following bicycle clubs, organizations and shops:
Carrollton Cycling Club
Dallas Area Off Road Bicycle Association
Fort Worth Bicycling Association
Greater Dallas Bicyclists
Mirage Cycling Team
Plano Athletic Cycling Club
Plano Bicycle Association
Plano Cycling & Fitness
Red River Velo Club
Ride of Silence
Texas Bicycle Association
Read More about the Anna Bike Ban...