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After a successful Cyclists in Suits Bike Lobby Day on Monday, March 25, BikeTexas legislative staff members look to take the next steps on the two primary bills on the BikeTexas agenda, Complete Streets (HB 1102 / SB 565) and Safe Passing (HB 2225 / SB 1515). Each bill has been referred to the appropriate committee: House Transportation Committee and the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committees. We await committee hearing dates on each bill.
The Safe Passing Bill was filed on March 8, 2013. Senator Rodney Ellis filed the Senate version of the bill. The House bill is authored by Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio); Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco); Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving); and Jim Keffer (R-Eastland).
We last pursued a Safe Passing Bill in the 2009 session, but that bill was vetoed by the governor despite strong bipartisan support. The 2013 bill uses much of the same language as the 2009 bill and the thirteen local ordinances in cities across Texas, but we have taken measures to address the Governor’s concern about “creating a new class of road users.” BikeTexas believes changing the language from “Vulnerable Road Users” to unprotected road users (uncapitalized and without quotes) will help the Governor view the bill as an appropriate and necessary addition to the traffic safety culture in Texas.
BikeTexas staff has developed information sheets focused on the economic value and safety impact of the Complete Streets law. Staff has visited with all offices of legislative members on the transportation committees. Support is promising but not complete at this point. If your representative or senator is on the transportation committee, please be watching for an Action Alert in your inbox soon. We will need your help to get Complete Streets over this hurdle and on to the next step in the process.
Working on legislation is always an uphill battle and 2013 is no different. BikeTexas staff faces real challenges, some familiar and some new. In spite of this, there are a number of possible avenues to success. Here are some of the things in favor of bicyclists and pedestrians in the legislature:
However, the challenges are not small:
The bill authors have requested committee hearings on Complete Streets and Safe Passing. BikeTexas is optimistic about the prospects these bills. Thank you for supporting BikeTexas as we strive to make Texas a great place to walk and bike.