Sat, May 2510:00am -
1902 E 6th St, Austin, TX
FrankenBike at BikeTexas
Sun, May 26
Sine Die Ride
Fri, May 3110:00am -
1902 E 6th, Austin, TX
BikeTexas Volunteer Day
Sat, Jun 1 8:00am -
Market Square Park, Houston, TX
Bayou Bike Tour
Sat, Jun 111:00am -
1900 Main St, Dallas, TX
Dallas: Ride the Link
Free training to teach the SafeCyclist Curriculum
Resources for teachers and community members
Building recreational trails along Harris County electrical power line easements became easier last Thursday as Governor Perry signed into law HB 200 by Representative Jim Murphy (R-Houston). The bill, applying only to Harris County, better clarifies liabilities for utility companies so that they are more comfortable permitting trails in their easements. This bill will provide connectivity between the north-south utility corridors and the predominantly east-west bayou trail system, creating a more comprehensive grid of trails in Harris County.
Rep. Murphy had plenty of bipartisan company on the bill with fellow authors Reps. Senfronia Thompson, Wayne Smith, Garnet Coleman and Sarah Davis and co-authors Reps. Alma Allen, Carol Alvarado, Dwayne Bohac, Bill Callegari, John Davis, Gary Elkins, Jessica Farrar, Allen Fletcher, Patricia Harless, Dan Huberty, Eddie Lucio III, Boris Miles, Mary Ann Perez, Ron Reynolds, Debbie Riddle, Hubert Vo, Armando Walle, and Gene Wu. Is your representative on this list? Take a moment to send a thank-you email!
Other legislators expressed interest in the bill and future sessions will probably see measures introduced to expand to other parts of the state. A companion bill, Senate Bill 633 by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), was filed but not needed because of the momentum of HB 200 through the legislative process. HB 200 passed 144-0 in the House and 31-0 in the Senate.
Bike to Work Day is Friday and we couldn't be more excited. In addition to the communities who have already Biked to Work and back again, at least seven Texas cities are hosting Bike to Work events. We hope you are planning to participate!
Here at the BikeTexas office, we'll be hosting an afternoon Bike to Work station for folks to drop by on their way home. In the morning, we all plan to head over for the ribbon cutting on Austin's newest cycletrack on Barton Springs Road.
But the fun doesn't stop after Bike to Work Day! BikeTexas KidsKup at The Warda Race, our final race of the spring series, happens Saturday.
We'll round out our weekend on Sunday as sponsors of Viva Streets!, Austin's answer to the ciclovia. The route winds right past our door, so we'll have bike rentals, a bicycle course for the kids, and a chance to demo our new game, Jenny's Neighborhood! Stop by and see us before you head for home on Sunday.
The Safe Passing bill, HB 2225, failed to make it to the House floor before the midnight deadline on Thursday, May 9, for introducing bills originating in the House.
There was hope that Safe Passing would be heard on the floor when HB 2225 was voted out of Calendars committee on May 7, but the agenda was so backed up going into Thursday morning that lawmakers were still finishing up the Tuesday list. In each session, many bills are left behind at this deadline, and this session is no exception; we were certainly not the only ones disappointed on Friday morning. Complete Streets, HB 1102, was never voted out of the Transportation Committee and so it is also eliminated from consideration.
While chances are very low, BikeTexas staff will look for opportunities for Safe Passing to become an amendment on another bill. BikeTexas will continue to work at the Capitol for HB 63, Ban on Texting While Driving. Many thanks to all of you who answered the BikeTexas Action Alerts and contacted your representatives. Your efforts have gone a long way toward reminding your elected officials that their constituents care about Texas being a great state to bike and walk. Thank you for your support! Keep an eye out for any more updates in these last couple of weeks of the session.
On the Lege: Electric Bike Day
April 30th saw an electrifying event at the Capitol. Outside the south steps under our blue and yellow tents, BikeTexas staff and Central Texas electric bike vendors set up over a dozen different models for legislators and staff to take out for a spin around the historic building. After being fitted for helmets and oriented to the bikes, nearly fifty legislators and staff took the opportunity to get away from their desks and meetings to get a nice breeze on their face.
Electric bikes offer the user a combination of ease and pedaling opportunity for getting around town. BikeTexas has an electric model used by staff to get to the Capitol two miles away and uphill on warm days – all while wearing a suit!
Electric cyclists also drive the need for more bike lanes, more cycle tracks, and more sharing the road with motor vehicles. These bikes have a governor to limit speeds to 20 mph – this keeps them in the same legal category as bicycles per licensing requirements, with access to bike lanes and bikeways.
BikeTexas also offers a big thanks to Jeremy Leffingwell of Fallbrook Technologies, John Dawson of Rocket Electrics, Scott Morgan of Alien Scooters, and Steve Pierce of Bicycle Sport Shop for bringing their newest models to the event. Check them out along with other electric bike dealers in your neck of the woods. Even if an electric bike is not for you, it may be perfect for someone you know.
On the Lege: April Activities
The Texas Legislature is now entering crunch time: Saturday and Sunday floor sessions are being held as the end of the session (May 27) approaches.
HB 2225 (Safe Passing) has passed out of the House Transportation Committee on a 7-2 vote with two absent. It is now in the House Calendars Committee, where an affirmative vote is need to get it out onto the floor. Safe Passing was passed by both houses in 2009 but was vetoed by the Governor. It was not introduced in the 2011 legislative session.
HB 1102 (Complete Streets) remains in the House Transportation Committee. Last-minute questions from a member delayed Complete Streets when it was being brought up for a vote several weeks ago, and the bill has not been brought up for a vote since.
Neither of the companion bills, SB 1515 (Safe Passing) nor SB 565 (Complete Streets), have received a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee. Time is running out for both bills to proceed as stand-alone bills. Bills sometimes are attached as an amendment to other pertinent bills. BikeTexas staff continues to meet with legislative staff and is reviewing these opportunities.
HB 307, requiring cyclists to have red lights on the rear during nighttime, also remains in the House Calendar Committee. It has been placed on a list not to be brought up for a committee vote “at this time” and will most likely remain there.
HB 200, addressing risk and liabilities of utilities allowing trails to be built in their right-of-way in Harris County (Houston), has passed both the House and the Senate. Depending on the success of trails as a result of this bill, future bills covering other parts of the state may be introduced in future sessions. Building trails on the utility right-of-way will provide connections to the trail system being built on the Harris County bayous and allow greater connectivity for all trail users, including cyclists. This bill is now on the Governor's desk.
Two other bills supported by BikeTexas that address traffic safety have moved further in the session.
HB 63, banning texting while driving, passed through the House. It been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee, where it received a hearing. A vote is still pending in the committee. This bill passed both houses but was vetoed by the Governor in 2011.
SB 510 extends the “move-over” requirements, currently in place for public safety vehicles and tow trucks, to TxDOT service vehicles. This bill requires either a lane change or reduction of speed when encountering these vehicles on the roadside with emergency lights flashing. SB 510 passed through both houses and was signed by the Governor into law on May 2. It goes into effect on September 1, 2013.
Austin Bike Buddy
A new website is available to help Austin cyclists get around, but this one doesn't include the usual bike routes or repair station icons. Instead, Austin Bike Buddy is all about connecting new riders with experienced riders, to make the transition to bike commuting easier.
The website is easy to use, allowing anyone to sign up as a new or experienced bicycle commuter in just a couple of minutes. With an interactive map, users will be able to visually see where other cyclists are starting and ending their trips. The website also makes it easy to connect with other registered users in order to coordinate a ride together.
“Many Austin commuters are interested in cycling, but concerned about the safety of riding to work,” Council Member Chris Riley said. “We also have many experienced bike commuters who are ready to help others discover how safe and enjoyable riding to work can be. This website offers a bridge between those two groups, enabling anyone to feel more comfortable by riding in with an experienced commuter who can suggest good routes, address questions about equipment and clothing needed, and provide guidance about the rules of the road.”
We all know that meeting new people and developing a sense of community are two of the best parts of riding our bikes, and this website is designed to help forge those connections. But hurry-- the website is only live during Bike Month (May), so take advantage of this trial run while you can!
Open Streets and Bike Share in Texas
Texas is always packed full of exciting events for the whole family to enjoy getting outdoors. In the past few of months, a handful of Texas cities have worked extra-hard to make sure their residents have a chance to get outside and be active!
Brownsville's CycloBia, Lubbock's Let's Play! LBK, San Antonio's Síclovía, and Fort Worth's Open Streets have closed off city streets to traffic for a few hours so people could get out and enjoy their streets! All of these activities give city residents and visitors a chance to spend time with family and friends, be active, and enjoy the outdoors!
Bike sharing continues to expand in Texas. In addition to San Antonio B-cycle opening new stations earlier this year, Houston B-cycle celebrated a new partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield and expanded to 21 stations in the city. Houston celebrated this new launch on April 3rd, and has since reached another great milestone: 2,000,000 calories burned by Houston B-cycle users.
The newest member of the Texas Bike Share family, Fort Worth B-cycle, is also up and running. Fort Worth launched on April 22 with volunteers riding the 300 bikes to their new homes at 30 stations across Fort Worth. See photos from the launch event here.
All three of Texas' B-cycle programs are participating in the B-connected initiative from B-cycle, which allows members from any participating city to use their B-cycle membership in other participating cities. Fifteen B-cycle cities across the country have joined in, making the B-cycle membership even more valuable, especially for regular travelers.
Exciting things are happening in Texas every day to make this a great state to walk and bike! Check out the BikeTexas Events Calendar so you don't miss out on any events near you.
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