BikeTexas will promote the proposed Complete Streets Act (SB 513, HB 1105) as the lead biking/walking effort for the 2011 Texas Legislative Session. We will postpone pushing for a statewide Safe Passing bill, probably until the 2013 legislative session.
After consulting with Texas legislators, the Governor’s office, lobbyists and BikeTexas members, we have determined that we could lose much of the broad House and Senate support that we painstakingly built for the bill during the 2009 session. We do not think we have the votes to override a near-certain governor’s veto and the contentious fight could damage the rest of our legislative agenda. However, BikeTexas sees two ongoing positive developments that we believe will lead in time to a statewide safe passing act.
First, initial response by legislators as well as the Governor’s office to the proposed Complete Streets Act is very encouraging. We believe working with legislators and the Governor on the Complete Streets Act in a positive manner will strengthen our relationships with and further educate these leaders for the next safe passing effort.
Second, we will continue to work with Texas cities to pass local safe passing ordinances. Edinburg now joins Beaumont, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Helotes, and Austin as Texas cities with local safe passing ordinances modeled after the state bill language. Several other cities have safe passing ordinances “in the pipeline.” Please contact BikeTexas if you are interested in an ordinance for your city, no matter how large or small.
In spite of this disappointment, BikeTexas is encouraged by the overall progress toward making cycling and walking mainstream and supported activities in Texas communities. We have learned to look long-term, and we believe there will be a statewide Safe Passing act in Texas. Our thanks to BikeTexas members for your efforts and support in this endeavor.