ACTION UPDATE: We need all DFW-area cyclists to attend the Anna City Council public hearing on the bike ban on Tuesday, June 13 at 7:00 pm. Please RSVP to BikeDFW’s Event RSVP page as soon as possible. Please note that the meeting location has changed. It will now be held at Anna High School at 1201 N. Powell (Hwy 5) which is north of FM 455 on Hwy 5.
In fall 2005, it was brought to the attention of Texas Bicycle Coalition that two communities in north Texas had posted bicycle bans. The ban in Keller (Tarrant County) was temporary, due to construction on Keller-Smithfield Road, near FM 1709. Bike ban signs in Keller were removed once the construction was completed.
The bike ban in Anna (Collin County) on FM 455, however, remains posted despite requests to the City of Anna from local cyclists and Texas Bicycle Coalition that the city repeal the bike ban. Texas Bicycle Coalition is working with local bicycle advocates to resolve the bike ban issue.
In a disappointing and major reversal, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) lawyers have re-interpreted the Texas Attorney General’s 1989 opinion (Opinion No. JM-1109) to say it could imply that municipalities may ban bicycles on any roadway. The re-interpretation by TxDOT and the ambiguous wording of the Attorney General’s opinion make this particular bike ban a much more serious threat to Texas cycling.
A board member of the Plano Bicycle Association, Rusty Nail, addressed the Anna City Council at its May 9, 2006 meeting and informed the council of the opposition of area cyclists to the ban. As a result, the bike ban issue is scheduled to be discussed in a public hearing at the next Anna City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 7:00 pm in the Community Room of Texas Star Bank at 402 W. White St. in Anna.
Texas Bicycle Coalition, Plano Bicycle Association and BikeDFW are requesting all area cyclists to attend the meeting. A strong bicycling presence will help re-enforce opposition to the bike ban. Cyclists will not be expected to speak; just show your opposition with your presence!
The City of Anna has asked local cycling advocates for a count of expected attendees. If you can attend, please indicate so on BikeDFW’s Event RSVP page as soon as possible. The meeting location may be moved if the number of expected attendees exceeds the room capacity, so be sure to check the link again a day or two before the meeting.
Coalition volunteers have been making phone calls to cyclists in Anna to encourage their attendance at the June 13 public hearing. If you know any cyclists in the area—especially in the City of Anna—please ask them to attend this meeting. The City Council members will be most responsive to voters from their own town.
It is very important to Texas Bicycle Coalition’s board of directors, staff and members that bike bans such as the one in Anna are removed. Texas Bicycle Coalition, in cooperation with local cycling leaders from the Plano Bicycle Association and BikeDFW, has consulted with private attorneys and is considering legal action on behalf of Texas cyclists if Anna officials continue to refuse to repeal the bike ban.
Texas Bicycle Coalition staff is very discouraged by the TxDOT general counsel’s opinion that the transportation code is vague regarding bicycle bans by municipalities. Although, the Anna bike ban is on a state-maintained road, TxDOT is deferring to the local municipality.
According to TxDOT’s interpretation, the 1989 opinion (Opinion No. JM-1109) from the Attorney General of Texas determined that municipalities may have the authority to prohibit bicycles from operating on roadways within specific special circumstances including limited-access or controlled-access highways.
The Dallas Morning News published an article in late May about the Anna bike ban.
If you live in the Anna area, please attend the City Council meeting on June 13 to show your opposition to the bike ban. Texas Bicycle Coalition does not encourage cyclists outside of the Anna area to contact Anna City Council members at this point. Please stay tuned for further updates.