HB 1790 passed the House Transportation Committee and will go to the Calendar Committee to be added to the House Calendar for a floor vote. We will be sending out further action alerts to contact your State Representative for their support of HB 1790.
The Senate companion bill, SB 248, authored by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), and co-sponsored by Senators John Carona (R-Dallas) and Senator Liticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and Kirk Watson (D-Austin) remains stuck on the Senate floor. Having passed the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee 6-0, only 16 Senators have confirmed their position on the bil. 12 Senators have not confirmed their positions either yes or no to the scores of consituents who have called.
Concerned cyclists are encouraged to call their Senators and ask their position on SB 248 if they have not called yet. Unconfirmed Senators are:
Senate District 1: Senator Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler)
Senate District 5: Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan)
Senate District 7: Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston)
Senate District 8: Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano)
Senate District 11: Senator Mike Jackson (R- Pasadena)
Senate District 12: Senator Jane Nelson (R-Grapevine)
Senate District 17: Senator Kyle Janek (R-Houston)
Senate District 18: Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy)
Senate District 19: Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio)
Senate District 22: Senator Kip Averitt (R-Waco)
Senate District 24: Senator Troy Fraser (R-Abilene)
Senate District 30: Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls)
Senate District 31: Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo)
Senate District 15: Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston)
Senate District 20: Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D- McAllen)
If your State Senator is on this list, it is not too late!! Call or write them to gain their support of SB 248 for Cyclists!
HB 1790, Safe Passing bill was left pending in the Transportation Committee.
Montgomery County District Attorney Mike McDougal and Texas Bicycle Coalition Executive Director testified Tuesday evening April 3rd at the House Transportation Committee on HB 1790, authored by State Representative Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving). After the bill was “laid out” by Transportation Committee member Harper-Brown, the Committee Chair began reading card after card in support of HB 1790.
At the end of the 14-hour legislative day that included an 8-hour recess of the Transportation Committee, McDougal spoke to the benefit of the safe Passing bill as a tool for prosecutors to use to bolsster aggravated assault charges when a motorist intentionally runs down a cyclist.
Robin Stallings, Executive Director of the Texas Bicycle Coalition, pointed out that the current ambiguity in the Texas Transportation Code is a disservice to both cyclists and motorists. When a motorist unintentionally kills a cyclist by passing too closely, both lives are affected.
Harper-Brown and those testifying fielded tough questions from committee members. HB 1790 was left pending for one or two weeks as is common practice in Charman Mike Krusee’s (R-Round Rock) committee.
If you are not sure who your state Senator is, follow this link: http://www.fyi.legi s.state.tx.us/ and enter your address to find out who represents you.
You can write your Senator via e-mail using the simple formula: firstname.lastname@example.org Please copy Texas Bicycle Coalition on any written correspondence you send to your Senator.
SB248: The Safe Passing Bill
The Safe Passing Bill would require a motorist to give at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist and would require a commercial vehicle to give at least six feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist.
Approximately 50 cyclists per year are killed in bicycle-automobile crashes in Texas. About 40% of those are killed by motorists traveling in the same direction. Most of those 20 deaths per year could be prevented if this law were enacted and obeyed by motorists.
The Safe Passing Law, modeled on the Move Over Act (for emergency vehicles) which passed in the 2003 Texas legislative session, simplifies the punishment issues and provides a clear framework for identifying the obligations of a passing motorist to either move over or slow down when passing a cyclist. With this law, the vision of “Share the Road” can be fully realized.
Your letters and voice count! Every letter that gets sent to State Senators and Representatives in support of legislation for cycling is taken into account when making decisions for passing laws. Thank you for your continued support of SB248. We will continue to keep members and interested cyclists aware of legislation that will affect cycling in Texas; however, it is expensive to pass this vital legislation. Your membership and donations are important to us and help keep cyclists on the roads and safe in Texas. Consider joining or donating now!