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Safe Passing and the 2009 Legislative Session
Dear fellow cyclists,
BikeTexas continues to work for “bicycle access, safety and education”, as we have for 17 years, with your support and hard work from scores of board members, volunteers and staff.
The board and staff of BikeTexas hope you’ve had a fine year, with many trouble-free miles on your bicycles. May all your holiday wishes come true.
Many of you are aware that the Texas legislative session begins in January. Our first of two priority legislative goals is the passage of a new and improved Safe Passing Bill.
Sadly, approximately 50 cyclists, 400 pedestrians and 500 motorcyclists are killed every year in Texas. Many of those fatalities can be prevented in the future by legislative action on a new Safe Passing bill in 2009.
A significant change anticipated in the new Safe Passing Bill will broaden the benefits beyond the cycling community to “vulnerable road users” such as pedestrians, motorcyclists, cyclists, equestrians, farmers on tractors, and maintenance workers.
In addition to requiring more than three feet passing distance when a motorist passes a vulnerable road user, it will include penalties for throwing projectiles, “dooring“, the “right hook” (turning dangerously in front of a vulnerable road user), and more.
The second legislative goal is “Two Cents for Texas Trails“. Many beginner, intermediate and veteran cyclists would ride more often if a great network of hike and bike trails were available. Over $4 billion of pathways are planned but not funded in Texas. A fair and sensible funding source is a voter-approved, two cent gas tax increase, established as a constitutional amendment, dedicating the resulting $200 million per year to hike and bike paths for transportation and recreation. A key provision will require the funds to be spent in the community in which the two cent gas tax was paid.
After the bills are filed we will send an announcement to subscribers of our free e-newsletter. In addition to our top priority bills, BikeTexas will be vigilant at the Legislature for more opportunities to improve cycling conditions and to stop any threats that make it more difficult or less safe to ride a bike in the great state of Texas.
Please keep BikeTexas in mind as you plan your year-end giving. Donations to the BikeTexas Education Fund are tax-deductible; memberships and donations to the BikeTexas Legislative Warchest are not tax-deductible. Please consider purchasing a BikeTexas membership for your favorite cyclist beginning at $5 per month.