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As of 4/29/09
SB 488 – Authored by Ellis & Carona
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to the operation of a motor vehicle in the vicinity of a vulnerable road user; providing penalties.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter I, Chapter 545, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Section 545.428 to read as follows:
Sec. 545.428. VULNERABLE ROAD USERS. (a) In this section, “vulnerable road user” means:
(1) a pedestrian, including a runner, physically disabled person, child, skater, highway construction and maintenance worker, tow truck operator, utility worker, other worker with legitimate business in or near the road or right-of-way, or stranded motorist or passenger;
(2) a person on horseback;
(3) a person operating equipment other than a motor vehicle, including a bicycle, handcycle, horse-driven conveyance, or unprotected farm equipment; or
(4) a person operating a motorcycle, moped, motor-driven cycle, or motor-assisted scooter.
(b) An operator of a motor vehicle passing a vulnerable road user operating on a highway or street shall:
(1) vacate the lane in which the vulnerable road user is located if the highway has two or more marked lanes running in the same direction; or
(2) pass the vulnerable road user at a safe distance.
(c) For the purposes of Subsection (b)(2), when road conditions allow, safe distance is at least:
(1) three feet if the operator’s vehicle is a passenger car or light truck; or
(2) six feet if the operator’s vehicle is a truck other than a light truck or a commercial motor vehicle as defined by Section 522.003.
(d) An operator of a motor vehicle that is making a left turn at an intersection, including an intersection with an alley or private road or driveway, shall yield the right-of-way to a vulnerable road user who is approaching from the opposite direction and is in the intersection or in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard.
(e) An operator of a motor vehicle may not overtake a vulnerable road user traveling in the same direction and subsequently make a right-hand turn in front of the vulnerable road user unless the operator is safely clear of the vulnerable road user, taking into account the speed at which the vulnerable road user is traveling and the braking requirements of the vehicle making the right-hand turn.
(f) An operator of a motor vehicle may not maneuver the vehicle in a manner that:
(1) is intended to cause intimidation or harassment to a vulnerable road user; or
(2) threatens a vulnerable road user.
(g) An operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any vulnerable road user on a roadway or in an intersection of roadways.
(h) A violation of this section is punishable under Section 542.401 except that:
(1) if the violation results in property damage, the violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not to exceed $500; or
(2) if the violation results in bodily injury, the violation is a Class B misdemeanor.
(i) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that at the time of the offense the vulnerable road user was acting in violation of the law.
(j) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.
Section 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.