January 28, 2009
Talk to them about helmet laws

Last month, I noted that some police departments will be lobbying the Legislature to require motorcyclists to wear helmets, which would effectively repeal a law from 1997 that granted them the ride to ride bareheaded if they had sufficient insurance. I figured that wouldn't happen without a fight from the motorcycle enthusiasts, and sure enough, they've made their way to Austin this week to play defense on that issue, among other things. They also have their own legislation in mind.

Pegasus, a lifelong motorcyclist and vice president of the Texas Motorcycle Roadriders Association, said her organization came to discuss a bill concerning a driver's failure to yield the right of way to another vehicle. She, along with many other concerned bikers, said she believed the majority of motorcycle accidents occur when distracted drivers fail to yield the right of way to motorcycles.

Under Texas law, a driver who causes serious bodily injury or death to a victim is punishable by a maximum fine of $4,000 and 30 days or up to a year in jail.

"I'm tired of people killing motorcyclists and not being held responsible," Pegasus said. "That's bullshit. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility that needs to be upheld."

Pegasus endorsed higher penalties and prison sentences for anyone guilty of harming a biker by failing to yield the right of way.

"Cyclists have many rights that we don't have. Why? Because they lobbied," she said. "These people represent hundreds of people around the state. We're gonna get heard."

Now those will be hearings worth attending. Oh, and it's good to hear from Sputnik again, too. Good luck, y'all.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 28, 2009 to That's our Lege

Actually, I think that single vehicle accidents with motorcycles rank pretty high up there in fatalities (as they do with cars). The reality is, you don't really have to have driving skills to get a driver's license, or riding skills to get the motorcycle amendment; you pretty much have to be able to spend five minutes in a vehicle without killing yourself, and you're set loose to endanger yourself and everyone around you.

That said, the basic point is correct: there's nothing like a motorcycle ride to remind you how dangerously tuned out most drivers are.

I actually think a good penalty for anyone who causes an accident because of distraction would be to have to cross I-10 on foot. I think it would be a great lesson (if survived) in the importance of paying attention to what's around you when you drive.

Posted by: John on January 28, 2009 5:49 AM

SB 488 by Ellis will address all of their concerns !

Posted by: Peter Wang on January 28, 2009 7:12 AM
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