Harper-Brown vows to try again on Safe Passing bill

The bicyclists will not go away despite the setback on the Safe Passing bill.

A state legislator’s unsuccessful efforts to pass a “safe passing” bill for cyclists said Wednesday that an accident involving her granddaughter has renewed her interest in the issue.

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, sponsor of a bill to protect bicyclists, expressed relief Wednesday that her granddaughter and a friend suffered only minor injuries after getting hit by a SUV. Gov. Rick Perry recently vetoed legislation that Harper-Brown plans to push again next session to protect vulnerable road users.

“Now I can put a face to it,” Harper-Brown said about efforts to help raise awareness for the perils facing vulnerable road users. “It really does touch home now.”

Her granddaughter, Bethany Harper, 16, along with three friends and Bethany’s father, Timothy Harper, were cycling near Kaufman Tuesday evening when a motorist turned into two of the cyclists, whom the driver said she did not see, according to the state legislator.

Her granddaughter suffered cuts, bruises and contusions, and a friend had a shoulder separation, Harper-Brown said. Both of their bicycles were ruined.

“The first thing that went through my mind was, had this bill become law maybe people would be more aware and a little more careful when they are driving around bicyclists,” Harper-Brown said.

I’m very glad to hear that Bethany Harper and her friend are all right. One of the main rallying points for the Safe Passing bill was the statistic that about a thousand vulnerable road users are killed each year in Texas. I’m happy that Bethany Harper and her friend were not added to that tragic number. As it happens, I believe someone other than Linda Harper-Brown will represent HD105 next session, but regardless I believe that a version of this bill will come up again. Perhaps we’ll have a Governor who’ll sign it then, too

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One Response to Harper-Brown vows to try again on Safe Passing bill

  1. Trafficnerd says:

    I’m actually glad Perry veto’d the bill. Our transportation code is a mess, and needs cleaned up not further muddled with the stipulations of this bill. And as an engineer frequently on the side of the road, I actually was “covered” as a “vulnerable road user”.

    Of course if the bicyclists are going to use the 500+ motorcycle fatalities as part of their “vulnerable road user” death count of 1,000+ then they should start advocating for renewal of the helmet law. Lack of a helmet law in Texas leads to more fatalities than this bill would ever have dealt with.

    Many of the items in this bill were already codified in law and the transportation code didn’t need further muddled up with it IMHO. Permissive left turns always yield If the bill advocates had only done a safe passing act maybe it would have passed.

    From TxDOT –
    * There were 529 motorcyclists (operators and passengers) killed in 2008. 56% were not wearing helmets.
    * Pedestrian fatalities totaled 438 in 2008.
    * Pedalcyclist fatalities totaled 48 in 2008.

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