April 26, 2009
Senate passes Safe Passing bill

Via email from the CTC:

On Tuesday, the Texas Senate passed the Safe Passing bill on the third reading. Thanks to each of you who contacted your senator: you helped make it happen!

Before it passed, Senator Patrick proposed two changes which were adopted in the final version of the bill. First, the safe passing provision would only apply when weather conditions allow. Second, the Senate removed the penalties for harassing and taunting. CTC has concerns over both amendments.

The House version of the bill was passed unanimously by the Transportation committee, with two amendments. The first amendment limits the safe passing provision to wider roads. For example, if your car breaks down on a four-lane road, motorists would be required to pass you safely; but if you break down on a two-lane road, they may not be.

The second amendment removed the "right hook" provision, which would require a motorist making a right-hand turn to yield to a vulnerable user, such as a pedestrian, before turning. Given the prevalence of motorists turning right while looking left, this provision remains important, and we hope it comes back.

The House version has not yet gone to the floor. That means our legislators retain the opportunity to strengthen the bill prior to voting on it. We hope they will. If you agree, be sure to tell your state representative.

Please visit this CTC forum thread for legislative updates on the Safe Passing bill.

MTB Law Girl has more on the changes made to the House version of the bill. Assuming it passes as well, there will be a conference committee to work out the differences. As always, there's never a better time than now to contact your legislators and let them know how you feel about bills like this. BikeTexas has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 26, 2009 to That's our Lege
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