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We’re Not Done with you Perry

June 23, 2009

As many of you already know, Governor-Veto Perry vetoed the Safe Passing Senate Bill 488.  Bike Texas worked relentlessly this session to nurture this bill through numerous road blocks and Committee Hearings to ultimately get it passed  with no opposition.  All we needed was the Gov’s signature.  When word came out on Friday, that the Governor was going to veto the Bill we were  stunned, and outraged.  Veteran political journalists are baffled as to why Perry would veto a bipartisan Bill with no opposition, especially heading into a race with Kay Bailey that is predicted to be close.

Monday morning I walked to the Gov’s office and hand delivered an open records request.  We intend to find out who the Governor is working for,  because it clearly isn’t for the people of Texas.  The Governor’s office has 10 days to provide me with the information I requested: copies of all email, letters, logs of phone calls, and office visits regarding any objections and/or opposition to SB488,-the legislation recently approved by the Texas Lege by overwhelming margins; how many emails, and phone calls received in support of SB488, and how those were documented; and any information regarding concerns expressed regarding SB488 via email, phone, letter, or personal visit.

Media is standing by eager to solve what appears to be a mystery to everyone.  What Governor Perry didn’t realize was that the cycling community is united, organized, and angry.  We vote Governor Perry!

10,000 votes will determine the winner of the upcoming election.  We will make sure that our leaders realize that the cycling community is to be reckoned with.  Stay tuned for the results of our record request, and our next move.  Big mistake underestimating us Perry….BIG.  We’re not going away.

Leslie Luciano

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Christian permalink
    June 23, 2009 5:40 pm

    Good for you! I agree.

  2. Brooks permalink
    June 23, 2009 10:22 pm

    Very well put. Boooooo Perry!

  3. June 24, 2009 4:28 am

    I’ve contacted his office twice about the bad decision. keep us posted.

  4. Tucson Mom permalink
    June 24, 2009 3:14 pm

    Good job. I’ve been following this bill from 1,000 miles away and that veto sideswiped me! I was hopeful someone would step in to ask the questions I had — What was the margin when it passed through the legislature? Who was the organized opposition? I even posted on Road Rash, not knowing you were right there on Monday morning. Thanks for asking the questions that need to be asked.

  5. June 24, 2009 7:14 pm

    Many thanks for taking this on. Shame on the Texas Bicycle Coalition for getting sucker punched by a lightweight like this. They should have asked for his unambiguous commitment while it was still pending in the Legislature, and absent receiving it, should have immediately started carpet bombing his office with constituent mail.

    • June 24, 2009 7:24 pm

      Actually, Bike Texas stayed on top of this Bill throughout the session, saving it from many near misses. I was there with them in those hearings, and during the crunch time. They got a nod from the Gov’s office, and no indication whatsoever that there was any concern. This reeks “special interest(s)”, and I intend to find out who they are. Apparently I got their attention. Stay tuned. They have 8 more days to produce the records. Thank you for your support. Let’s keep the press on.

  6. June 27, 2009 4:57 pm

    I still cannot see why this law is necessary. Why shouldn’t our “advocates” be demanding the vigorous enforcement of present laws, which would have an immediate positive impact on cyclist’s safety, rather than lard up the transportation code with a bunch of redundancies?

    “Sec. 545.053. PASSING TO THE LEFT; RETURN; BEING PASSED.

    (a) An operator passing another vehicle:
    (1) shall pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance; and
    (2) may not move back to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the passed vehicle.”

    Gee, why is that not being enforced, and how would a three foot rule be any more enforceable?

    “Sec. 545.401. RECKLESS DRIVING; OFFENSE.

    (a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

    Why are there no prosecutions under this statute? When will the “bicycle advocates” that are so concerned with our well being press our DAs to enforce and prosecute this law? That would help us now, not in September 2010!

    “Sec. 545.103. SAFELY TURNING

    An operator may not turn the vehicle to enter a private road or driveway, otherwise turn the vehicle from a direct course, or move right or left on a roadway unless movement can be made safely.”

    How many right hook violations have been prosecuted under this statute? Why is the redundant wording needed in SB 488? Right hooks are already a crime!

    “Sec. 545.418. OPENING VEHICLE DOORS. A person may not:

    (1) open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic, unless the door may be opened in reasonable safety without interfering with the movement of other traffic.”

    Bicycles are vehicles, and thus traffic, so “dooring” is already a crime in Texas. More redundant language!

    “Sec. 545.060. DRIVING ON ROADWAY LANED FOR TRAFFIC.

    (a) An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
    (1) shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane.”

    Why can’t this statute be applied to motorists who buzz cyclists by straddling the lane?

    “Sec. 545.152. VEHICLE TURNING LEFT.

    To turn left at an intersection or into an alley or private road or driveway, an operator shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is in the intersection or in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard.”

    The passage of SB 488 would not have altered this statute in any meaningful way, and it would not have increased the likelihood of prosecutions.

    If a bike lane is present, SB 488 would have allowed overtaking traffic to pass any “vulnerable road user” that was in the bike lane without deviating from their line of travel. Trucks and buses could legally pass a bicyclist as close as the lane stripe. Ouch! That would make newbie bicyclists confident and enthused about their new cycling experience, wouldn’t it?

    Furthermore, SB 488 would have eroded the the legitimacy of the cyclist as an operator of a vehicle by codifying our classification with pedestrians. I cannot see how this would be good for the preservation of our liberties.

    I expect better advocacy from BikeTexas. When they say that SB 488 would make Texas safer for cycling, it makes me think they are lying to me. New laws won’t change anything- they are not enforcing present laws, why would we think new ones would be treated any different?

    I want my advocates to demand that current traffic laws be enforced vigorously. I want them to remind our police, our DAs, our judges and the public that violating the above laws is a crime! I want a real effort made to make current laws work before we go messing about with new ones. -Ones that have inevitable unintended consequences like how SB 488 would interact with bike lanes.

  7. June 28, 2009 5:59 pm

    Chip Seal,

    You have some very good points. You make several good points, and are knowledgeable about the
    history of the process. There would be far fewer accidents if cyclists behaved as motorists, but that doesn’t change that fact too many motorists buzz us when we are riding as vehicles.

    You fail to give any consideration to or mention of a bicycle traveling on a two lane road, where a motorist is required by statute to give only the admittedly ambiguous “practicable” passing room.

    That is exactly what the safe passing legislation was meant to
    address–making “practicable” a clearly defined 3 ft for a passenger
    vehicle or light truck, 6 ft for a larger vehicle.

    As for advocacy regarding current statues, it is absolutely being addressed. Our advocacy is mulit-dimensional where we work on the Federal, State level with Bike Texas, and on the local level, combining our efforts with the City Urban Planning Department, the City Council, the Street Smarts Task Force, Complete Streets, the Bicycle Advisory Council, the Austin Police Department, Neighborhood associations, and the Austin Cycling Association to name a few.

    If you would like any infomation regarding these efforts, please feel free to contact me: Leslie Luciano; leslie_l@bicyclesportshop.com I look forward to some good discourse. Thank you for your reply.

    l.

  8. John permalink
    July 14, 2009 9:22 pm

    Since the Gov Perry doesn’t care about humans on a bicycle I’ll just not care about Voting for him.

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