Safe Passing

June 23rd, 2009

The Governor of Texas has spoken, there will be no “Safe Passing” legislation becoming law this Fall. For the third consecutive legislative session, special interest groups led by the Texas Bicycle Coalition have attempted to pass Bills intended to augment existing statutes in order to provide unique protections to cyclists operating on the roadway. In many ways more egregious than past attempts, Bills introduced this session sought to include various pedestrian groups among legitimate road users in an effort to garner support among otherwise indifferent legislators.

Many competent vehicular cyclists have been against the perceived need for special legislation specific to cyclists from the beginning. Those who favor Bills like this are almost without exception those who either lack the knowledge and experience to operate as competent vehicle operators on the road or represent organizations who, through their failure to convince the first group of the need for vehicular training, resort instead to placating the whims of the timid.

History

The first attempt to pass “Safe Passing” legislation in Texas took place in 2005. Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston.13) submitted SB-859, with Deuell and Shapleigh as co-authors. It constituted a revision to Chapter 545 wherein a new sub-section, 0535, would define the “safe distance” for passing a cyclist on the roadway and ascribing penalties for violation. It died in committee when, upon second reading, Ellis called to suspend regular order to consider the Bill. The motion failed the required two-thirds vote and was killed.

Another attempt to quantify a “Safe Passing” distance as applicable to cyclists, uniquely, took place two years later, in 2007. Again, it was Senator Ellis who submitted SB-248; he was joined as co-authors by Senators Carona, Lucio, Van de Putte and Watson, with Representative Linda Harper-Brown as House sponsor. Initially, the language was essentially identical to that of the attempt in 2005.

On the fifty-seventh day (20070508) of the session, upon second reading of the Bill, Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston.07) offered two ammendments. The first would have essentially limited the scope of the statute to highways by removing the word “street” (failed); the second would have mandated the use of a mirror by the bicyclist (failed). Upon failure of these proposals, Senator Kim Brimer (R-Fort Worth.10) proposed a third amendment which would have added the statement “or was operating on a public road that does not have a paved shoulder” to §551.104(b)(2) (passed), effectively strengthening the MBL/MSL rule.

The legislation returned for consideration and a third reading on the fifty-eighth day (20070509) of the session. Once again, Senator Patrick proposed an amendment. This one would have completely removed language in §551.104(b)(2)(A) allowing a red reflector visible to the rear of a bike to a distance of 50-300 feet and mandated the use of a red lamp visible to 500 feet. It passed overwhelmingly.

Ultimately, the proposed legislation died while awaiting placement on the General Calendar.

Present

Following that brief history, we arrive at the 81st Legislative Session (2009). The story begins in the House, this time. Representative Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving.105) filed the draft of HB-273 on 17 November 2008. It is somewhat interesting to note that a Republican lawmaker initiated the legislation this time. Her version contained almost identical language to that submitted in 2005 and 2007. It was read for the first time on 17 February 2009, where it was referred to the House Transportation Committee …never to be heard from again.

On the same day, in the Senate, Senators Ellis and John Carona (R-Dallas.16) were joint authors of a Bill, SB-488, which greatly expanded the scope of road users affected by the legislation and ascribed all beneficiaries the moniker “vulnerable road users”. In addition to cyclists essentially all Slow Moving Vehicles (SMV) recognized by the state, including farm implements, equestrian riders and vehicles pulled by equines, were included. Most amazingly was the practice of naming facultative pedestrian road users as legitimate design users. The latter to include “runner, physically disabled person, child, skater, highway construction and maintenance worker, utility worker, other worker with legitimate business in or near the road or right of way” as well as a “stranded motorist or passenger.” Personal discussions with a member of DORBA who resides in District 105 and a member of the legal team of the Texas Bicycle Coalition revealed the reason behind the inclusion of these various personages was to garner sympathy from fence-sitting Legislators in order to push the Bill through the Legislature. Within days (20090223), Harper-Brown had resubmitted her Bill as HB-827 containing language identical to that of the Senate version. This time around, there were companion versions in both the House and the Senate.

The Senate version of the Bill made good progress through its Transportation Committee with few proposed amendments. As he had done in the past, Senator Patrick sought to change the language of the legislation. Most of the latter were minor clerical revisions except for the demand that dooring and harassment subsections be removed.

(h)  A person may not open the door on the side of a vehicle that is adjacent to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to open the door without interfering with the movement of traffic, including vulnerable road users. A person may not leave a door open on the side of a vehicle that is adjacent to moving traffic for a period longer than necessary to load or unload passengers or goods.
(i)  A person may not harass, taunt, or throw an object or liquid at or in the direction of any vulnerable road user.

Additional amendments were offered in the House Transportation Committee, which were more egregious. The first added several classes, “a tow truck operator and a person operating a handcycle, moped, motor-driven cycle, or motor-assisted scooter” and removed the inclusion of motorcycles. Had this action prevailed “vulnerable road users” as a class would be limited to Slow Moving Vehicles, skaters and pedestrians. Perhaps more troubling was a proposal to require “a pedestrian or a person operating certain cycles, a moped, or a motor-assisted scooter, from operating more than three feet from the right edge line of pavement on a highway or street.”

Thankfully, save the inclusion of tow truck operators, none of these recommended changes survived the committee.

Final Language

Despite counsel by competent vehicular cyclists throughout the process, the the Legislators persevered with their efforts and the Bill eventually made it through both branches of the legislature. The following constitutes the final language of the proposed legislation.

AN ACT
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.

Details

The fact that almost all of the details of this legislation are repetitious seems not to have any bearing on the discussion. Proponents insist revision to the statute is a must in order to provide safety to cyclists. These individuals ignore the most important means of promoting vehicular cycling – education. Existing law is more than adequate to satisfy any perceived deficiencies the proposed legislation sought to fill.

In an earlier discussion, I shared the authority under which we, as cyclists, receive recognition as legitimate vehicles under the Texas Transportation Code. Section 545.051 defines the rule by which slower moving traffic is to stay right and §545.053 stipulates that overtaking vehicles are to do so on the left. Sub-section 545.053(a)(1) mentions only that the overtaking vehicle is to do so at “a safe distance”. Admittedly, this statement is ambiguous. Even so, the concept is unquestioned. Rather than create an entire statute defining a safe and acceptable distance applicable only to “vulnerable road users”, it would seem more logical to define this distance as applicable to all vehicles under the existing statute. After all bicycles are legitimate vehicles under state law.

While the details of the next concept will await a future dialogue, treatment of the real issue bears identification. Almost all road users and law enforcement officers have a disturbing misunderstanding of §551.103. They begin reading that section and see the phrase “a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway” and stop. Many confuse “practicable” with “practical” or, worse yet, “possible”. More germane to this discussion is their failure to appreciate an important disclaimer: “unless . . . the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is . . . less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane.”

Believe it or not, almost all outside lanes in North Texas are under fourteen feet in width, That being the case, on almost all roads a cyclist is within their rights to take control of the entire lane (i.e. to ride to the left of center). When this alignment is adopted, there is created a natural buffer zone of at least three feet between the cyclist and other vehicles overtaking and passing them on the left. Since the whole point of this legislation is to create a three foot zone of comfort, the tools and legal definitions providing that buffer already exist.

Reason

Though it seemed like folly to pursue, several of us contacted the Governor’s office imploring him to consider a veto of SB-488. It seemed like a long shot, but was worth the effort in the end. On the afternoon of 19 June, Twitter, the blog’sphere and eMail accounts were all a buzz. Word had been disseminated that the Governor was close to a veto of the proposed legislation. Final confirmation came late in the afternoon, when the following statement was released.

Gov. Perry Vetoes SB 488
June 19, 2009

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto Senate Bill No. 488 of the 81st Texas Legislature, Regular Session, due to the following objections:

Senate Bill No. 488 would create a new class of users of roadways, called “vulnerable road users,” which would require specific actions by operators of motor vehicles. These vulnerable road users would include pedestrians; highway construction and maintenance workers; tow truck operators; stranded motorists or passengers; people on horseback; bicyclists; motorcyclists; moped riders; and other similar road users.

Many road users placed into the category of vulnerable road users already have operation regulations and restrictions in statute. For example, a person operating a vehicle being drawn by an animal is subject to the same duties as a motor vehicle, and a pedestrian is required to yield the right of way to a motor vehicle, unless he or she is at an intersection or crosswalk.

While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users. In addition, an operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she is at fault for causing a collision or operating recklessly, whether it is against a “vulnerable user” or not.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this the 19th day of June, 2009.

RICK PERRY
Governor of Texas

ATTESTED BY:
COBY SHORTER, III
Deputy Secretary of State

For a detailed view of this bill, visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=SB488.

Much of this language is akin to what many of us were trying to convey to the lawmakers in the House and Senate all along. It is somewhat gratifying to find one government official willing to consider reason. Almost immediately less competent cyclists began criticizing the Governor and others of us who have been heralding a call to reason from the beginning. One woman, in fact, has submitted a FOIA request for all correspondence Perry considered before arriving at his decision. It has been posited that the Austin Police Department is behind the decision. I have a feeling she and others will be surprised at the results.

Reality

This legislation was ridiculous from the beginning. In states like Florida and Oklahoma, where laws like this are already on the books, there have been absolutely no prosecutions. Colorado lawmakers passed a version earlier this year and the backlash was almost immediate.

As mentioned above, a competent, experienced vehicular cyclist creates their own rolling buffer zone as they travel down the roadway. Validity of this concept does not originate with me. It has been proven through application by many cyclists. Cycle*Dallas and CommuteOrlando have excellent commentary with robust threads discussing this topic. Groups who consider themselves advocates for transportation cyclisting betetr serve their constituents by directing their efforts, not at specious legislative measures, but toward education programs aimed at inexperienced bicycle commuters and utility cyclists. Most or the problem centers around the irrational fear that motorists are a danger to bicycle operators. In actuality, ignorant cyclists are their own worst enemy.

10 Responses to “Safe Passing”

  1. Steve A says:

    I’d never noticed that the vulnerable users don’t seem to include “electric personal assistive mobility devices” as defined in 551.201. Better know as Segways.

    I think it a misnomer to characterize cyclists advocating the bill as “less competent.” Myself, I’ve noticed no correlation between political views and cycling competence. “Misguided,” maybe. “Self destructive,” maybe. Even “irrational” might work. But not “less competent.”

  2. Herman says:

    It is often said that people are unable to recognize their own shortcomings. You are not the first to claim that support for SB488 and other “Safe Passing” legislation does not reflect less competency than more experienced and knowledgeable cyclists may exhibit. This argument simply does not hold water.

    As I explain in the last paragraph, the perception of peril perceived by those who support these laws is directly proportional to the distance the cyclist positions themselves from the curb face or edge of the roadway. Those who ride in the right third of the roadway are all but inviting motorists to share the lane with them. Many will gladly oblige. Since the lane will likely be less than fourteen feet in width, the space separating the cyclist and the motorist will be less than three feet.

    Slightly more experienced cyclists or those suffering from an irrational concern for impeding motorists on multi-lane roads may ride a bit more toward the center of the lane. Even so, if the lane is less than fourteen feet in width, the motorist will, more often than not, attempt to straddle the outside lane rather than completely change lanes to pass. In so doing, a situation is created wherein the motorist has to juggle not hitting the cyclist with not hitting another vehicle to the left.

    It is only when the vehicular cyclist takes full control of the lane that they largely eliminate any potential for insufficient clearance during an overtaking maneuver. This is because, in almost all instances, the motorist will be forced to completely change lanes to pass. When doing so, there will be a buffer of three feet or more between the cyclist and the motorist. Ergo, no need for a law specifying the passing distance.

    Competency is defined as possessing requisite ability without superfluity. A perceived need for a law codifying a passing distance exceeds necessity. If one has knowledge of rights and responsibilities conveyed by the law and puts those principles into practice, a natural passing buffer is created. Tying all of these facts together does, in fact, suggest that it is not “a misnomer to characterize cyclists advocating the bill as ‘less competent.'”

  3. geoffreygee says:

    Hmmmm … seems to me that your own cognitive biases are surfacing as well. For instance, how do you support the assertion, “… the perception of peril perceived by those who support these laws is directly proportional to the distance the cyclist positions themselves from the curb face or edge of the roadway”? Unless there is some data set tucked away in Texas someplace, my guess that it is your own biased anecdotal observations are the root of this conjecture.

    Of course, we all have our biased anecdotal observations and we all tend to believe that our own biased anecdotal observations and theories are less stinky than others. However, for a better understanding of how the world works, scientific reasoning needs to be based on real data that effectively addresses the questions at hand. Many of these statements — the explicit and implied comparisons of risk , for instance — have poor scientific grounding in the literature. That is, other than some obvious points about cycling like counter-flow cycling, our estimates of risk are quite bad. Discussing these conclusions without more caveats is misleading, IMO.

    In the end, in my opinion as a VC, describing “non-believers” as “timid” is foolish and counterproductive. By my judgement and personal observations, they are just more skeptical than the people who drank the Kool-Aid first and made a judgment based on the evidence before them.

  4. You make several good points, and seem very 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. Some drivers seem to not realize that bicycles are a VALID FORM of TRANSPORTATION, with rights to the road.

    Adding other “vulnerable road users” was an acknowledgment that not just cyclists are victimized by vehicles that drive to close when passing, but also tow truck operators, pedestrians (one example: when their vehicle is stranded—yes, they are on a roadway), equestrians, etc.

    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.

    If you truly believe that the current statutes are being enforced, talk to the prosecutors who helped write SB488 so that they would in fact have the teeth they currently do not have for prosecution.

    Making cycling safer is a good thing.

  5. Herman says:

    A valid point, Geoffrey. It is correct that my belief that “the perception of peril perceived by those who support these laws is directly proportional to the distance the cyclist positions themselves from the curb face or edge of the roadway” is largely based upon anecdotal observation. For many years, I rode near to, but nevertheless to the right of the center of the outside travel lane. At 30km, each way, my commute is a bit longer than the average. Almost invariably, at least one or two (sometimes upwards of half a dozen) passing motorists would attempt to overtake me in the same lane – often leaving less than half a meter between us. Since adopting a standard travel alignment in the left third of the outside lane, the number of motorists even attempting to share the lane has dropped to near zero.

    In addition, I would often experience several instances of harassment per week when traveling further to the right. These events have also been reduced significantly; not zero, but, on average, maybe only once or twice per month.

    Were it me alone who has come to these conclusions, you are very much correct, it would be little more than an anecdotal anomaly. However, that is not the case. The authors and contributers of Cycle*Dallas and Commute Orlando as well as the denizens of the ChainGuard ML have all experienced similar results. Operating in a vehicular manner by controlling the lane through proper positioning greatly reduces conflict, harassment and the potential danger of collision when overtaking motorists pass too closely. By extension the three foot zone of safety legislation like this codifies occurs naturally.

    It is true that we, as a culture, are prone to biased anecdotal observations. There is really no escape from that fact. Our everyday existence is shaped by the sum total of our past experiences. Problems result when we do not embrace pursuit of the experience for ourselves, but instead become influenced by the biased anecdotes of others as a surrogate.

    Though I have ever really been a timid cyclist (no, I do not believe that label is either foolish or counterproductive), my technique has evolved over the course of the last two decades. Through the adoption of a more assertive position on the roadway, I have garnered greater respect and acceptance by the average motorist. “Advocates” who call for special facilities and pandering legislation to “protect” transportation cyclists are, IMO, shirking their responsibility toward their constituents. Efforts ought to be directed at educating novice and inexperienced cyclists on proper vehicular technique. It is an uphill battle; many do not recognize a need for such instruction. Nevertheless, that should be the focus. Catering to their fears through facilities and superfluous statutory protections is ridiculous.

  6. Herman says:

    Thanks for the comments, Leslie. I am afraid I disagree with your contention that “[t]here 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.” Perhaps we have differing definitions of what it means to operate in a vehicular manner. If one is riding in the inside third of the outside lane, there is very little space available in which to be buzzed.

    The key term with respect to your next comment is some. It is true that “[s]ome drivers seem to not realize that bicycles are a VALID FORM of TRANSPORTATION, with rights to the road.” The response to that minority is not to add redundancy to the Transportation Code. The statutes to penalize these individuals already exists. It is enforcement and degree which are missing; part of that of that is the result of too many and too stringent laws.

    “Adding other “vulnerable road users” was an acknowledgment that not just cyclists are victimized…”

    That may be your perception, but, as I mentioned above, that is not the reasoning I was given by a local proponent and an attorney closely aligned with the language draft. The inclusion of the other “vulnerable” road users was simply a plow to broaden the scope in order to make it more palatable to lawmakers who otherwise would not have voted for the Bill.

    I fail to give consideration to or mention of cyclists traveling on two-lane roads, because, for the most part, such roads in urban areas are well in excess of fourteen feet in with. Given that the average motor vehicle is between six and seven feet in with, there is ample room for both to share the lane. Also, two-lane roads are predominately residential and have speed limits which reduces the anxiety of both motorist and cyclist.

    There are exceptions, of course. Excluding recreational and club cyclists (two classes which rarely operate legally), there are a few cyclists who regularly make use of two-laned byways. Those which immediately come to mind are Farm to Markets with no shoulder. However, these scenarios are relatively few and, technically, the onus is on the cyclist to accommodate the motorist. Besides, this legislation would have made the ability to pass a cyclist on such roads all but impossible for semis and other large commercial vehicles. To allow a six foot buffer would have put the left wheels of the truck off the pavement on the opposite side of the road – a result which would increase the danger for both motorist and cyclist.

    The legislation made no mention of “practicality” WRT defining the three foot buffer. Existing law simply states “a safe distance”. I agree that it would be useful to better define what constitutes a safe distance – especially as it pertains cyclists and equestrians. (Nope, I am unswayed in my opinion that pedestrians be included in this type of legislation – they are defined as “persons”, while cyclists, Equestrians and self-propelled farm implements are “vehicles”.) Nevertheless, existing law – save a codified definition of “safe disance” is adequate to address any concerns.

    The perception of intimidation results from fear and anxiety. Both of these are learned responses and can be unlearned, assuming willingness.

    I do not believe the current statutes are being enforced …and I never intimated such was the case, nor did I state it. Unfortunately, that is a big part of the problem. This law would not have remedied that fact, either. (see this link for the reason why) “Safe passing” laws provide the teeth to do nothing. In the absence of first-hand observation by law enforcement or actual injury, enforcement would be impossible. How many people run red lights on any given day? Far more than are ever caught. The red light cameras are an effort to discourage that practice, but the fines are largely ineffective.

    Making cycling safer is a good thing. That goal is better achieved through education, not legislation.

  7. Steve A says:

    Boiling my last comment down to fundamentals, it is a leap of faith, or misplaced ideology (ref Cycle*Dallas post), that would lead one to conclude that only CIP cyclists supported SB488, or that all VC cyclists opposed it. Life is not so simple. Had the original post claimed “pandering” instead of “less competent,” I would have had no real quarrel with it.

    Given the history of such laws in other states, I see no EVIDENCE that those laws actually erode cyclist rights, nor do they help cyclists in any tangible way. Which is exactly why I concluded that the hoopla was pretty much a nonevent either way. I can’t think of any way my riding (probably the same for you) approach would change in ANY way due to that bill.

    Regardless, the matter is moot now.

  8. geoffreygee says:

    Hi Herman,

    We are all naturally Bayesians. So I think my description of “foolish” was over-the-top. That is, we could certainly have different negotiating, bargaining, and persuading experiences and be reasonable. My experience is that using “timid”, “irrational”, “unreasonable”, “superstitious”, and a whole host of other terms to describe a person one is trying to convince is unproductive. More generally, if one is down to using those terms, probably the best one can do is to present a rough idea of the argument and let them ponder it.

    The information gained from the biased anecdotal observations of similar people is quite limited. That is, in classical statistics the general assumption is that the data represents a random sample of the population. However, if that sample is correlated — nonrandom — then treating additional sample as possessing the same information as a random sample could be wildly inaccurate. In more complicated structures some would argue that a bigger sample might even be more biased — consider “group think” — than a small sample. Citing other people’s observations who conveniently share many beliefs about the cycling world is unconvincing. More generally, the world according to my, your, or anyone else’s friends and associates may or may not be an accurate depiction for similar reasons. If the beliefs and conclusions inside the group differs wildly from those outside the group, it might be more fruitful to consider that the group — or components within — might be “irrational”, “unreasonable”, “superstitious”, or so on.

    I believe this is a fundamental reason for emphasizing the scientific method and remaining skeptics — or at least tempering our expectations, statements, etc. — until it can be properly executed with the many questions regarding cycling transportation. Roughly speaking an by my reading of the literature — while I read a lot of papers and opinions, I make no claim that it is complete or exhaustive — we can (1) discuss theory, (2) model some descriptive statistics, and (3) give some anecdotal examples that demonstrate #1 and #2. Writing specifically about lane position, one reason I applaud some relatively new evidence regarding lane position is that there is so little hard evidence on the topic.

    http://www.cyclistview.com/overtaking/index.htm

    I have not kept up with the details of this specific legislation. But with regards to vulnerable road-user laws, based one some casual conversations with the lawyers around here, more explicit language and duplicating common law with statutory law is not a bad idea.

    Anyway, I have to run Herman. Weekends are tough for me and there is work on my desk. But I will try to peek at the thread sometime soon.

    -Geof

  9. ChipSeal says:

    When you commented about two lane roads, and FM shoulder-less roads in particular, you said; “However, these scenarios are relatively few and, technically, the onus is on the cyclist to accommodate the motorist.”

    As a cyclist who commonly rides on high-speed shoulder-less two lane roads, I am sure you have that backwards. It is the overtaking vehicle that has the statutory duty and moral responsibility to overtake with due care and in a safe manner.

    The vehicle being overtaken merely has the duty to keep his speed and course consistent.

    Geof: I am glad to understand that you also oppose bicycle specific infrastructure. Thank you for checking our six.

    I am wondering, have you ever experienced “love”? How about “justice”?

    I have, but they are simply my own biased anecdotal experiences, some of which have been corroborated from the biased anecdotal observations of similar people. I know of no studies that have been done using proper controls to demonstrate that “love” or “justice” actually exist.

  10. [...] that the proposal was changed as necessary to gain widespread support is a nice way to put it. NTVC (North Texas Vehicular Cyclist) puts it more bluntly “Bills introduced this session sought to [...]

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