(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), the operator is presumed to have failed to comply with Subsection (b)(2) if the distance between the operator ’s vehicle and the vulnerable road user is less than:
(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.
(k) The presumption provided by Subsection (c) does not arise and may not be applied against the operator of the motor vehicle if at
the time of the offense the vulnerable road user was acting in violation of the law.
OPERATION ON ROADWAY. Sec 551.104
(a) 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, unless:
(4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
(A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane
(b)(1) would not require a motor vehicle to change lanes if there is a bike lane, because the motor vehicle is not driving in the same lane as the cyclist. (As an aside, this is a good example of how the addition of a bike lane to the roadway complicates the simple rules of the road.)
If a bike lane is present, and a cyclist is struck by a motorist when he is operating outside of the bike lane, he will have to prove that he had a legal reason to do so, or be liable for all injuries and damages because of paragraph (k).
So basically, our advocates are forcing those they claim to represent to choose to either drive in the most dangerous position possible on the road or risk a potentially ruinous legal defense if they are unfortunate enough to be injured outside of a bike lane.
This is only one aspect of this bill that I find objectionable. Cyclists would be better served if our advocates would press for the enforcement of the laws we already have. Every point of this bill is covered by existing laws, if they would be applied. There is no reason to believe that this law will be enforced any better the current reckless driving and passing laws are.
Are we to believe that it is now lawful to pass anyone at an "unsafe distance", and that this legislation is needed to fix that oversight?
Sec. 545.401. RECKLESS DRIVING
(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 is this law not sufficient?
The real problem is not inadequate law, the problem is motor vehicle driver's disregard for their duty to operate with due care and in a safe manner. This attitude can be modified by the strict enforcement of present laws, if our society has the will to do it. As long as we accept the trade-off of traffic flow over individuals safety, the careless attitudes won't change, and no amount of rules and regulations will reduce the carnage.
Sadly, driving a car has become such an ordinary every-day event that the potential magnitude of it's destructive power and the grave responsibility that comes with operating them has become lost on our society.