Dallas’s neighboring cities enact bicycle safety laws

Plano last week passed a law that could make streets safer for cyclists.

This caught my attention because here at the Advocate we have been working on a story about bicycle safety, commuting and the future of cycling in Dallas.

Look for it in the March issue, which should hit your doors late this week or early next (and the web on Friday).

Essentially, the bike plan could make things better for cyclists, but because of financial limitations, the plan might not come to fruition for years. Until then, we are told, we need to learn the rules and exercise common sense in order to keep everyone on the road safe.

Plano has taken things a step further, enacting the safe-passing law which requires drivers to stay at least three feet away from cyclists while passing in cars or six feet when driving a truck and forbids motorists from making a right turn in front of a cyclist without leaving a safe distance between them and from throwing objects at cyclists. So, yeah, it is no longer OK to throw objects at cyclists in Plano. Is it OK anywhere? (Don’t answer that. Based on road rage-fueled comments received while researching the cycling story, I really don’t want to know everyone’s thoughts on that.)

Denton and Fort Worth have already enacted a similar safety ordinance. Dallas? Not yet.

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  •  No bike lanes but we do have 500 miles of on-street designated bike routes. I won’t claim we’re the best but Dallas is far from the worst place to ride a bike.

  • Carol

     Yesterday there was a biker traveling north on Abrams in the far right hand lane slowing traffic, and I wondered why he would be so risky. The answer came to me quickly when I remembered that just last week, I dropped my car off for repair at Belmont Garage and walked up Abrams (on the left facing traffic) to Lady Fitness on Mockingbird. Because of the layout of our old streets, Abrams is by far the best route, but THERE ARE ALMOST NO SIDEWALKS ON ABRAMS. I literally took my life in my own hands when I got up near Mercedes and had to wait for 5:30 traffic to pass giving me enough time to dart into the street to avoid overhanging branches and shrubbery. Instead of a pleasant one mile walk, I felt like I had survived a war zone when I reached my destination. We need sidewalks, wide enough for bicycles, on Abrams. Closer to the Kenwood area, there are sidewalks and bicycle graded curby things, and that is what we need all the way down to Lakewood Shopping Center. I am sending this to Sheffie Kadane in hopes we can get some help with this problem.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s not forget that Dallas currently ranks last among the 50 largest US cities in terms of number of miles of bike lanes, with ZERO.   And no doubt first with the number of redneck yahoos who think that bikes on the road deserve to be smashed by pickup-truck grilles.  Based on my personal observations…

  • Ted

    Christina,  Thanks for tackling this topic.  The DMN had a very long editorial on anniversary of the death of Ms. Huddleston back in Oct.  Not much has changed in Dallas whether on the roadways or the trails where cycles are concerned. 

  • I don’t know what it is like in Plano but rules and common sense are working great for me in the City of Dallas.

  • Eliot Landrum

    Learning the rules of the road and being courteous enables cyclists to enjoy Dallas right now. Dallas is a fantastic cycling city right this very minute. 

    Come take a weekend workshop with CyclingSavvy http://cyclingsavvydfw.org and find out how to make safe cycling a reality in your own life. Our students cycle away with the tools needed to ride safely anywhere in the metroplex.. with or without infrastructure, safe passing laws, or any other special treatment. Study after study shows that cycling is an inherently safe activity in comparison with nearly all other forms of transportation. The power to have a safe, friendly ride is truly in the hands of the cyclist.

    Smile, relax, and have fun out there!