Texas Still Doesn't Have a Safe Passing Law. It is NEEDED NOW.
One look at this video is all you need to see why this parent reached out to Bike Law with serious concerns about a Dallas driver.
Even as a bike accident lawyer that has dealt with many cases of dangerous driving, this video made me shudder in fear. The cycling dad was riding with a tow-behind trailer on a quiet road (this is a well-known lake cycling route) in the DFW area when a supersized truck came within inches of his children. The driver could have waited to pass until a safer spot, but chose not to. The driver could have left more room, but didn’t feel the need to do this either. The driver tried to pass, was evidently confronted by oncoming traffic, and instead of slowing way down to get safely behind the cycling family, the driver pulled within inches of the most precious cargo and speed away.
This is yet another example of the importance of riding with video cameras, such as the Cycliq cameras we recommend. Video proves the problem, and few would believe this without seeing it.
How do we keep this from happening in the future? It starts with the laws.
Although numerous Texas cities have approved safe passing ordinances, Texas remains a place where no statewide law applies. This bike crash results in haphazard education and enforcement, as people who live in areas without a safe passing law don’t often know that such a requirement applies in other areas (although this still doesn’t excuse unsafe driving and a lack of common sense).
We’ve watched the Texas Legislature try, and fail, to approve a statewide safe passing law that would protect pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2019, H.B. 962 was introduced. If passed, this law would have required a driver to (i) exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians and bicyclists and (ii) leave a safe distance of at least three feet for cars and light trucks or six feet for commercial motor vehicles and other trucks when passing bicyclists and pedestrians. Unfortunately for anyone who walks or rides, the Texas Legislature failed to pass this measure before recessing for the year.
More now than ever in this era of distracted and aggressive driving, Texas needs a statewide safe passing law that police will enforce. Video evidence repeatedly shows us that people will drive dangerously without a level of enforcement that can only exist if supported by the law. And of course if nothing changes, the chances increase that the next video sent to us will show a much worse result instead of a close call.