Two big deals for Dallas bicyclists, known at City Hall as Vulnerable Road Users: After months of discussion, Dallas City Council committee members approved new rules of the road for shared bike lanes. And plans for dedicated bike lanes on Sylvan Avenue are up for discussion at a meeting tonight.
Changes to city-enforced etiquette for shared bike lanes were finally approved by two city council committees today: quality of life and public safety. The changes from an earlier plan include:
- A lower fine – maybe: The maximum fine for violating the shared-lane rules is reduced to $300 unless there’s bodily injury; then it’s the original $500.
- Texting, or some other distraction, is not a defense: The requirement that a driver or cyclist knowingly violate the rules, so-called mental culpability, has been removed. Tickets can be issued if the action is deemed reckless.
- Everyone is included: Drivers and bicyclists must obey all the rules. There was concern that the original rules were weighted in favor of cyclists.
- What’s not in the ordinance: A distance requirement between car and bike was rejected by Dallas police. They say there’s really not a way to enforce it.
Final approval of the rules is expected at Wednesday’s city council meeting.
Meanwhile, in Oak Cliff...
Bicyclists may get their own lane to maneuver up and down steep Sylvan.
Plans for dedicated bike lanes on Sylvan between I-30 and Colorado are up for discussion at 6 p.m. tonight at the Salon de las Americas on Fort Worth Avenue. The proposal calls for taking one lane of Sylvan in each direction for dedicated bike lanes.
Max Kalhammer, the city’s Bike Czar says that would involve changing the city’s thoroughfare plan because it would change Sylvan from six lanes to four between I-30 and Colorado. He says that process could take five or six months at least. The idea is to give safe bicycle passage from North Oak Cliff to businesses and entertainment spots along Fort Worth Avenue and near the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge.
Bike Friendly Oak Cliff plans a ride to the meeting tonight. Bundle up.