After a lengthy meeting about Dallas' proposed biking ordinance, one thing's clear: It had no business being presented at an October 10 City Council meeting. Councilmembers and city officials still have a number of details to work out before they can reach a consensus.
Three key issues emerged at Monday's meeting between the public safety and quality of life committees and councilmembers:
- Removing the word "knowingly" in the rule preventing motorists from throwing objects at cyclists
- Lowering the maximum fine from $500 to $300
- Adding a statement about a cyclist's duty to follow all city, state and federal laws
The tentative plan is for all three parties to discuss the ordinance again December 10. Until that date, I submit for your reading pleasure the six most memorable quotes from Monday's meeting:
"The item of preference seems to be a bottle of water."
— Assistant Dallas Police chief Tom Lawrence, explaining that he has received "consistent complaints" about motorists throwing objects at cyclists.
"We're not accustomed to people riding a bicycle on MLK."
— Councilmember Dwaine Caraway, advocating for more public education in South Dallas before the ordinance takes effect.
"Why create conditions that frustrate motorists? You can't pass them safely, and you're just crawling along behind them for blocks and blocks."
— Councilmember Sandy Greyson, who said she was "startled to see the lane markers on Main Street" and made an off-hand comment about nearly hittng a cyclist on the bridge at night.
"I'm not quite feeling it yet."
— Councilmember Carolyn Davis, adding that the ordinance felt like a superficial nod to becoming a bike-friendly city.
"Let's not take baby steps. Let's take big people steps."
— Councilmember Angela Hunt, who favors a complete streets model with buffered bike lanes.
"Do we have anything in this about pumping? Do you even know what pumping is? It needs to be very clear that folks know you can't pump in these bicycle lanes."
— Councilmember Dwaine Caraway, who went on to define pumping as when a rider sits on the handlebars while another person pedals.