UPDATE: According to the Dallas Morning News, the bicycling ordinance was not approved and has been sent to committee for further review.
It's hard to believe it took the city of Dallas 126 years to create rules for how bicyclists and motorists should operate on the road, but the truth is often stranger than fiction. The ordinance won't be official until it passes muster with the City Council on Wednesday. However, considering it will cost the city nothing and is on the consent agenda, the item is likely to be approved.
The rules number just four: Motorists must vacate the lane when a cyclist enters it; motorists must wait a safe distance to pass cyclists; motorists mustn't make hasty right turns in front of cyclists; and, finally, no matter how many hits it would garner on Youtube, motorists cannot throw anything at cyclists.
I have admittedly jumped a curb once or thrice and taken to the sidewalks to avoid cars when biking downtown. Of course, those were the wild and lawless days of 2011, when nobody gave a damn.
I love the city's brevity on this issue, and the fact that with less than a handful of rules, projectile retaliation made the list, as did unicyclists. One-wheeled riders are included in the ordinance, which also makes provisions for a hand-cycle.
Dallas is no doubt regularly inundated with mouthy hand-cyclists just asking to get hit in the face with a slurpee from 7-Eleven. Rest assured, sassy cyclists of all kinds will soon have protection.
Although motorists are painted as the bad guy in the ordinance's language (bicyclists are called "vulnerable road users"), and motorists are the ones facing a $500 fine for improper behavior, cyclists should carry their weight as well.
I have admittedly jumped a curb once or thrice and taken to the sidewalks to avoid cars when biking downtown. Of course, those were the wild and lawless days of 2011, when nobody gave a damn. There's a new world order in Dallas, and I'm inclined to obey it.
If I don't, I could face fines of my own under state and federal laws for cyclists. Perhaps more disturbingly, I could get hit by a car, and it would be my fault.