A victory for cyclists? City says motorists who disrespect riders will be finedup to $300
For those of you keeping score at home, it's now officially illegal to throw a water bottle at a unicyclist. After much hullabaloo, on Wednesday, the Dallas City Council approved an ordinance protecting cyclists from motorists.
The item was first brought before the council in October before being sent back to committee for a series of discussions with law enforcement and other city officials. Ultimately, the ordinance passed, but with a few variations.
The original version of the ordinance levied a maximum $500 fine for breaking the following rules:
- 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.
- Finally, no matter how many hits it would garner on YouTube, motorists cannot knowingly throw anything at cyclists.
The final version of the ordinance reduced the fine to $300 (except in the case of bodily harm), removed the word "knowingly" from the clause about projectile retaliation and inserted a statement that cyclists must follow all applicable laws as well. It's a two-way street, after all.
While no cyclists spoke at the December 12 meeting, a number of concerns have been raised in the past about the safety of a shared bicycle lane like the one that runs through the West End in downtown. In that vein, a full council briefing on bicycle lanes and markings will take place February 6.