Texas governor vetos safe passing bill

Cycling community stunned

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a noted cycling enthusiast who made press recently by breaking his collarbone in a mountain biking fall, has vetoed a "safe passing" bill which had received strong backing from the cycling community.

The bill would have required drivers to give at least three feet of clearance when passing cyclists or other "vulnerable" road users (pedestrians, construction workers, tow truck operators, stranded motorists, motorcyclists or moped drivers) on most highways.

"We are stunned because he's our guy, and we feel disappointed, even betrayed by our guy," said Robin Stallings, executive director of BikeTexas, to the San Antonio Express. "The bicycling community will never forgive Gov. Perry."

Perry defended his veto, saying that penalties already exist to punish drivers for unsafe actions.

"While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users," Perry said.

"In addition, an operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she is at fault for causing a collision or operating recklessly, whether it is against a ‘vulnerable user' or not."

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