San Marcos: Move over or get a ticket

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Starting on Wednesday, drivers who don’t give pedestrians and cyclists enough space on the road could get a ticket.   People may pay up to $200 for driving too close and if someone parks in a bike lane, they could get at $50 fine.

It’s all part of the city’s “Safe Passing” ordinance which was adopted back in February.   Cars and trucks need to give “vulnerable road users” three feet to pass and six feet for commercial motor vehicles.

“San Marcos is working very hard to become pedestrian and bicycle friendly—and safe—for our fast-growing community,” said Mayor Daniel Guerrero in a statement. “This ordinance emphasizes the need to share the road with the many different types of people who use our streets from pedestrians to bicycle riders and the disabled to road and utility crews.”

In the last few years, the city has  seen a number of collisions between cars and pedestrians or cars and bicycles.  For example, in 2013 cars hit 18 pedestrians, and 14 bicycle riders.

GOING IN-DEPTH: San Marcos Safe Passing Ordinance

Collisions between vehicles and vulnerable road users in past five years

Year Vehicle-Pedestrian Collisions Vehicle-Bicycle
2013 18 (1 skateboarder) (1 fatality) 14 (no fatalities)
2012 28  (4 fatalities) 16 (1 fatality)
2011 18 (3 fatalities) 9 (no fatalities)
2010 14 (no fatalities) 7 (no fatalities)
2009 21 (1 fatality) 7 (no fatalities)
PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS
  • Unsafe Passing: Class C Misdemeanor. Fines up to $200
  • Parking in a bicycle lane is a $50 fine

The ordinance also says drivers need to move over for  children, the disabled, bicyclists, pedestrians, runners, skaters, horseback riders, motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, road and utility workers, tow truck operators, stranded motorists and other “vulnerable road users.”

The city said if that’s not possible, allow three feet of space and six feet for commercial vehicles.

They mayor said even though drivers need to watch out, so do pedestrians and cyclists.

“I think for the cyclists as well, there’s needs to be an understanding that cyclists must abide by the same law as motorists there’s an expectation that at traffic signals you’ll yield or stop and at intersections you’ll be safe as well, this is a two way road if you will.” said Guerrero.

In the past five years there have been 152 collisions and including ten deaths between vehicles and pedestrians or bicycles.

“We want to encourage all of the users of our roads-bicycle riders, pedestrians, joggers and motorists- to obey all traffic laws,” said Police Chief Howard Williams in a statement.

Guerrero said since the law is new, it’s an educational period and people will receive warnings to let them know that the law is in place.

 

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