Today with Preston Tyree, Bicycle Sport Shop owner Hill Abel, Eileen Schaubert-cycling extraordinare, organizer, cycling instructor and all around amazing woman, Tom Wald of Bike Austin and Robin Stallings and Leslie Lucaino of Bike Texas, among others gathered at the TXDOT Commission hearing to attempt to stop an all out ban on toll roads in Texas. The proposed ban before going into effect was allowed public input and commentary and people came from as far as Dallas and Tyler.
This is from the Bike Texas Website relating to Bike Texas’ concerns about the ban and is a good summary of why allowing cyclists on shoulders of toll roads is the right thing to do: “Some of our concerns about a comprehensive bicycle ban from toll roads are: Riding a bike on the shoulder of a highway is the last place most people would want to be, but there is often no alternative accommodation; Some toll roads do not have service roads attached and may be the only access to a location; Many Texas toll roads have low traffic volumes and few conflict points, and thus are safer than their alternatives; Many Texas toll roads are in rural areas without the traffic volumes associated with urban toll roads. Such a sweeping policy from TxDOT sets a dangerous precedent for the future and does not allow any latitude in accounting for differences in regions, traffic volumes, and alternative accommodations across Texas. – See more at: http://www.biketexas.org/news/action-alerts/1526-action-alert-contact-txdot-to-prevent-a-bike-ban#sthash.12vmYx57.dpuf”
Our points to the commission were primarily that since we allow Texans to text and drive despite the over 3,000 deaths on Texas roadways due to texting and driving we should allow Texas cyclists to decide when it is safe and where it is safe to ride.
The commission seemed to have made up their mind before the commission even convened. The interesting thing about this mornings “Agenda” with the Commish is they did not seem to hide the result oriented hearing on every item on the agenda which was obviously a pre-determined outcome. Serious Texas Politics happening at TXDOT.
The ban will affect all toll roads, Austin, Tyler, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, this is wherever TXDOT controls toll roads.