Bike Friendly Richardson

Cycling Rules Enforced In Collin County

Posted in Bike Education, City Stuff by dickdavid on July 15, 2011

Since half of Richardson is in Collin County (anything north of Lookout Drive), we thought it would be good to repost this from our friends at BikeDFW. Because of some concerns with road safety and in response to some motorists complaints, the cycling rules will be enforced in Collin County. Representatives from the bike community, including BikeDFW, met up with the Collin County Sheriff’s Office to have a “positive and productive meeting that resulted in a set of guidelines for how traffic laws will be enforced for bike riders in areas patrolled by the county.”

Click here to see those guidelines.

It is our opinion that all cyclist who ride and share the road should follow all the appropriate state and local traffic laws. It appears that the rules that will be enforced by the Collin County Sheriff’s Office are in compliance with the state laws and seem reasonable for north Texas cyclists.

On a personal note, although I’ve been making a strong effort to come to a complete stop at all lights and stop signs, I usually don’t put my foot down. I would typically do a track stand until I was certain of my right of way. If it’s a red light or not my turn at a stop sign, the foot would go down. Now, I’m going to need to make a conscious effort to put my foot down at every stop. I guess it’s better than getting a citation.

24 Responses

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  1. Bill Johnson said, on July 15, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Interesting. On my commute home yesterday, I was followed by one of Dallas’ finest through 3 Stop signs. I did a track stand at all three and in the back of my mind I was hoping he wasn’t going to pull me over for failure to stop.

    I guess I am also going to need to make the effort even when other cars are not around. (I always do it when other vehicles have the right-of-way because it is a great way to tell them that I am stopping.)

    • dickdavid said, on July 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

      Dallas Police or Collin County Sherif? I’m not sure if all agencies are going to enforce the ‘foot down’ rule.

      • Bill Johnson said, on July 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

        It was Dallas Police yesterday. It may have been a coincidence, but he was beside me when I stopped at the first sign, the next block he had stopped about 50 yards before the sign so I passed and stopped… Then at the next block I saw him in my rear view mirror so I signaled right he slowed about 50 yards from the sign, waited until I stopped and turned right and then he turned left at the same intersection. I just thought it was strange.

  2. Michael said, on July 15, 2011 at 7:13 am

    All good practices to follow. I’ve lapsed some over the years (full stops at stop signs), though I always slow to a near stop most of the time. I never just blow through. A full “put your foot down” is just good form. I use it often when someone tries to wave me through.

    • dickdavid said, on July 15, 2011 at 7:33 am

      I hear you about the motorist trying to wave you through. It’s extremely nice, but not necessary. As a vehicle on the road, I don’t mind following the law and taking my turn in right of way situations.

      Speaking of cars being nice, I realize their intentions are good, but it really irritates me when a car driver does something stupid or even breaks the law trying to accommodate me. For instance, when I’m changing lanes to the left to eventually make a left turn. I’ve timed my pace to move over once traffic in the left lanes pass and the lane is clear – so I can legally move over. I’ve had drivers in those left lanes come to a complete stop to let me over. DON’T DO THAT! Keep going and I’ll merge once you are clear. But this will be the topic of another blog post.

      • Michael said, on July 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

        Yep! Same thing happens to me.

  3. bibliosk8 said, on July 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

    rule #4 seems like bullshit to me, as does #5.

    Oh well, just more of the same. Gotta protect the “traffic flow”.

    I always try to ride responsibly, and will continue to do so. I’ll also keep my eyes peeled for cops!

    • dickdavid said, on July 15, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Yeah, I’m especially not a big fan of #5. That just gives drivers more clearance to pass in your lane. I wouldn’t be so upset with it if Texas had a mandatory 3 foot passing clearance law – throughout the state.

    • stuart said, on July 15, 2011 at 11:35 am

      It bothers me that they don’t say it explicitly but I’ve always assumed that the requirement to “single-up” only applies if the lane is “shareable” (less than 14′ wide).

      • tbrad said, on July 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm

        I agree. You share ONLY when it is safe to do so. The incident at the tour de France with professional drivers and cyclists demonstrates when a cyclists must make this judgment call.

  4. bibliosk8 said, on July 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Well, stupid drivers are a bigger menace than cyclist,s of course.

    A few weeks ago, I was driving north on Waterview, between Arapaho and Campbell. On the southbound side, a driver on a cell phone had her head up her butt, and to avoid a last second crash went into the bike lane, crossed it, up over the curb, and damn near crashed into a tree.

    I was glad I wasn’t riding in that bike lane at that time. Crazy bitch would’ve killed me. Enforcement really should concentrate on that stuff.

    But I digress — sorry to start the bitch-fest. Thanks for passing along the info.

    • dickdavid said, on July 16, 2011 at 5:32 am

      Yep. Usually, when a cyclist rides recklessly, they are only a danger to themselves, but when a driver drives recklessly, they are a danger to themselves AND others.

  5. William D. Neumann said, on July 15, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I’m guessing that the foot down bit is not enforceable, as there is nothing in the state transportation code requiring it. If I were given a ticket for that I would challenge it (although I can’t track-stand, so I can’t imagine where that situation would come into play).

    Also, their interpretation of the as far right as practical (should be practicable), they leave out an awful lot of the exemptions specified in 551.103.

    Tell you what, Collin County Sherriff’s office, I’ll follow the actual state laws, and I expect you to as well, not some cockamamie “rules” you decided to hash out. It’s not like those laws are particularly complicated.

    • dickdavid said, on July 16, 2011 at 5:43 am

      I hear ya. I have a few concerns about them enforcing these ‘rules’.

      1) Other than the BikeDFW website (and here), nobody is doing a proper job to educate, uninformed cyclists. How can they expect new cyclist to follow rules when they aren’t informing people about them. Perhaps they’ll start.

      2) What about long term effect of having all these citations on record? Does that fuel the fire for the state lawmakers to change the state laws to reduce cyclists’ rights? I can see it now: “Look at all the trouble we’re having with cyclists in Collin County. Guess we ought to get them off the road”

      • Jenny R said, on July 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

        It would be nice if in in addition to educating cyclists as to their responsibilities, the cities in Collin County would also publish information informing motorists that cyclists have the right to be on the road, right to take a full lane if less than 14′ wide, etc. I have to wonder how many of the complaints of motorists being impeded by cyclists were from drivers who had a passing lane available but took offense to a cyclist even being on the road at all.

        I think Richardson does a good job supporting cyclists and having information available, but I can think of other parts of Collin County that are likely not nearly as bike friendly.

        • tbrad said, on July 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm

          Educate cyclists and motor vehicles. As well as require the placement of “share the road” signs.

  6. Sean Cortez-Mathis said, on July 15, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I like Idaho’s take on stop signs. Stop signs are yields if no one else is present.


    The “stop as yield” section of the Idaho law has also been in effect since 1982, giving Idaho a quarter-century of real world experience with its experiment in bicycle traffic law. Ray Thomas reports that

    the Idaho experience has been positive according to Mark McNeese, Bicycle/Pedestrian coordinator for the Idaho Transportation Department… Idaho bicycle-collision statistics confirm that the Idaho law has resulted in no discernable increase in injuries or fatalities to bicyclists.

    • dickdavid said, on July 16, 2011 at 5:43 am

      I totally agree with you.

    • tbrad said, on July 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      In TX, the injuries and fatalities aren’t the concern. Its the motor vehicle operator complaints of the cycling nuisance.

      Admittedly, there are some bad cyclists out there but there are also bad drivers. Unfortunately, cyclists are a rare breed so we are easily subject to more scrutiny and bias.

      BTW, Oregon has the same law.

  7. tbrad said, on July 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I appreciate BikeDFW and their advocacy, however they were not elected and rules aren’t laws.
    A bike is a vehicle. A foot on the ground is NOT proof of a stop as i can easily demonstrate I can touch the ground with my foot and still be moving.
    This rule is as impractical as a driver putting his car in park to demonstrate he is stopped. A stop is observable as showing there is no forward motion and the vehicle operator demonstrates they are observant of traffic and the rights of way. In other states a stop sign is considered a yield sign for cyclists….why? because a cyclist has factors that a normal vehicle does not have. Such as speed and environment (rain, heat, cold, wind).
    To require only cyclists put their foot on the ground is to demonstrate bias since other vehicles are not required to do so.
    If a group clearly did not stop at a stop sign, then they should get a ticket according to the law.

    • dickdavid said, on July 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      I don’t think BikeDFW claims to be elected representatives. I think their position on this is more of a liaison between the CC Sheriff’s Office and cyclists. I have a feeling their collaboration with the CC Sheriff’s Office was less a collaboration and more of giving perspective. I wouldn’t doubt that the rules set by the CCSO were already determined. But then again, I wasn’t there.

      I think the bigger concern for me is that a single entity of law enforcement is making up their own rules – without local municipality involvement. IF they are making up rules that go beyond the state and local laws, there should be some sort of legal and official documentation that is communicated to it’s citizens – beyond just the internet. Heck, when the state decides to enact a law, it’s an act of congress that goes through due process. How is the CCSO above that?

  8. MT said, on July 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I feel that “Cycling Safety and Enforcement Guidelines for Collin County” violates the rights of and discriminates against cyclists.

    Specifically, as written in lines 2(b) and 3(a), as well as in footnote [3], the enforcement of putting a foot down on the pavement, an act which is not required by law but is being enforced as a “request” to cyclist.

    As stated in the footnote: “The safest way to let motorists, and law enforcement, know they are stopping is to put a foot down”. This implies that this is a communication issue and that the foot should be put down while in the act of stopping. Putting a foot down while in the act of stopping is dangerous to the cyclist. The foot can’t come down and contact the pavement until after a complete stop has been made, or the foot will drag.

    Hand and arm signals for stopping and turning are defined by Texas Transportation Code.

    Motorists are required to communicate that they are stopping with brake lights at the rear of the vehicle. Motorists are not required to “let motorists, and law enforcement, know they are stopping” who are in an intersection in front of the vehicle. To require a cyclist to communicate to the motorist, but not the motorist to the cyclist, is discriminatory towards the cyclist.

    It is the duty of the judiciary branch of government to determine what is defined as a stop, not the executive branch, area bicycle clubs, and bike shop representatives.

    BikeDFW does not legally represent all cyclists in Collin County.

    These guidelines are not a response to a specific incident involving safety, but represent a response to complaints by motorists who are simply annoyed by delays caused by large groups of cyclist. Motorists who drive at speeds in excess of posted speed limits are a far greater danger to cyclists, as well as to other motorists. More effort should be placed on enforcing legal speed limits, rather than enforcing a “request” that is “not technically required by Texas Transportation Code”.

    From Bike Texas: “Approximately 50 cyclists, 400 pedestrians and 500 motorcyclists are killed every year in Texas. Many of those fatalities could be prevented if the Safe Passing Bill (SB488) was enacted.” “Even after passing the Texas House and Senate by overwhelming majorities, and after hundreds of calls of support for the bill from constituents in the final hours, Governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill on June 19, 2009.” Bicycles weigh about 30 pounds. Cars and SUV’s weigh about 4000 pounds. Bicycles aren’t killing people.

    • dickdavid said, on July 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      I don’t think BikeDFW claims to “legally represent all cyclists in Collin County.” I think their position on this is more of a liaison between the CC Sheriff’s Office and cyclists. The actual meeting with the Sheriff’s office was held by “Representatives from BikeDFW, area bicycle clubs, and bike shops” – not BikeDFW exclusively. Whether the rules were derived from a collaboration or from dictation (from the CC Sheriff’s Office), isn’t really clear.

      Coming back to the “foot down” rule. I agree that this is a lame excuse to cite cyclists – especially those that actually follow the law and stop. In practice, however, I’ve discovered that drivers do respond better when I do. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a citable rule, but rather a good suggestion.

      • MT said, on July 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

        I understand your desire for peace and unity, but the concern I have with BikeDFW is this statement: “We hope [the guidelines] will become a model for other law enforcement agencies in North Texas.” I want to make it clear that not all cyclists are in agreement with this view, and I definitely don’t want this fire to spread. I really think they should have thought this out a little more.

        What I posted above was actually written for and sent to BikeDFW. I hope others will send their comments in.

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