One More Legal Hurdle for Texas Cyclists

In the state of Texas, local authorities continue to chip away the legal rights of bicyclists.

Two weeks ago we featured the story of Reed "ChipSeal" Bates, who was convicted of "reckless driving" for exercising his legal right to ride in a travel lane in Ennis, Texas. Now, the town of Bartonville has passed a law requiring groups of ten or more cyclists to obtain a permit under city race and rally requirements.

According to Network blog Austin on Two Wheels, the Bartonville story highlights the frustrating pace of progress for cyclists in Texas, despite a number of victories in Austin.

bike_bus.jpgIn Bartonville, Texas, you'd need a permit for a bike bus. Photo of Bike to School Day in SF: Bike NOPA

Imagine you and eight of your friends are riding to Barton Springs for a swim or downtown for some music and you run into another friend on the way. Your little social trip (potentially taking 10 cars off the road by the way) would quickly turn into an act of civil disobedience in Bartonville.

I’m all for non-violent protest, but a Saturday morning training ride or a ride to the swimming hole shouldn’t be a crime. I realize most people think of speech when they think of the 1st Amendment, but free assembly is part of these rights as well. The Founders said nothing about the right to free assembly being limited to the drivers of automobiles.

Austin on Two Wheels points readers to Bike Texas, which is collecting signatures to stop bike bans across the state.

Also on the Network, the Tulsa Transportation Examiner looks at a similar story in Santa Clara, California, where the city has moved to require a permit for groups of 50 or more using county roadways; M-Bike advocates for roll-on bike service on the state’s trains; and Broken Sidewalk looks at a St. Louis program using repurposed parking meters to collect money for the homeless.