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Dec 19

San Antonio Launches New Awareness Campaign

What does it take to get your city officials to take notice and address increasing tensions between the growing cycling community and motorists in a car centered major U.S. city?

The answer to that question isn’t so simple. In San Antonio it took a lot including lives lost. The city leadership is focused on increasing cycling in San Antonio for a number of reasons, health, transportation and sustainability.  The bicycling infrastructure has vastly improved in the past five years (since I moved to the city), ridership is also up.

Explosion of Bicyclists in San Antonio

Explosion of Bicyclists in San Antonio in recent years.

To deal with the increased ridership of cyclist the city passed a 3ft passing law in 2010 but it really hasn’t been enforced and the negatives associated with an ever increasing bicycle presences is nothing to dismiss even after the passing law was adopted: 232 bicycle accidents in 2011 and from Jan. 2012 to August 2012 it that number spiked to 391 accidents between cyclists and motorists. (source) Keep in mind those numbers only are ones reported to a police agency. It seems to me that the past three months have been especially difficult on cyclists in San Antonio. Monica Caban, a tri-athlete, was paralyzed  when a truck hit her from behind in October (Source). Then there was what seemed like a rash of deaths of cyclists who were hit by cars. Citizens got vocal and a petition was passed around and today the city launched a new program.

3 Foot Passing Law??

Police Chief William McManus and Mayor Julian Castro held a press conference this morning to announce the new sting operation that the SAPD would be doing. They will be ticketing drivers for not following the safe passing law to a sweet tune of $200 a ticket. They also announced that the police will be cracking down on rogue cyclists who disobey the law. (Source)

 

I’m excited about all of this. I get royally ticked off when I’m cycling and doing my job to follow the rules of the road, be predictable and signal, then a bicycle ninja blows by me riding between cars and blowing through red lights with cars honking at him because of course it’s night time and there aren’t any lights on his bicycle.

I didn't have a pic of a "Bicycle Ninja" but here I am as a Pirate!

I hope that more drivers will be educated in how to treat cyclists on the road way. They must know that cyclists have a right to be there and should be respected. I also hope that we’ll see less bicycle Ninjas out there going rogue on city streets.

SAPD PSA on YouTube

-Ride safe Y’all!