San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 26th, 2010
April 22 proclaimed 'Bicycle to School Day'

042110bicycleFront row,  left to right:  San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz, Leah Gibson and Daniel Palomo of the National Association of Environmental Professionals, and Betsy Robertson. Back row, left to right: San Marcos City Councilmembers Kim Porterfield, Fred Terry and Ryan Thomason.

STAFF REPORT

San Marcos city officials proclaimed April 22 “Bicycle to School Day.” The day, coinciding with Earth Day, recognizes the benefits of increasing the use of bicycles and improving bike lanes for both the environment and community health.

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0 thoughts on “April 22 proclaimed 'Bicycle to School Day'

  1. Riding a bicycle in San Marcos has no health benefit since the odds are that you will get ran over.

    This is baloney (no curse words allowed) for the mayor and council to pose in this picture. I challenge them to draw up safe bike routes to ANY of our schools.

  2. SamD,

    I suppose we should all perpetuate the problem and get rid of any form of transportation that isn’t a motor vehicle?

  3. Kenny-
    Not at all. I want to see the safe bike routes to get to school. It’s ridiculous that a town this size and with a young population is so bicycle/pedestrian unfriendly and flat out dangerous.
    The politicians posing in this picture to promote “Bike to School Day” is laughable. Obviously they are out of touch with our town’s needs or have never pedaled through town. Probably both.
    Want to bet that none of them stuck their rugrats on a bike and had them pedal down 123 or Aquarena Springs or Hopkins or Hunter or Wonder World to get to school?

  4. I find it funny that none of the Councilmembers pictured have historically given much support to bicycle and pedestrian facilities. In fact, other than the two citizens holding the proclamation, Betsy Robertson is the only one with any credibility on bicycle & pedestrian issues standing up there as she is a daily rider and long time advocate of bicycling. Issuing a proclamation like this is completely disingenuous. The only bike lanes added in the last decade are a short segment on Comanche that doesn’t connect to anything, Post Road from The Outpost to Aquarena Springs Drive (what a cyclist is supposed to do when he/she gets to Aquarena Springs Dr. is beyond me), and a portion of Holland Street. And even then, those bike lanes are poorly maintained with lots of debris and broken glass in the lane that never gets swept up. The parts of town where people could actually walk to a fair amount of destinations have sidewalks in a complete state of disrepair, that is if they are present at all.

    NAEP should have refused the proclamation (even though they probably initiated it). San Marcos’ efforts have been a joke when it comes to creating a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists (recreational and daily commuters).

  5. People who bike to school are probably going to bike to school anyway. Let’s challenge our city council members to participate in a “Bike to the Council Meeting” day. We can probably assume that none of them has the faintest notion of what it’s like to ride a bike in this town. Maybe a little experience would help them to be more practically supportive of bicycling and less full of bs.

  6. I agree with hmmmm. I’ve actually stopped riding since moving to San Marcos as it’s the most dangerous city i’ve lived in to ride. And that includes Austin, College Station and Columbus, Ohio. Every now and then i decide to ride to work down Aquarena then quickly realize it’s suicide.

  7. I see John Thomaides riding his bike around town fairly often. In fact seven years ago when the first critical mass in san marcos took place he joined the crowd.

    I ride around town on a daily basis. I rarely feel unsafe. I take up a lane so that cars can’t nudge me off the rode, and I never ride on sidewalks. Of course people honk their horns every now and again but what are they going to do, hit me? The unsafe environment is created by cars going too fast and not observing cyclists. If you take up a lane you slow traffic down and your in plain view. Who knows, maybe if more people took up lanes motorists would see speed limits as limits and not recommendations.

    That’s the method I’ve developed for this town, and I’ve never been hit by a car. Almost all of the people that I know that ride on sidewalks and hug the curb have been involved in accidents.

  8. You’re not allowed to take the lane in all circumstances. This is a misconception held by many riders, which leads to a lot of animosity and creates problems for the cycling community in general.

    I never feel unsafe (even on Aquarena Springs, or Hopkins) and I have had no accidents. I don’t hug the curb, but if there is room for a car to safely pass me and taking the lane would obstruct traffic, I don’t take the lane. Of course, I move over for faster traffic when I am in a car, too. That’s one of the things I loved about Texas when I moved here 20 years ago and it is one of the first habits I adopted.

    As for your question of what they will do, yeah, people deliberately hit cyclists and/or run them off the road all the time.

  9. Sec. 551.103. Operation on Roadway.

    (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:

    (1) the person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction;

    (2) the person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway; or

    (3) a condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

    (4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
    (A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
    (B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.

    (b) A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.

    (c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

  10. I believe we’ve had this conversation once before, and yes I take up the right lane and I also allow for cars to pass when it’s safe and reasonable. With that said, the Texas ways of the road generally observe this practice on highways, not city streets. That must have been lost in translation when you were getting the run down on what it meant to be a texan. The majority of the time I’m riding in stride with cars, or at least the slow drivers.

    I’m curious if you can name a street in San Marcos in which the following does not apply:

    (4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
    (A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
    (B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.

    I’m also curious as to what specific problems are created for the cycling community when people take up lanes. I was quite specific in how the passive style of riding creates an unsafe environment for the rider and motorists. Will you do the same, please? Is it just animosity that concerns you?

    “As for your question of what they will do, yeah, people deliberately hit cyclists and/or run them off the road all the time.”

    Getting run off the road is a result of cars passing cyclist in a tight spot because the cyclist is hugging the curb and they’re both attempting to share a lane.

    Every single accident that I’m aware of in this town was a result of the aforementioned or motorists not seeing the cyclist. Will you please be specific and tell me of one case where a motorist hit a cyclist intentionally? I’m curious, are you aware of one instance in this town?

  11. Yes, I am concerned about the animosity and the behavior that flows from that animosity. Do I need more reason than that? Do I know of specific incidents in San Marcos? I have ridden with people who claim to have had people deliberately run them off the road.

    Could be the same people you say were accidentally run off the road. Who can say what someone’s true intentions are, particularly when dealing with secondhand information? I do regularly see arrests and investigations about the same, but not in San Marcos. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened, just that I don’t know of any incidents, myself. I have spoken with plenty of people who have had passing drivers scream obscenities at them and throw things and I have had that pleasure myself, on more than one occasion.

    Here is a sample of accounts of hostility toward cyclists:

    fwix.com/austin/share/fe0feb61f4/cyclist_threatened

    bicycleaustin.info/justice/harassment.html

    thewashcycle.com/2010/04/hey-im-biking-here.html

    baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20100410163716672

    transitmiami.com/2009/11/21/bicyclist-injured-in-intentional-hit-and-run-on-south-beach/

    bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-115403.html

    blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2009/06/insurance_company_of_driver_wh.html

    swdcblog.com/2008/10/sw-cyclist-intentionally-hit-by-car.html

    The rest of your questions will have to wait. I have an exam tomorrow.

  12. Sin Nombre and Ted- You must not be biking during the weekdays and probably haven’t tried to bike to big HEB.
    I had a co-worker tell me her and her husband cursed me and called me an idiot for biking on Hopkins as they tried to pass me- and they are ‘nice’ people.

    Plus, yes, you have the ‘right” to take up a lane- but as someone who logs 50-75 miles a week on a bike- I’d rather be alive than right.

    Again- it’s criminal that our town is so far behind on supporting safe cycling with decent shoulders on roadways.

  13. As I stated earlier, I ride daily as a way of life. I’m not a weekend hobbiest. I don’t go to the big HEB, but I’ve made that ride plenty of times, mostly to go to city hall.

    Ted, are you claiming that taking a lane is an act of animosity in itself? Again, I stated clearly the reasoning for riding this way. Not to pound my chest and instigate confrontation, but because it’s safer than the passive style of riding.

    My point about being concerned with animosity from drivers is you can’t avoid that, no matter how you ride. Some will get angry if a cyclist (no matter how they ride), pedestrian, funeral, parade, or turtle inconvenience them during their daily routine. What are you going to do, apologize for your way of life when it’s one that’s much healthier for our river, culture, economy and not to mention ourselves. I, for one, thank you.

    Again, you continue to talk about getting “run off the road.” When you say this I’m imagining cars passing in a tight space and the rider gets squeezed out. This is that passive style of riding that I’m arguing against and I covered this already.

    Hurling objects and obsenities? The beautiful thing about this is you’ll see them in a few seconds at the stoplight, and you can smile and ask, what did you say? Most people cower out of shame when their not moving. They only feel empowered at high speeds. Oh, and I never forget a license plate.

  14. People think they are anonymous when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. When they litter, shout and/or gesture obscenities, drive erratically, or otherwise endanger cyclists, they forget their identity is right there on the vehicle, in the form of the license plate. Bad manners to road rage seem to flare up every so often, and it’s no wonder the police have to resort to totally unmarked vehicles sometimes to catch the worst offenders in the Austin to San Antonio corridor.

    When I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, and I’m stuck behind a cyclist for a while, I don’t get mad at the bicycle rider – instead, I note the need for improved cycling access. I agree, if more of us rode our bicycles around town, traffic would calm down, drivers would acclimate to sharing the road, and traffic would calm down. I hope the Wonder World extension to RR12 will alleviate a good chunk of the “gotta get through town in a hurry to somewhere else” traffic.

    In the meantime, it would be great to see more of our City leaders set an example in terms of walking and (bicycle) riding to places and events around town. Difficult to do in the summer when you are dressed in business attire, so maybe we need more acceptance (in the business community) of “outdoor casual” attire, too. Hey, if you want to really dress up every day, you can always live in Dallas!

  15. Luckily, I don’t get stuck behind cyclists, because there are only 3 or 4 of them who ride anywhere in town. Maybe that is because it is 90 or above for 6 months and we can’t wear shorts or smell when we go to work. Maybe it is because most people don’t want to turn a 10 minute trip into a half hour. Whatever the reason, everyone gets to choose. If you want to ride a bicycle — great, but don’t think yourself somehow superior for making the choice and don’t demand others agree with you or take up the roadway out of obstinance. If you want to drive a car, don’t run over those who choose to ride. It seems like we can all live in harmony, but it is going to take a little less militance from the bicycle special interest.

  16. Can’t we all just get along?

    One of the Lance Armstrong rides goes in front of my house, and it’s a poor choice of road/route. Unlaned county road with no shoulder, vehicular traffic is mostly trucks, a great many with trailers. Just my 2 cents.

  17. I think we should all get along, and there are individual drivers and individual cyclists who make that difficult, unfortunately. Most of the problem, however, is the lack of safe bicycle routes that keep bikes from having to ride in high-traffic car lanes. I think that if councilmembers spent a few days riding around town, including some of the routes included in their silly new bike map, then they would understand more about what is needed and quit patting themselves on the back for constructing bike lanes to nowhere out in the boonies.

  18. Sin Nombre, no, I am not saying that taking the lane is an act of animosity. I am saying that when I talk to people who are hostile about cyclists on the road, they invariably have two complaints – we obstruct traffic and we disregard traffic laws that don’t suit us (i.e. blowing through stop signs and stop lights). I take them at their word, since many of them are friends, and so I choose not to obstruct traffic, if I can avoid it and I don’t blow through stop signs and red lights.

    So, when I read/hear about someone getting deliberately hit by a car, or having a bottle thrown at them, I don’t have to wonder if I did something to contribute to that rage. You say those people would have that rage anyway. I disagree. There isn’t much to debate, unless someone wants to get the university to do a study or something.

    I also pick up the old tubes and water bottles that some of my a-hole counterparts choose to leave on the side of the road (or in trees), during their rides.

    It is also funny (to me) that many of the cyclists I know personally, who tell me that it is their right to take the lane, are the same ones who are absolutely beside themselves when slower cyclists won’t (or don’t know to) move to the right, to let them pass.

    I’m not riding passively, just because I don’t take the lane. Just as on a motorcycle, I am extremely aware of the cars around me and what they are doing. I make myself quite visible (generally wearing hi-viz), but I never rely on being seen for my safety. To me, this is passive. I’ve had people run into me in my cars and trucks, over the years, who did not see me, because they were on the phone, or drunk, or distracted by whatever. I ride where I am comfortable, I watch the traffic, I anticipate problems and I have routes around issues, before they become issues. I communicate with the other people I am riding with. I choose my routes carefully. I feel perfectly safe and 90% of the time, I do not feel the need to take a lane.

    Still studying…

  19. Yes, I have ridden to the big HEB. I would take Robbie Lane, if I wanted to ride there. Coming from other directions, I’d have to think about the route I would take. If there were bike lanes and paths, I’d still have to think about my routes.

  20. John, if you only see 3 or 4 people on bikes, anywhere in town, you really need to work on paying attention. I suspect you are just trying to make some point, though.

  21. I was originally making a suggestion regarding how to ride in this town to someone who stated that he feels unsafe. No demands, it’s a discussion about riding bikes in San Marcos. Superiority?? Oh you must mean because I stated “it’s one that’s much healthier for our river, culture, economy and not to mention ourselves.” Do you disagree? If one lives his/her life in a manner that is less of a burden on his fellow (wo)man, does that make him/her superior? You know, I wasn’t going to go that far as to claim superiority but now your making me think………

  22. And I was just offering some clarification, because, if I am going to be brutally honest, I see many cyclists deliberately obstructing traffic, just because they believe it is their right – riding along with their arms at their sides, floating from one side of the lane to the other, rolling at a brisk 5 mph, even when they are on roads that meet NONE of the criteria for legally taking the lane and I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt that they misunderstood the law and aren’t just complete d-bags, because I like to think the best of the people I live with.

  23. My preference is for sharing the road. I gave up the motorcycle years ago. My question to bike riders is this, when I rode a motorcycle I knew that my error factor was very limited, why do some bike riders disregard the law, both as Mr. Marchut has pointed out and such simple things as stop signs? This is a where the metal meets the bone issue arises, bikes have zero crash space. Just hoping for enlightenment.

  24. I don’t know, but I prefer sharing the road too. And, to me, sharing does not mean that I take the road and you deal with it. It means that you allow me to have it, when I need it and I allow you to have it, when I don’t need it.

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