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

August 30th, 2010
San Marcos school trustee injured in hit-and-run while biking on Staples Road

STAFF REPORT

San Marcos CISD trustee Jesse Ponce Jr. is being treated at an Austin hospital after he was struck while riding his bicycle in an hit-and-run accident.

At about 8 p.m. Sunday, Ponce, accompanied by his son, was cycling in the 200 block of Staples Road near Laredo Street when the rear wheel of his bike was struck by a white or silver late-model passenger car, officials say. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene before police officers arrived.

Ponce was taken to Brackenridge Hospital where he is being treated for a broken tailbone and a cut face. He is the second elected official to be involved in a bicycle-vehicle accident in recent months.

On May 29, council member John Thomaides was struck as he bicycled downtown by a Chevrolet Silverado exiting Frost Bank. Thomaides injured his elbow when he was thrown from his bike.

A friend who came to Thomaides’ assistance got the license plate number of the vehicle but no charges were pressed because Thomaides was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk at the time in violation of both state law and a city ordinance prohibiting bike riding on Central Business District sidewalks.

Email Email | Print Print

--

7 thoughts on “San Marcos school trustee injured in hit-and-run while biking on Staples Road

  1. That’s very unfortunate. I hope he is ok and the hit and run driver is caught and prosecuted.

    On a related note, I can’t find the state law re: bicycles on sidewalks. I’ve gone through the transportation code, many times, looking for it. Can you tell me where to find this law?

  2. Sec. 551.101. RIGHTS AND DUTIES. (a) A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle under this subtitle, unless:
    (1) a provision of this chapter alters a right or duty; or
    (2) a right or duty applicable to a driver operating a vehicle cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle.

    This is interpreted — and I’m relying here on the police report and supplemental info on the Thomaides incident — as meaning bike riders can’t ride on sidewalks… I don’t know if it’s been tested in court.

  3. Yes, but Sec. 551.001 says:

    PERSONS AFFECTED. Except as provided by Subchapter C, this chapter applies only to a person operating a bicycle on:

    (1) a highway; or

    (2) a path set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

    I read that to mean that what follows (including 551.101) applies to bicycles on highways (roadways) and bike paths, but it does not, that I can see, restrict the use of bicycles *off* highways and bike paths.

  4. Also, Austin’s ordinance, which is worded a little better than ours (no need to dig up a definition of Central Business District) says:

    § 12-2-13 USE OF SIDEWALKS RESTRICTED.
    (A) Except as provided in Subsection (B), a person may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk.

    (B) A person may not ride a bicycle on a sidewalk on the following streets:

    (1) 100 to 1100 blocks of Congress Avenue;

    (2) 1900 to 2500 blocks of Guadalupe Street;

    (3) 100 to 1100 blocks of Brazos Street;

    (4) 200 to 1100 blocks of Colorado Street;

    (5) from the 200 block of Second Street (West) to the 300 block of Second Street (East);

    (6) from the 900 block of Fifth Street (West) to the 800 block of Fifth Street (East);

    (7) from the 700 block of Sixth Street (East) to the 1000 block of Sixth Street (West);

    (8) from the 100 block of Eighth Street (West) to the 200 block of Eighth Street (East);

    (9) from the 100 block of Ninth Street (West) to the 200 block of Ninth Street (East);

    (10) from the 200 block of 11th Street (West) to the 200 block of 11th Street (East); and

    (11) from the 200 block of 15th Street (West) to the 200 block of 15th Street (East).

    My (albeit limited) understanding is that Austin would not be able to say “a person may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk,” if state law said they could not.

  5. One other thing, Sec. 550.021 states:

    ACCIDENT INVOLVING PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH. (a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person shall:

    (1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible;

    (2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and

    (3) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.

    (b) An operator of a vehicle required to stop the vehicle by Subsection (a) shall do so without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

    (c) A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of this section. An offense under this section:

    (1) involving an accident resulting in death of or serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, to a person is a felony of the third degree; and

    (2) involving an accident resulting in injury to which Subdivision (1) does not apply is punishable by:

    (A) imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than five years or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year;

    (B) a fine not to exceed $5,000; or

    (C) both the fine and the imprisonment or confinement.

    and Sec. 550.023 states:

    DUTY TO GIVE INFORMATION AND RENDER AID. The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:

    (1) give the operator’s name and address, the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving, and the name of the operator’s motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;

    (2) if requested and available, show the operator’s driver’s license to a person described by Subdivision (1); and

    (3) provide any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.

    Neither seems to state, or imply, that one’s responsibility to give information and render aid is contingent upon who is or isn’t at fault, or what other laws may have been broken.

  6. In fact, the law would seem to clearly state that every driver, including any who are at fault and any who are “victims,” is required to stop, give information and render aid, or face up to five years in jail and $5,000 in fines (or greater, if the injury is bad enough).

  7. I’ve read so many articles about cyclists being hit by motor vehicles. Most times, from what I’ve read, the car driver escapes responsibility by claiming he didn’t know he hit anyone. Usually hard to prove otherwise, I guess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:)