Cyclists have the same rights to the roadways as do drivers of motor vehicles, but many drivers don’t realize they have to share the road; cyclists are also more vulnerable in accidents.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus announced a two-pronged program in response to multiple cyclist deaths this year.
The educational part of program includes PSAs on TV and social media. The second prong is enforcement of the three-foot law:
“The Safe Passage Ordinance requires a 3 foot clearance for cars and a 6 foot clearance for commercial vehicles from bicycles and all vulnerable voyagers on the roadway.”
McManus said undercover bike officers will be on patrol, looking for drivers who do not give a wide enough berth to cyclists.
Mack Williams is a tri-athlete who got 1200 signatures on a petition calling for the city to become more pro-active about bicycle safety. Williams believes the program will have the extended effect of getting drivers to be more careful when looking for bicycles on the road.
“And with the SAPD enforcing the three feet, I think this will really create awareness. However, the other thing is we don’t want folks to think that this is an issue of ‘us vs. them.’ We understand there are issues and instances where cyclists may make a wrong decision," said McManus.
Violation of the 3 foot law could result in a $200 fine for motor vehicle drivers. Similar fines are assessed on cyclists who run through stop signs or violate other traffic laws.