Cycling should be encouraged

Tristan Hienen

The Texan's 10/12 piece "Cyclists Don't Often Follow Rules of Road" misstates rules of the road. Despite certain UTPD officer’s progressive stance to allow cyclists to roll through intersections on their turn, Officer Moore critically misstates the Texas Transportation Code Ann. §551.103.

Bicycle riders are encouraged to take the full lane on roads where the travel lane is less than 14 feet in width, which many UT area roads are. Additionally, bicycles are allowed to use the full lane if they feel the road is too narrow for a bike and car to travel side-by-side.

Texas Transportation Code also does not require cyclists to use the bike lane or bike path.

These oversights in dealing with a fundamental set of Texas laws demonstrates that UTPD deploys officers with an incomplete set of knowledge on how to best protect student’s safety.

I hope that the Daily Texan will soon run an article on how campus area car drivers similarly don’t often follow rules of the road. Topics include: rolling through stop signs, speeding, unsafe passing of cyclists, driving in the bike lane and failure to yield to pedestrians and cyclists.  Drunk driving is also an immense campus area problem.

These issues with driving safety come with a far greater risk than any cyclist infraction as cars generally weigh between 2500 and 6000 pounds. Further, the likelyhood of killing a pedestrian or cyclist in a 30 mile an hour collision is 50 percent. When a car is travelling at 40 miles per hour, that figure increases to 90 percent.  

Seeing as cycling to campus is good for safety, the environment, traffic congestion and student’s wallets the Daily Texan would do well to encourage rather than discourage cycling. UT already makes it challenging enough for cyclists to keep riding without the help of anti-cycling articles.

Heinen is a biology senior from Austin, Texas