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A bill to protect Texas non-motorists dies for lack of action

As we noted last week, the death knell rang for the third time on a measure in the Texas Legislature to try to create a statewide ban on texting and driving. Proponents of the bill had hoped that the third time through the process would be the key to passage, but it was not to be.

But that wasn't the only legislation to die in the just-ended legislative session. In fact, as the Houston Chronicle reported at the close of action, nearly 10,000 bills failed to gain the necessary traction. Included on that list was House Bill 2459 -- a measure that called for drivers on Texas roads to give wider berth to motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians when passing or making a turn.

It's not clear why the bill stalled. The bill-tracking tool on the legislature's website says the Transportation committee had scheduled it for consideration but it never cleared that panel.

According to the text of the bill, it would have made it a misdemeanor to pass any unprotected road user without giving them at least three feet of clearance. If a motorist were to come up on one of these individuals and a second lane in the same direction were available, the driver would be required to move over.

The bill defined an unprotected road user as any pedestrian, disabled person, maintenance worker or other person working legally in or near the road. People on horseback, skateboards, rollerblades or motorcycles would also have fallen under the definition.

This measure didn't gain the impetus required to get through the legislative process this year. Whether it will be reintroduced isn't clear. Meanwhile, motorcyclists and other individuals who suffer injury in an accident due to a driver's negligence or recklessness may take heart knowing that they have options for seeking compensation. By speaking with an attorney, they can learn what those options may be.

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