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#1 2016-09-23 10:32:13

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 95

Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

Yesterday I was riding home heading south on Thomas Sinclair, just north of the Howard lane intersection.  434' north of it to be exact.  A roto rooter truck passed dangerously and needlessly close to me.  I have proof of it because I have both forward facing and rear facing video cameras.  I have the license plate number of the truck.

I know that the northern edge of Austin here is Howard lane.   The area this occurred in is part of the Austin 2 Mile ETJ.  Does anyone know if the 3 foot passing (and I guess in this case it would be the 6 foot passing since this involved a commercial truck) law would apply to this jurisdiction?

On the ride to work this morning I stopped and measured the width of the road at this point.  It is 27' across.   I plan on taking this to the roto rooter people and complaining, but I was hoping to get all of my facts in line first.  I know that Governor 'Dancing with the Stars But Too Stupid to Recognize A Low Score' vetoed the state version of this law.   I just want to know if I can apply the 3' law in this situation.

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#2 2016-09-23 11:23:38

Darron
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 62

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

City regulations do not apply to the ETJ until the area is annexed "Annexation is the process by which cities extend their municipal services, regulations, voting privileges and taxing authority to new territory."

The ETJ is for future Planning and Zoning to basically stop other entities from forming/claiming the territory before the city has the option to do so.  It is not for enforcement of existing city codes:
http://austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=108895
http://www.austintexas.gov/department/annexation
https://www.austintexas.gov/department/ … risdiction

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#3 2016-09-23 12:09:00

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 95

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

Yeah, I figured that might be the case.  Thanks, though! 

After work I plan on stopping by the RotoRooter place.  I just got off the phone with their national office.  Apparently, each location has a 'safety officer', so I plan on finding that person.  The national call center person took my info and the info about the truck and said it would be forwarded, but I'm not waiting around for that.  I want this safety officer to see the screen shots and video I took.  I don't want to hear the 'but the driver just didn't see you' bullshit.  I want this person to see my bike set up.  I always ride (day or night) with at least three tail lights and two headlights.  One of the tail lights is just the video/light combo (Fly6) and not that bright.  The light mounted on my foam hairnet (up high so it can be seen over cars behind me) is a Solas 40 set to blinky.   The other light is a Bontrager Flare R set on the brightest setting which was designed to be seen from 1 mile away in daylight.  I also wear a reflective safety vest. 

With my luck the 'safety officer' will be on vacation.

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#4 2016-09-23 12:25:37

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 500

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

Even if this had been in city of Austin limits proper, the police almost never go back and issue tickets, even after being shown clear video evidence.  The only times they give tickets are 1) if they see the offense themselves, or 2) there was a collision and they investigated, and I suspect that for #2 the guilty party has to actually confess that they did it.

That said, reading the rules for arrests (tickets are basically arrests where they then release you immediately), I'm not even sure that #2 is valid for a ticket for a misdemeanor, that a warrant would be required.  But it does still happen, so maybe I'm missing something.

Sounds like you're handling it as well as it can be handled.  Good job!

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#5 2016-09-23 13:28:22

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 923
Website

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

RedFalcon wrote:

I always ride (day or night) with at least three tail lights and two headlights.  One of the tail lights is just the video/light combo (Fly6) and not that bright.  The light mounted on my foam hairnet (up high so it can be seen over cars behind me) is a Solas 40 set to blinky.   The other light is a Bontrager Flare R set on the brightest setting which was designed to be seen from 1 mile away in daylight.  I also wear a reflective safety vest.

Wow, you're not screwing around.

I like it.

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#6 2016-09-23 13:56:35

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 95

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

Wow, you're not screwing around.

I like it.


I have come to think that getting hit again is almost inevitable, no matter how careful I am.  If it happens I want to make absolutely sure that no one can get away with saying I wasn't visible.   Also, my new commute takes me around the 'deadmans' curves along Bratton lane.   A bad place to not be visible. 

Not to inflame the helmet debate, but one of my main reasons for wearing one is similar.   If I am in a crash that makes the news I don't want it reported that I was without one.  When I was hit 7 years ago the first question I was asked by Police and EMS was if I had a helmet on.  Too many people have a blame the victim attitude on this. 

If I get hit again I want to help minimize distractions so just maybe the focus will be on the real cause of the crash.

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#7 2016-09-23 14:07:53

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 923
Website

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

That's certainly a reasonable reason for wearing a helmet.

I don't wear one because I think it's more likely I'll be hit, since cars pass helmeted cyclists closer.  Also, I'm trying to fight that idea that helmets are synonymous with safety.  Not that I'll likely make much headway with that, of course, but I certainly won't make any if I don't try.  A while back I went to a new doctor who asked about my lifestyle, I mentioned that I biked, she asked if I wore a helmet, I said no, and she actually made the shame gesture at me by rubbing one finger against the other.  I explained that research suggests that helmeted cyclists are more likely to be hit because they're passed closer, and she opined that she didn't think her own driving reflected that.  (Wow, anecdotal experience over evidence-based medicine?  Pass.  Next doctor.)

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#8 2016-09-24 14:52:48

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 95

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

MichaelBluejay wrote:

That's certainly a reasonable reason for wearing a helmet.

I don't wear one because I think it's more likely I'll be hit, since cars pass helmeted cyclists closer.  Also, I'm trying to fight that idea that helmets are synonymous with safety.

A different strategy.  I have read that wearing a helmet encourages drivers to pass closer.  I have thought about pulling a child trailer everywhere figuring that the same thing may happen.  It would be great training for triathlons and long tours, but what a pain.

The  main use for my hairnet is for mounting lights.  Even if we all gave up on helmets I think I would still wear one for just this reason.  I have a Niterider 750 mounted on my bars and another Niterider 350 mounted on top of my hat.  I do half of my riding in the dark, so this is really useful. 

When a car approaches from a side street or driveway I can light up the face of the driver by just pointing my head in that direction.  I know they see me and I can often get a look at the face of the driver.   During the day I switch to flashy mode.  I have been told by quite a few people that they could see me from a long way away.  I really think this is a big key to safety.

Again, not to set off a hairnet fight, but wearing a helmet to prevent crashes is like going into a bomb sheltrer to prevent nuclear war.  If you gotta actually use it, it's already a very bad day.

After work yesterday I went to the Roto Rooter place and had a very constructive conversation with the Customer Service manager.  She apologized for what happened.  I showed her the video and she gave me her contact info and asked for a copy of it so it can be used in the weekly safety meeting.

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#9 2016-09-24 16:15:01

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 923
Website

Re: Does the 3 foot passing law apply in the Austin 2 mile ETJ?

RedFalcon wrote:

I have thought about pulling a child trailer everywhere figuring that the same thing may happen.  It would be great training for triathlons and long tours, but what a pain.

You would wear a long wig.  Women also get a wider berth.  Not as much as a kid trailer, but not nearly as hard to pull.

The  main use for my helmet is for mounting lights.  Even if we all gave up on helmets I think I would still wear one for just this reason.

I just use a headlamp that straps around my forehead.  Or at least I used to.  I stopped riding at night after Elizabeth English.

When a car approaches from a side street or driveway I can light up the face of the driver by just pointing my head in that direction.

You're right, I've long felt that head-mounted lights were superior to handlebar-mounted lights for that reason.  I can also light up street signs when I'm trying to find my way around.

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