New law requires Houston drivers to keep distance when sharing the road

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 9:13 PM

HOUSTON -- Houston drivers should take notice to getting too close to bikers, pedestrians and workers, or it could cost you.

The Houston City Council has passed a so called “Safe-Passage” ordinance which will fine vehicles that get within specific distances -- three feet for cars and six feet for trucks -- of vulnerable people on the roadway. The ordinance took effect immediately.

"Cars sometimes try and push me up against the curb," said Liam Musgrove. "That is as dangerous as it gets."

There is no doubt in a battle between car and bike who is going to win.

Since February, Liam Musgrove has been hitting the roads of Houston on his bike. He delivers retail items for a living -- sometimes up to 15 trips a day. Musgrove said he has a close call every single day at least once.

“It scares the heck out of me sometimes,” he said.”

And for good reason if you listen to longtime Houston cyclists like Bill Wheaton.

"I was riding along on a city street and a woman came by and smacked me with her mirror,” said Wheaton, “and just kept going and did not even stop."

The new law says cars must have three feet and trucks must have six feet of room between them and the bike to pass.

Drivers who break the law will have to pay a fine of $500.

Drivers say they can see the need for better safety, but some say traffic is already bad enough.

Musgrove thinks this is not just an ordinance, rather a life saver.

“How big a difference does that three feet make for me? That way I would not feel the wind passing me by. That is for sure," Musgrove said.

The new law also covers pedestrians like runners, wheelchairs and even horseback riders.

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