Rick Perry cyclist veto haunts him (again)

In case you missed it, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would make the roads safe for cylcists, construction workers and humans in general.  Here’s an Austinist post about the initial veto, then a story from the Statesman about the cyclists reaction.  Said one voter:

“I have never voted in a Republican primary in my life,” said Hill Abell, owner of Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin. “But more than likely, if Perry has a significant opponent in the primary, I’ll be supporting that opponent with my vote, and financially.

Well the anger at Perry has boiled over in recent days, as the granddaughter of a Texas House member was struck while riding her bike by an SUV that didn’t have a “share the road” bumper sticker, I’m guessing.  According the Houston Chronicle story:

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, sponsor of a bill to protect bicyclists, expressed relief Wednesday that her granddaughter and a friend suffered only minor injuries after getting hit by a SUV. Gov. Rick Perry recently vetoed legislation that Harper-Brown plans to push again next session to protect vulnerable road users.

“Now I can put a face to it,” Harper-Brown said about efforts to help raise awareness for the perils facing vulnerable road users. “It really does touch home now.”

Luckily the girl is doing fine now. It’s sad that sometimes this is what it takes to make issues “real” for us, but I know we’ve all been in a situation like this.  Problems never seem as serious as when they hit close to home.  (Also, they’re talking about this story over at the Lone Star Times, if you’re interested.)

So the question arises, why did Perry veto this bill? The Chron story says the bill “would have required motorists to give cyclists and other vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, runners, motorcyclists, construction and maintenance workers at least 3 feet clearance when they pass, or at least 6 feet for commercial vehicles.”  This seems reasonable.  Actually, this seems almost like common sense.  How is this not on the books already?

As expected, the veto started a grassroots movement against Perry.  Unfortunately for the governor, he’s used to things like this (TTC, HPV, etc.), but cyclists have already gathered more than 4,000 signatures for “a petition declaring they will keep the governor’s veto on their mind when they vote next year.”  For an incumbent who received 39 percent of the vote last time, this doesn’t bode well.

The thing that would get to me, if I were Perry, is that story about the granddaughter.  Obviously the cyclists mobilized almost immediately following the veto because the believed in the bill in principle.  But the story of Harper-Brown’s granddaughter getting hit by a car?  I’m just glad that blood isn’t on my hands.


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