Murphy Resident Requests Safer Bicycling Environment
Murphy resident, Stacey Harris, enjoys riding bicycles around Murphy with her family. She said, “It’s great exercise and it’s something fun to do as a family.” However, she is concerned for her family’s safety, “…People in cars don’t follow the rules of the road. For example, turning left onto Murphy Road from Renner, when they have a flashing yellow arrow and someone on a bike from the opposite side has the crosswalk (and a green light), they do not yield.” Describing recent and past incidents of this occurrence, she said, “Not a single car stopped for me tonight. Same thing happened the other day when riding with my kids. I remember a year or so ago I saw a man almost get hit pulling his kid in a trailer because the person in the car just turned without looking and he was crossing the street.” Because of these concerns, she asked the Murphy Messenger to write an article regarding vehicle/bicycle awareness.
Murphy Police Chief Trey Cotten informed, “If a person is in the crosswalk, they should be walking. Once they step off the curb, into the roadway, that’s when the vehicles will have to yield, as long as they (the pedestrians) are following the traffic laws.” People should not ride their bikes across crosswalks, instead they should walk their bikes across the crosswalk. When in the crosswalk, they have all the rights of a pedestrian (see sidebar Transportation Code reference). He adds, “If she is in the street (not a crosswalk), she has the rights of a vehicle.” Always eager to help the community, Chief Cotten said, “If she will tell me when she typically notices the problem, I’m happy to have people (MPD) go down there and monitor it.”
Since it is back-to-school time, Chief Cotten provides these reminders, “Wearing helmets is very important. If someone else breaks the law or fails to yield the right of way to those kids and they are involved in a crash, if they are wearing a helmet, it betters their chances of not being severely injured. Utilize the crosswalks where we have the crossing guards. We placed them where it is more dangerous to cross.” He reminds bicyclists to wear reflective clothing, particularly in the early morning or evening.
Transportation Code Sec. 552.003 Pedestrian Right of Way at Crosswalk (a) The operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway in a crosswalk if (1) no traffic control signal is in place or in operation; and (2) the pedestrian is: (1) on the half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling or (B) approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), a pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and proceed into a crosswalk in the path of a vehicle so close that it is impossible for the vehicle operator to yield.