City of Houston Vulnerable Road User Ordinance (Safe Passing)

Source: Houston, Texas Code of Ordinances

HOUSTON, TEXAS, CODE OF ORDINANCES,

Chapter 45 – Traffic, Article XII. – Sec. 45-44. Vulnerable Road Users.

(a)Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section will have the meanings set forth in this subsection, except when the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Safe Distance Means:

(1) While passing, a separation between a motor vehicle and a vulnerable road user that, when all road, traffic and weather conditions are considered, provides the motorist sufficient space and time to avoid a collision with a vulnerable road user but, in any event, not less than 3 feet if the operator’s vehicle is a passenger car or light truck and not less than 6 feet if the operator’s vehicle is a truck (other than a light truck) or a commercial vehicle as defined by Texas Transportation Code Section 522.003; or

(2) While trailing, a separation between a motor vehicle and a vulnerable road user that, when all road, traffic and weather conditions are considered, provides the motorist sufficient space and time to avoid a collision with a vulnerable road user.

Vulnerable Road User Means:

(1) A pedestrian (including a runner), physically disabled person (including a person in a wheelchair), stranded motorist or passenger, highway construction or maintenance worker, tow truck operator, or utility worker in the roadway;

(2) A person on horseback or operating a horse-driven conveyance, in the roadway;

(3) A person operating a bicycle (including an electric bicycle), hand cycle, or other human-powered wheeled vehicle in the roadway; or

(4) A person operating a moped, motor-driven cycle, or motor-assisted scooter, as those terms are defined in sections 541.201 and 551.351 of the Texas Transportation Code, as applicable.

(b) Action required. An operator of a motor vehicle or motorcycle shall:

(1) When passing a vulnerable road user on a highway or street;

a. Vacate the lane in which the vulnerable road user is located if the highway or street has two or more marked lanes running in the same direction if such action can be taken safely; or

b. Pass the vulnerable road user at a safe distance; or

(2) When making a turn at an intersection (including an intersection with an alley or private road or driveway), yield the right-of-way to a vulnerable road user who is approaching from the opposite direction and is in the intersection, or is in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard.

(c) Prohibited action. An occupant of a motor vehicle may not:

(1) Knowingly throw or project any object or substance at or against a vulnerable road user, or the user’s animal, equipment, vehicle or conveyance;

(2) Overtake a vulnerable road user traveling in the same direction and subsequently make a turn in front of the vulnerable road user unless the operator is safely clear of thevulnerable road user, taking into account the speed at which the vulnerable road user is traveling and the braking requirements of the motor vehicle making the right-hand turn; or

(3) Maneuver the vehicle in a manner that is intended to cause intimidation or harassment to a vulnerable road user or threatens a vulnerable road user.

(d) Affirmative defense. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that, at the time of the offense, the vulnerable road user was acting in violation of any applicable traffic law.

(e) Offenses. The penalty for any violation of this section shall be a fine not to exceed $500.00

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