Sherman is moving forward with plans to make its streets more bicycle-friendly.
The Sherman City Council recently approved two ordinances that are designed to increase the safety of bicyclists and motorists. The first ordinance will require all bicycles to be equipped with working brakes and a working white light during times of limited visibility. And the second ordinance was a “safe passing ordinance” that sets a minimum passing distance of three feet between cars and bicycles.
“These ordinances would emphasize bicycle safety, such as equipment issues and how vulnerable road users like bicycles interact with vehicles,” Assistant City Manager Steve Ayers said, explaining the ordinances are related to input received from the community and the recommendation of the local group Bike Sherman. “There are state laws that address some of these issues, but this is kind of an opportunity to emphasize — at a city level — prioritization of safety.”
In preparing the ordinances, Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Sholdon Daniels, who also founded Bike Sherman, told city staff he believes the lights will help drivers better see cyclists and the passing distance would prevent riders from being run off the road by aggressive drivers.
“I definitely am excited about the bicycle infrastructure that’s being laid and what that’s going to do for the future of Sherman safety for citizens and pedestrians,” council member Shawn Teamann said before adding that the ordinances were thanks to a collaborative effort between the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, city staff and local citizens. “That’s a really exciting thing. So I really appreciate that.”
Daniels also told city staff he believes the ordinances will reinforce to motorists that bicycles are considered legitimate transportation vehicles.
“I think one of the things we’d emphasize too, what we would focus on here is public awareness and education,” Ayers said. “Not so much looking to go out and write tickets or something, we want to educate the public as we carry out the prioritization of bicycle infrastructure the community has expressed interest in.”
Ayers also said the ordinances — which were approved unanimously by the council following public hearings on each that saw no one come forward to speak for or against them — are consistent with a previous resolution passed by the council prioritizing bicycle infrastructure in the city.
The council approved a resolution of support for bicycle infrastructure improvements in early May and declared that month “Sherman Bike Month.” That resolution was requested by Bike Sherman, which started promoting cycling in the city in January.
“There’s a lot of people out there that are going to take advantage of this move, and we look forward to seeing all the new infrastructure, whether it be shared bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, dedicated bike lanes, more signs,” Daniels said at the time. “We just want it to be safer, and we appreciate you all trying to make it that way.”