Midland Safe Passing Law

The City of Midland has enacted a Safe Passing ordinance that is now in effect. Below is the text of that ordinance.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING TITLE X, “TRAFFIC REGULATIONS”, CHAPTER 9, “MISCELLANEOUS DRIVING RULES”, OF THE CITY CODE OF MIDLAND,TEXAS, BY ADDING SECTION 16, “VULNERABLE ROAD USERS”, SO AS TO REGULATE THE OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE NEAR VULNERABLE ROAD USERS WITHIN THE TERRITORIAL LIMITS OF THE CITY OF MIDLAND;NEGATING AND DISPENSING WITH THE CULPABLE MENTAL STATE REQUIREMENT; PROVIDING FOR A MAXIMUM PENALTY OR FINE OF TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS ($200.00); CONTAINING A CUMULATIVE CLAUSE; CONTAINING A SAVINGS AND SEVERABILITY CLAUSE; ORDERING PUBLICATION;AND ESTABLISHING AN EFFECTIVE DATE OF JANUARY 1, 2019.

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that road users other than operators of motor vehicles are in need of additional protections for safe usage of roads, streets and highways in Midland; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that it is in the best interest of the health, safety,and welfare of the citizens of the City of Midland to make amendments to Title X, Chapter 9 of the Midland City Code with regard to vulnerable road users;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIDLAND, TEXAS:

SECTION ONE. That the Midland City Code Title X, “Traffic Regulations”, Chapter 9, “Miscellaneous Driving Rules”, shall be amended by adding Section 16,“Vulnerable Road Users”, which shall read as follows:

10-9-16. Vulnerable Road Users.

(A) For purposes of this Section, a “vulnerable road user” means:

1. A pedestrian, runner, physically disabled person, child, skater, highway construction or maintenance worker, tow truck operator, utility worker,other worker with legitimate business in or near the road or right-of-way, or stranded motorist or passenger;

2. A person on horseback;

3. A person operating equipment other than a motor vehicle, including,but not limited to, a bicycle, unicycle, handcycle, horse-driven conveyance, or unprotected farm equipment; or

4. A person operating a motor-assisted scooter.

(B) Duties.

1. An operator of a motor vehicle passing a vulnerable road user operating on a highway or street shall:
   (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 thesame direction; or
   (b) pass the vulnerable road user at a safe distance.

2. For purposes of this Section, when road conditions allow, “safe distance” means at least:
   (a) three feet, if the operator’s vehicle is a passenger car or light truck; or
   (b) six feet, if the operator’s vehicle is a truck, other than a light truck, or a commercial motor vehicle as defined by the Texas Transportation Code.

3. An operator of a motor vehicle that is making a left turn at an intersection, including an intersection with an alley or private road or driveway, shall 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.

4. An operator of a motor vehicle may not overtake a vulnerable road user traveling in the same direction and subsequently make a right-hand turn in front of the vulnerable road user unless the operator is safely clear of the vulnerable 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.

(C) Offense.

An operator of a motor vehicle who violates a duty listed in this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined in a sum not to exceed$200.00.

(D) Affirmative Defense.

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this Section that at the time of the offense the vulnerable road user was acting in violation of any applicable law or ordinance governing movement on roads, streets or highways.

SECTION TWO. The provisions of this ordinance are to be cumulative of all other ordinances governing or regulating the same subject matter as that covered herein; provided,however, that all prior ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with or in conflict with any of the provisions of this ordinance are hereby expressly repealed to the extent of any such inconsistency or conflict.

SECTION THREE. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this ordinance is, for any reason, held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance. The Council of the City of Midland hereby declares that it would have passed this ordinance and each section,subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase hereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, or phrases be declared unconstitutional or invalid.

SECTION FOUR. The penalty for violation of this ordinance shall be in accordance with the general penalty provisions contained in Section 1-3-1 of the City Code of Midland,Texas, which provides for a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200.00) pursuant to State law. The definition of an offense under this ordinance does not require a culpable mental state. The definition of an offense under this ordinance plainly dispenses with any mental element as authorized by Section 6.02 of the Texas Penal Code. It is hereby declared that for an offense under this ordinance, the culpable mental state required by Section 6.02of the Texas Penal Code is specifically negated and clearly dispensed with.

SECTION FIVE. The City Secretary is hereby authorized and directed to publish the descriptive caption of this ordinance in the manner and for the length of time prescribed by law as an alternative method of publishing.

SECTION SIX. The effective date of this ordinance is January 1, 2019.