SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS. (a) Except as otherwise defined herein, a vulnerable road user shall be defined as a pedestrian, runner, physically disabled person, bicyclist, motorcyclist, person using a wheel chair or other mobility assist device, child, equestrian, highway construction and maintenance worker, utility worker or other workers with legitimate business in or near the road or right of way, stranded motorist and passengers, roller skater and driver of unprotected farm equipment.
Why is this of interest? As some know, I have been a proponent of some legal recognition/allowance of in-line skates on local streets (speed limits below 30 mph). This didn't win me many friends on either side of the argument, but that's not unusual. I've spent a fair amount of time investigating the legal standing of in-line skates. They are classified as "roller skates", which are classified as "toy vehicles". In the Texas Vehicle Code, toy vehicles are not allowed on public roads unless they have their own "segregated roadway".
In the list of "vulnerable road users" above, every category has a specific right to use the roadway, either at all times (bicycles and motorcycles), or under specific circumstances (pedestrians and wheelchair operators, when no sidewalk is present). But roller skaters never have a right to the roadway, except in a marked crosswalk, traveling perpendicular to roadway traffic.
So, here are my questions: Is it an offense to pass too closely to someone who's presence in the roadway is a punishable offense? Does the extension of protection to roller skaters infer a new legal right to the roadway for them? Or, is this just another example of clumsy, unprofessional bill writing, waiting to be enacted into another confusingly bad law at the behest of lobbyists?
And why no love for Frozen Frutas Paletas vendors and their push carts? Don't they have a lobbyist in Austin?