From a truly respected physics and astronomy professor at Rice University, to gone in a blink. Marjorie Corcoran was killed in a tragic bike accident February 3rd and is missed by so many. Three days later, another death occurred due to a bike collision in Houston. Two deaths in three days… a tragic reminder as to why bike safety is so important in the Houston area.
With 2.2 million Houstonians, thousands are using bikes as their main source of transportation. It’s most definitely cheaper on gas and car maintenance, convenient and great exercise. Though some may think it’s also safer than a car, it comes with just as many dangers in such a congested city like Houston. Actually, according to the Texas Accident Data Center, “riding a bicycle is riskier than driving a car.” It is more difficult to stay in control on two wheels rather than four and when an accident happens, you are at greater risks for injury or death due to the lack of protection. The most common causes of cyclist crashes are from motorists turning across the path of a cyclist or a cyclist riding into the path of a motor vehicle. From both standpoints, never assume.
With that said, BikeHouston is a nonprofit on a mission to transform Houston by creating safe bike ways to improve the quality of life of all Houstonians. They have come up with a bike map of the inner loop of Houston that includes City of Houston bike routes and places of interest. Since Houston is under continuous construction it is always important to plan ahead and look at the safest way to get to your destination. The City of Houston's Bikeway Detours can help you plan for street closures before your ride: https://www.houstonbikeways.org/bike-detour-announcements
Biking should be fun, not terrifying; but remember you as a cyclist have just as many rules to follow as the driver of a motor vehicle. Here are some things to remember as both a cyclist and driver to ensure your safety.
As a Cyclist:
• Abide by the Laws - You have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers!
• Stay visible to drivers at all times.
• Keep your cell phone and earphones OFF.
• NEVER drink and ride.
• Always wear a helmet.
• Plan your route ahead of time by map. Check for road closures and detours as well as metro/train schedules.
• Yield to all pedestrians.
• If riding in the dark, wear reflective clothing.
• In case of an emergency, learn how to change a flat tire before leaving your residence.
As a Driver:
• Abide by the Laws!
• Stay off your phone.
• NEVER drink and drive.
• Avoid speeding.
• Give cyclists enough space on the road. Legally, you must always pass with a minimum of three feet clearance if you’re driving a car or light truck. You must pass with a minimum of six feet clearance in a truck or commercial vehicle.
• At intersections, always yield to cyclists and watch for “darting” cyclists.
• You may not park, stop or drive on a designated bike path.
Bikes on Buses:
You may take your bike with you when riding on a bus as the METRO buses have racks on the front bumper holding up to two bikes. You can learn how to load and unload your bike on the METRO bus racks here: http://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/BikesonBuses.aspx.