Houston Becoming Bicycle Friendly – Risk of Bicycle Injury Decreasing?By Stewart J. Guss on November 3rd, 2013
Having ridden bikes in Houston since the days of my banana seat Schwinn growing up in Clear Lake in the 70s, I can tell you from experience that Houston has historically NOT been a particularly bicycle friendly city. Now, almost 40 years later, I find myself regularly riding the the streets of northwest Houston and Harris county, especially when training for the MS150. While the streets out in the far northwest are great for riding, the streets inside Houston have not been known for being particularly bicycle friendly. Unfortunately, inside Houston, your chances for a bicycle injury are quite high.
That is why I was particularly surprised and pleased when I read that Houston has been awarded a “bronze” level award by the League of American Bicyclists in this recent announcement. The League cited numerous reasons for the award, including several large bond issues and grants to improve trails, Mayor Parker’s “Complete Streets” initiative, and the city’s close association with my beloved MS150. (Here is my law firm’s MS150 riding team, the “Ambulance Racers” crossing the finish line in Austin.)
I can tell you from first hand experience, both as a rider, and as an attorney who has represented far too many victims of auto bicycle injury accidents in Houston, this has just not been the greatest city in which to be an active cyclist. Other major cities in the U.S. are years ahead of Houston in developing extensive bicycle trails and lanes. Houston has always been a very “car-centric” city, and there is no reason to think that will change anytime soon. That being said, I’m glad to see Houston making such great strides toward making Houston more cycle friendly and a safer place to travel via “pedal power.”
Most of the bicycle accidents involving major injuries that I’ve seen in my career involve simple negligence – drivers simply not paying attention, talking on their cell phone, or texting while driving. These are bad enough, but some accidents are caused by aggressive drivers that actually steer toward, or otherwise try to intimidate Houston cyclists. Overall, Houston increasing its profile as a bicycle friendly city can only be seen as an improvement. It is good for our environment, and a great way for Houstonians to get some fresh air and exercise (remember, Houston is also one of the nations top cities for restaurant dining!) As the number of cyclists on the road increases, we have to hope that the new riders remain courteous, serve as good ambassadors of cycling with cars, and follow all traffic laws. It is my hope that as Houston continues to add more trails and bicycle lanes, we can increase the number of cyclists on the streets of Houston without increasing the number of bicycle injury accidents. For more information about bicycle injury accidents, bicycle injury statistics, safety tips, and Texas law for cyclists, please see the bicycle injury accident page of my firm’s website.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Houston, Katy, The Woodlands, Spring, Cypress, Tomball or anywhere in Texas, please call Houston bicycle accident injury attorney Stewart J. Guss for a free consultation at 800-898-4877. As a fellow cyclist and Houston bicycle accident injury attorney with almost 20 years experience, he will make sure that your rights are preserved and protected. Remember – there is no fee unless he wins your case.