Houston Hates Bicycles

Give it up. Houston didn’t make Bicycling Magazine’s list of top 50 cities. Since we can’t get any respect from the much revered Bicycling Magazine, we get to have all this great advocacy which has gotten us nowhere over the last decade. Or, we can just drive our car around like the other 5,999,967 Houstonians. But, there is Critical Mass! That is, if you call putting your life in the hands of hipsters who dust their fixie off once a month to ride around and anger drivers advocacy. Or, maybe people could actually try riding on the streets before judging…

It seems doing news pieces isn’t helping. Show casing a club where riding a Trek Madone is the equivalent of a stingray with a banana seat and people commuting without helmets, there is little reality in this video that an actual commuter encounters. The comments are good entertainment, take rocket_man for instance:

Bikers want ALL the rights of cars, and I support that. However, they rarely obey the same rules that cars have to abide by. I have NEVER seen bikes stop for a stop sign and only about 50% stop for stop lights. Until I see bikers following the same rules of the road that I have to follow, they will get no respect from me!

While I can’t get respect from rocket_man, I do stop at stop signs when there are cars anywhere in sight (if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?). And I have never asked for ALL the rights a motor vehicle has. ALL I ask for is motorists to do all they can to minimize hitting me. And that means, a few feet when you are passing, which may impact your drive by say 10 seconds.

Or grkwink’s well thought out post:

Bike Riders spread across the entire lane and ignor cars trying to get around them! MOVE OVER! You complain the automobiles are disrespectful to you and are dangerous for you.. It is a two way street! Which by the way – automobiles pay for through vehilce reg. and tags. I cannot tell you how many times I am doing posted speed limit 60 -70 mph and come around the corner and there are bike riders spread aross the road – riding and talking and I have to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting them. If you are going to Ride in the Country – Stay to the RIGHT of the white solid line! Be courtious to us and we will be to you.

Of course, since 99% of Houston cyclists own vehicles, they are paying for the roads. They are just using it in a different way. Or, another lapse in logic with this argument is that the only way roads are funded is through vehicle registration and tags. Since bicycles aren’t allowed on many stretches of interstates, should we deduct that from our federal income taxes? Also, I ride in the right tire track unless there is a decent shoulder free of debris. Otherwise, it is a danger to me.

Houston’s bike lanes are horrible. I ride in them when I deem it to be safe, which is few and far between. If motorists and cyclists would be more understanding of each other, we don’t have to spend the money to fix up the roads. I commuted by vehicle one summer from Kingwood to Sugarland and I know how one small thing can set you off. It’s happened to me. Just because someone chooses to ride a bike, doesn’t mean you have to choose to let that one thing be a bicycle.

Of course, I find Houston drivers along my commute to be pretty tolerant and kind. There have been very few instances where I have felt my life was in danger because of a motorist. If really thought my life was in danger, I obviously wouldn’t do it. But, I feel just as safe on a bicycle than I would in a car on I-10.

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