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Houston Bike Plan Hopes to End Biker-Driver Battle

According to the Houston Press, the Houston Bike Plan would give cyclists more than 1,700 miles of new bike lanes and trails to be completed over the next two decades, a step to end the cyclist-driver tensions in the city.

One of Most Comprehensive Biking Blueprints in Country

The city’s bike plan, costing up to $500 million, would be an update on the biking infrastructure in Houston that hasn’t been updated since the early 1990s.

Cyclists, their attorneys, and city officials believe this plan will help solve the city’s cycling fatality and injury problem. According to the Houston Press, the city passed an ordinance in 2013 that protected cyclists from passing drivers, but only 32 drivers were issued citations since the ordinance passed.

An attorney in Houston says the Houston Bike Plan is a step in the right direction, but until the public perception of cyclists changes in Houston, it won’t matter.

Of the 23 fatal bicycle accidents in Houston over the past three years, only six resulted in charges filed against the driver. In one case, a drunk driver was given two years of probation after killing an 8-year-old child on a bike, reports the Houston Press.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Houston leads Texas’s largest cities in every biking accident category. Houston has 3 times more accidents than Dallas, and 1.4 times more than San Antonio and Austin. In addition, Houston has the highest proportion of cyclist hit-and-runs among Texas’s largest cities, reports the Houston Press.

Cycling Crash Statistics

The following information is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

  • In 2014, 726 pedalcyclists were killed. An additional 50,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
  • Seventy-one percent of all pedalcyclists who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2014 died in crashes in urban areas.
  • Alcohol involvement – either for the motor vehicle operator or for the pedalcyclist – was reported in more than 35 percent of all fatal pedalcyclist crashes in 2014.
  • Texas had the third highest (50) pedalcyclist fatalities in 2014, behind Florida (139) and California (128).

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