Houston has received an award from the League of American Bicyclists and is now officially recognized as a bike-friendly city. The award was a bronze award, which means that there is still work to be done.
Unfortunately, while Houston has made great strides in improving infrastructure for riders, not everyone agrees that the award is deserved. One op-ed pointed out that "cyclists are being killed with disturbing regularity" in Houston, citing the 23 fatalities that occurred over the past five years. In just the past three months, there have been three deadly hit-and-runs involving pedestrians. The city's mayor, who has been very committed to bike advocacy, also admitted that Houston is a 'car-centric' city and it's always going to be a car-centric city.
The death rate and the attitude of some drivers towards bicyclists shows just how far Houston has to go, even with its recent accolades. For victims of bicycle accidents who lose their life or who are seriously injured, Houston's safety efforts will come too late. An experienced Houston accident attorney can help victims to pursue a claim for compensation if they've been harmed or if they've lost a loved one due to injuries.
Bicycle Safety Improvement Efforts in Houston
Mayor Annise Parker believes that some drivers in Houston "have somehow gotten the idea that bicycles don't belong on the road." This is simply not true. Bicycles account for 12 percent of all trips in the United States, and around 1/3 of all trips on bikes are taken by people with incomes less than $30,000 per year. Bikes aren't just for recreation but, for many, are the only way to get around Houston.
The Mayor wants to change attitudes as well as make infrastructure improvements. She has announced that the city will embark on a crackdown to ticket drivers who intimidate or crowd bicyclists. Bike riders who break the law, such as those who run stop signs or who fail to use helmets or lights at night, could also face traffic citations.
Proposed infrastructure improvements include closing gaps in the network of bicycle trails that is growing around the Houston area. Voters had passed a $100 million bond and the private sector has also stepped forward with $100 million. The money will be used to build better off-street infrastructure.
The Mayor also issued a Complete Streets executive order, which requires that the needs of all road users be considered when undertaking transportation projects. Instead of just designing roads for motorists, roads will now be designed for kids, the elderly, people in wheel chairs, people who get around on public transportation, freight companies and anyone who bikes or walks.
As of 2012, there were 238 cities nationwide using Complete Streets principles in road design. There is also currently a proposed law before the U.S. senate, the Safe Streets Act of 2014, which would give all jurisdictions two years to develop and begin utilizing a Complete Streets framework on all projects paid for with federal highway transportation funds.
A Houston accident attorney at Hagood & Neumann can help after your collision. Call today at (800) 632-9404 to schedule your free consultation.