Monday’s first-ever Houston Bike Summit was a sold-out success. Speakers included Mayor Sylvester Turner, HPD Chief Art Acevedo, City Councilwoman Karla Cisneros, and METRO Executive Vice President Tim Kelly — as well as outgoing Board Chair Regina Garcia and incoming chair Dan Piette.
- Mayor Turner spoke to the crowd in the St. Arnold’s parking lot and presented a proclamation naming February 27th BikeHouston Day. He also declared that it is time to pass the Houston Bike Plan and expressed confidence that City Council will endorse it when it comes to a vote this month.
- Echoing that message, Councilwoman Cisneros said she is solidly behind the Bike Plan.
- Chief Acevedo previewed the program he’s about to introduce to the general public: police officers on bikes will be patrolling the streets to enforce the 3-ft safe-passing ordinance. This was met with enthusiastic applause and generated several questions from the audience. He also said that once officers begin enforcing laws that protect cyclists, there may also be times when cyclists are cited for violations, that ‘it cuts both ways.’
- Mr. Kelly alluded to the recent deaths of two people who were struck and killed by METRO light rail trains while riding their bikes. He said that METRO is looking for input from BikeHouston and individual bike riders in helping to make the streets safer for all people and that METRO is in the process of re-evaluating its entire operations with an eye toward safety. He said that METRO wants to engage with BikeHouston as an active, ongoing partner.
Three awards were presented at the end of the evening:
- BikeHouston “Volunteer of the Year” Award was presented to Jingwen Wang, super-volunteer who helped to coordinate our volunteer program for much of the past year.
- The “Bicycle-Friendly Business” Award was presented to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for providing multi-dimensional support for cycling. MDA has formally endorsed the Houston Bike Plan; supports new riders, daily commuters, and recreational riders; and provides on-site showers, lockers, and parking for more than 450 bikes.
- The Award for ‘Outstanding Service to Cycling’ was presented to Regina Garcia, outgoing chair of the BikeHouston board of directors, who has been an active advocate for cycling issues and an LCI bicycle education instructor for more than twenty years.