Last Wednesday morning (7/26/2017) commute gone wrong: a person driving a pick-up truck south on Heights Blvd turned right onto the I-10 feeder road striking a cyclist who was riding in the bike lane, hooking her handle bar in the truck’s rear wheel well and dragging her until she fell into the road. We’re happy to report that she survived the crash with minor injuries. We’re also able to report that the driver stopped and accepted responsibility for failing to yield the right of way.
Houston Fire Department was on the scene to check out the cyclist. Houston Police Department arrived to investigate and determined that the driver was at fault. Even so, no ticket was issued. This is wrong. BikeHouston is pressing Chief Art Acevedo to make good on his pledge to issue citations when drivers endanger cyclists and break traffic laws. This means re-orienting traffic officers and the Vehicular Crimes Division of HPD.
When data is collected at the end of the year, this crash will be just a blip on the radar: no serious injury, no fatality — just a ‘regular crash.’ But making our streets safe for cyclists and other vulnerable road users means paying attention to driver behavior at all times and re-evaluating the design elements of our streets and roads. The intersections where city streets cross under/over freeways are particularly hazardous. They can and must be made safer. The Energy Corridor Management District has made innovative improvements along the I-10 and Beltway 8 feeder roads that provide a model of possibility for other locations. We are working with TxDOT and City of Houston on this, and we are asking them to move more expediently.
What can you do? If you are in a crash, insist that HPD be called to investigate. Visit the BikeHouston web page: After a Crash. And record the crash on the Kinder Institute study page. It is important to all of us who ride bikes that this data is collected. It is evidence for the need to make our roads safer for all cyclists.