Letters

Big Wheels

Bike safety for all:I was pleased with the feature ["Collision Course," by Craig Malisow, October 16]. It was well written, factual and well researched. It quoted many parties of interest and perspectives. It was intriguing reading -- it kept my interest to the end. It did not race to a conclusion or find fault.

Your story does present a conflict that can be solved only with cooperation by all parties: cyclists, motorists, law enforcement, TxDOT and governmental officials, among others. It is doubtful that it will ever go away. I am trying to do my part by riding safely (I have definitely become more compliant since joining The Woodlands Cycling Club) and have been trying to educate others by writing articles and by taking a leadership role.

Your article showed the tragedy experienced by the Brazosport Bike Club and highlighted similar experiences by the Woodlands club (there were two non-club-member fatalities and numerous other encounters that would have made another article). We think we're making some progress with the "Share the Road" signs (in cooperation with county officials) and in our meetings with TxDOT on designating bike routes.

We still have a long way to go. Until motorists realize they cannot go as fast as they want all of the time -- with or without paying full, undivided attention to driving -- we will continue to have accidents. And cyclists need to be sure they are taking steps to minimize the risks. We all need to respect the other vehicles with which we share the road.

Steve Schoger
The Woodlands

Schwinn or lose: I regularly share the roads between Seabrook and Rosharon with bicyclists and generally have no problem. However, most roads that I travel are the new-style FM type with very wide, paved shoulders that seem almost designed for bicyclists.

Even under these good conditions some bicyclists seem to enjoy deadly risk-taking. Most commonly this occurs when a pack of 20 or 30 Tour de France wannabes travel at high speed (about 25 mph, high for bicycles) in a dense peloton that moves out of the shoulder lane a little bit into the main lane because the riders are three or four abreast and because riders are moving left to pass within the peloton.

In the event of a mass crash, such as regularly occurs in the Tour de France, oncoming and overtaking cars and trucks will smush scattered, crashing cyclists like a herd of cane toads crossing the road.

Jay Bute
El Lago

Let's face it:As a cyclist and skater, though it may be wrong, I learned long ago to go against the traffic so you can see vehicles coming. It may not save you every time, but this area is obviously for cars only. You can either give yourself a chance by facing traffic, or risk getting hit with no warning. Law or no law, rights or no rights, dead is dead.

Don Dickerson
Magnolia

Sensational coverage: I just want to say how sensational the Houston Press is these days. In recent weeks you've covered quite an array of ways to die: cycling on the road, riding in an elevator ["Catching Elevators," by Wendy Grossman, October 9], as an aborted fetus ["Go, Baby, Go," by Michael Serazio, October 2].

The cover story ["Doing Time," by Scott Nowell, September 18] before your Best of Houston issue started with this line: "In 1985, Robert Sutten was standing in horror holding a pistol he'd just fired into the head of the mother of his two children."

Sensational. Just sensational.
John Ferguson

Houston

Protecting Who?

Facilities don't care:The likely permanent injury suffered by Kristen Turner when under custody of CPS or the "therapeutic" facility in which she was placed illustrates that she would have fared better had she just stayed with her own mother ["Attention Deficit," by Margaret Downing, October 16].

Most of these "therapeutic" facilities don't really care about helping the children in their care. All they are concerned with is controlling, managing and collecting tax money off them.

Name withheld by request
Houston

Give her a guardian: Why hasn't a long-term, dedicated guardian ad litem been appointed for this young lady? It seems to me that no one is looking out for this poor girl's best interests. I can't believe that no one thought this poor child didn't need a full-time adult to champion her. Don't even bother to tell me that an overloaded CPS caseworker is capable of staying on top of a situation like this. Please, please appoint a guardian ad litem to advocate for this child as soon as possible!

J.A. Harrell
Houston

A mother's thanks: Margaret, I wanted to thank you so much for being my daughter's angel and looking out for what is right for her.

Your story could not have been worded better. My family sends its thanks to you.

Elain Philpott
Port Neches

Getting Floored

Elevator cutbacks: Wendy Grossman, your article was excellent ["Catching Elevators," October 9]. I have been working on elevators for 38 years and have seen the industry decline because of greed at the top of the major brand companies.

If you were to investigate, the major companies cut personnel and increased workload to the extent that service is mostly performed only after the elevator has shut down. In Connecticut, ten years ago the average number of elevator units a mechanic was responsible for was between 50 and 55, and he saw them every month.

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