I grew up in Houston and the thought of commuting by bicycle seemed insane. The city’s too much of a sprawl. It’s too hot. People don’t know how to drive. However a 5 year stint living in Seattle changed all that. I biked there almost the very year I moved. It was easier, cheaper, there was actual infrastructure that encouraged it and public transit made it convenient to lug your bike around should the weather or the distance prove to be too much for any level of rider. It is possible to live in a major city of garbage drivers (when you drive there, you’ll know) with ease and at a comfortable level of safety. In fact, the only accident I had there was with a pedestrian crossing the street illegally too focused on dodging traffic and failing to see me. I've had close calls with cars but none where I thought I might die. Growing up in Houston and I can tell you I've had more near death close calls with cars as a pedestrian than a cyclist.
Since moving back to Houston last year, I've continued my cycling. I'm very cautious and follow the traffic laws to my fitting just as to Houston drivers do. I equate my rolling through red lights or stop signs when there's no oncoming traffic to people speeding in their vehicles or running that last second turned red light. We are both in a hurry to get to where we need to go and are bending the rules. But the difference is drivers have a clear advantage over cyclists in damage to self and others. Drivers are encased in a steel frame with better braking/acceleration along with a better view of their surroundings not to mention the auto insurance to protect from physical and vehicle damage. Bike riders have none of that. No matter who’s at fault with these recent accidents, the cyclist suffers far more than the driver. My years of cycling have led me to be a more cautious and conscientious driver because I drive as if I’m cycling. One mistake and my life can be changed forever. I doubt a car hitting a cyclist will even trigger an airbag sensor. So complain about us and our requests for a safe lane or space all you want. It’s holds little water when you compare the damage done with reckless cycling against reckless driving. We choose this mode of transportation like you choose a compact sedan over a pick-up truck or vice versa. No matter the reason as to why (economic, convenience, lifestyle or hobby) we choose this mode of transportation, it’s ours to make and yours to respect. How do you feel when there's too many big rigs travelling on our freeways barreling through traffic? Don't you wish they had their own lane so they can drive freely and safely away from you? Why can’t bicyclists have the same courtesy?
I can't believe the utter disregard Houston drivers have for the laws and each other. Add bicycles to the mix…and I can see why drivers do drive off. They're car isn't damaged too much and this is a blame society. No one takes responsibility for their actions anymore. They're quick to blame other people, some new psychological disease/disability or whatever. If the cyclist wasn’t there, then this wouldn’t have happened. The same can be said if the driver wasn’t there either. Instead of placing blame, how about placing policy and plans for a safer environment for all commuters from two wheeled to the two legged to the four wheeled.