The Wheel World
A fine job: Thank you for a well-researched, well-written article ["Ghost Riders," by John Nova Lomax, October 8].
I am a cyclist who commutes more often than not the easy four miles to my job. This city is full of pathetic drivers who just do not recognize that bicyclists have rights. And indeed, those "bike lanes" are a joke and are dangerous — thank you, Mayor Brown, for creation of that nonsense; the feds should have yanked the ISTEA money back. Metro drivers especially ignore those lines. At least we got bike racks; Metro had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the likes of Robin Holzer and others into backing off false arguments it had used for years to avoid installing them. I'm hoping you have noted that the bike racks are well utilized — a sure sign that bicycling can be a viable mode of transport in Houston if we are given the few tools we need. Again, much appreciate the reporting.
Three feet, thank you: Thanks for shining a light on the cycling situation in Houston. I'm stoked to have a megaphone shoved in my face and have someone interested in my cyclist's point of view. I would like to add to my quotes (some colorfully worded) that I find the vast majority of Houston motorists very courteous to cyclists. I want to thank all the friendly motorists who give a wide berth to cyclists on the road. Three feet of space between your car and a cyclist is what we ask for, and most drivers give us at least that. I know it's sometimes frustrating to change lanes and pass a person on a bike, and I thank every driver who passes safely. Just remember, that cyclist is a person like you and me, and many of your friends and family are out there riding, too.
One-sided: Normally I really enjoy Houston Press's cover stories, but John Nova Lomax's piece on cycling barely qualified as journalism. It was just a one-sided rant about the state of cycling in Houston. Lomax didn't cover the other side at all, not until a few throwaway lines at the end of the article.
I'm from Seattle, and I hated cyclists there, too. Cyclists everywhere take up the street riding two abreast at 10 mph on busy arterials; they ride without lights or reflective gear; they think they're entitled to the road but they aren't subject to laws. They speed through red lights, shoot across the street without signaling and crash through crosswalks full of pedestrians. I keep getting told that they have the same rights as cars, but they can't keep up with cars, and they don't think they have to obey the rules. What gives?
Now, I do feel conflicted because I have nothing against cycling itself, just the attitudes of cyclists. But I believe more bike paths need to be constructed and cyclists need to keep away from cars. I like to ride with my school-age kids and wish there were more safe places to take them. But just because I have a "right" to take them down Barker Cypress at rush hour doesn't mean it's the responsible thing to do.
Rios was cycling at dusk, and if he did have a light, he had only bought one several weeks before, which really makes me doubt the veracity of that claim. (If he rode all the time, why didn't he always have a light? That's just irresponsible.) Cyclists, cars and pedestrians are all practically invisible at dusk without some sort of light or reflective clothing. But somehow it was the Bud Light driver's (and Silver Eagle's) fault?
The Bud Light driver had to endure a trial and will always carry the guilt of having killed someone. Now he's been trashed in the Houston Press, with no evidence whatsoever that he did anything negligent. And the Leigh Boone sidebar was absolutely irrelevant. She just happened to be there and on her bicycle. Her death is tragic, but if she had been a mother with a stroller standing on that street corner, you wouldn't be reporting it at all.
Online readers weigh in:
Thanks, John: Thanks for shining light on the Houston bike scene.
Really? The Night Rider All Stars had to be told by a cop that they needed lights? I'm a cyclist and a careful driver. I do not text while driving, and I always watch for bicycles. I can't tell you how many times I've been driving at night and been scared absolutely out of my mind by an invisible bicycle without lights, ridden by someone wearing dark clothing. Sorry. Serious cyclists know they need to take responsibility for their visibility. That means front and rear lights, preferably flashing, and reflective, or at least light-colored, clothing. I'm not blaming Rios, but I hope the cyclists who read this learn from this tragedy and do everything they can to make themselves visible.
Death on the road: Motorists will try to kill you for being on their road. I finally had to retreat to the sidewalks and back roads. The bike lanes are a joke. I've never, ever seen them used. If you make it a habit of commuting west of the West Loop, sooner or later you will die or be seriously injured. It is just not worth it.
Follow the rules: Basic rules of the road are often overlooked by cyclists either too hip to stop on their single-speed bikes, those who just don't care, or those who are just ignorant.
Just because you are on a bike does not mean you have the right to run red lights and stop signs. According to the State of Texas, cyclists are vehicles. You wouldn't run a red light in your car — why do it on a bike?
This is what annoys me about our local "critical mass" group. You want to be respected on the road, but you fail to follow the rules of that road.
Killer cars: Marmer wrote, "I'm not blaming Rios." You just wrote a wall of text blaming Rios. People like you — especially people like you who try to justify your hatred of cyclists by mentioning that you pedal your Walmart special down to the corner store for a six-pack and a bag of Fritos every couple of months and thus you know exactly what a real cyclist deals with every day — are the reason I have to assume everything with four wheels and an engine is actively trying to kill me every single day, and ride accordingly.
Bike lights: Cisco purchased a high-powered LED headlight and blinking LED taillight from I Cycle about a week or so before he was run over. He had lights. A picture of the crime scene shows the light shining through the plastic Haz-Mat bag where they placed the evidence from the wreck. He had lights, and the other side is lying and saying he did not. I sold him those lights and remember the transaction and conversation when he said he was warned by a cop to get lights, and he did.
Scare tactics: I have a 50-mile, round-trip bicycle commute. If the goal of that story was to scare people away from riding their bikes, then I have to say they knocked out of the park. Just another crap piece by a shock-jock journalist.
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