[Video] The Ghost Bikes of Houston
With Critical Mass launching off tonight at Market Square Park downtown, tensions are bound to be high between motorists and cyclists as bike enthusiasts swarm the streets. The controversial event, whose participants have been nicknamed "Critical Massholes," has a reputation for holding up after-work Friday traffic, corking through red lights and straight up drunken brawls. Some cyclists say Critical Mass gives them a bad name -- others argue biking needs to gain visibility on Houston's sometimes bike-hostile roads and the monthly event is one way to forcibly take back the street. Earlier this year, the Houston Police Department offered Critical Mass participants an escort for a fee... but cyclists elected to chance it free. Recently, the police have been keeping watch anyway.
The folks at Ghost Bike are just asking for some distance between motorists and cyclists: dedicated bike lanes and three feet of space as required by city ordinance. They've erected dozens of white memorial bikes throughout Houston and nearby towns, each one a sobering reminder to share the streets. Watch what goes on behind the scenes of the project.