In a long-overdue move, the City of Houston has passed an ordinance intended to make the roads safer for bicyclists and other non-car users of the road.
How enforceable it is, we'll find out. Until then, it's important to arm yourself with KNOWLEDGE!!, and the best way to do it is by taking our six-question quiz on the subject. Get those No. 2 pencils sharpened, and no cheating!
6) Drivers have to stay at least three feet away from bicyclists. This makes the relationship between drivers and bicyclists the equivalent of the relationship between:
a) J-Lo's personal assistants and J-Lo b) Strip-club patrons and strippers, supposedly c) An Astro's bat and an incoming pitch d) A driver going 75 mph on an amazingly traffic-free Southwest Freeway and the car in front of him.
5) The new law says Houston drivers "cannot maneuver their vehicle to intimidate or harass someone." This is like telling:
a) Picasso he can't use a paintbrush b) KTRH/KPRC-AM hosts they can't just make up stuff about Obama c) Mayor Annise Parker that she can't wear Mom Jeans d) All of the above.
4) The law defines a "vulnerable driver" thusly:
walkers or runners; the physically disabled, such as someone in a wheelchair; a stranded motorist or passengers; highway construction, utility or maintenance workers; tow truck operators; cyclists; moped, motor-driven cycle and scooter drivers; or horseback riders.
After reading this list, most Houstonians say:
a) "For the love of Pete, who's not vulnerable?" b) "What about that dancing guy on Waugh & Allen Parkway?" c) "Or Aqualung in Montrose?" d) "Horseback riders"? Really? What is this, Mayberry?
3) Before this passed, Houston was the only major city in Texas without:
a) A baseball team that could consistently win against Triple-A teams b) a "safe-passing law" c) Decent pizza d) An intense jealousy of Houston.
2) The law says a driver "may not throw any object or substance at or against the vulnerable road user." What loopholes will Houston drivers find?
a) "At" or "against" -- doesn't say nothing about "on." b) What if you were throwing your object or substance towards something right behind the VD (vulnerable driver) and the VD just happened to get in the way? c) I don't see anything about spitting!!! d) Can you throw something at his bike? Like, right between the spokes?
1) What key part of a solid bicycling ordinance is missing from the new law?
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SHOW ME HOW
a) "Those low-to-the-ground recumbent bikes are barred on grounds of excessive nerdery" b) "If a bicyclist cannot attach his bike to a Metro bus in less than two minutes, he or she is walking." c) "Houston Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman is hereby barred forever from kvetching about lousy drivers threatening innocent bicyclists. (Oh, and while we're at it, let's add professional wrestling, Paul McCartney and where to get the best pizza in New York and/or Rome)" d) "If a rider's bicycle costs more than a driver's used car, all bets are off."
Finally, some proof that Houston is a bicyclist's town, from our Abrahan Garza: