With summer just around the corner, many Houstonians will be taking to the streets on their bicycles in search of recreational fun or sport. With this increased number of cyclists comes the increased risk of injury. According to a study by the Transportation for America, in 2013, Houston ranked ninth out of the top ten most dangerous cites in the United States for bicycle riders.
In March of 2014, Mayor Annise Parker announced her new “Zero Fatalities” campaign. The goal of this campaign is to limit the number of bicycle accidents each year in Houston. One aspect of the Zero Fatalities campaign is to educate the public on the Houston, Texas, Code of Ordinances Chapter 45, Article XII. Sec. 45-44. The city ordinance mandates that any vehicle passing by a bicyclist maintain a three-foot minimum distance and any vehicle following behind a bicyclist maintain a six-foot minimum safety zone from the bicyclist. In addition to the public awareness aspect of “Zero Fatalities”, Mayor Parker is funding a plan to look into the creation of on-street bike lanes.
While cyclists wait for safer on-street bike lanes, they can still take steps to help prevent injury. Wearing protective gear such as bicycle helmets or reflective cloths and bands are good safety measures that should be taken by riders before they hit the road. Another safety feature that should be worn by cyclists is a “Road I.D.” A Road I.D. is a bracelet worn by the cyclist with the riders name, phone number, blood type, emergency contact information, and any medical conditions he/she may have. While this bracelet may not prevent injury, it may assist in getting the rider the required care in the event of an emergency.