Jose Mendez-Manzano, a 63-year-old cyclist and fresh produce vendor, was killed in a hit and run accident on Saturday. Eduardo Torres, age 30, was charged with failure to stop and render aid. Houston police say Torres turned himself in days after the accident. However, this was not until after bicyclists involved with Bike Houston and Ghost Bike, a group known for its memorials throughout Houston marking the locations of fatal bike accidents, put up posters describing the hit and run. Members of Ghost Bike acquired photos of Eduardo Torres’ pickup. The photos showed Torres’ pickup truck fleeing the scene of the accident. The witnesses who took the photos were initially reluctant to come forward and speak with police.
The death of Jose Mendez-Manzano is yet another tragic event in which a Houston cyclist has been killed or seriously injured by a motor vehicle. City officials are working on a plan to help protect Houston cyclists. Officials say the city’s first on-street bike lane could open as early as this month. Michael Payne, the executive director of Bike Houston, said the new bike lane is crucial to the safely of cyclists in Houston. The bike lane will help protect cyclists getting from the Buffalo Bayou trails to the heavily used Columbia Tap Trail. This trail is located just east of downtown and runs past Texas Southern University. Construction is currently underway on a federal grant-funded project which will create a bike lane leading to the George R. Brown Convention Center.