Figures from the League of American Bicyclists show a 62 percent increase in the number of Houston residents who commute by bicycle.
City of Houston Bicyclist-Pedestrian Coordinator Dan Raine says some cyclists use bike lanes and trails to get to their jobs. Others bike part of the way, and make the rest of the trip by bus. They can attach their bike to a rack on the front grill. If it’s a park-and-ride bus, they can stow it in the luggage compartment.
“I’ve known some people that actually ended up selling their cars and going to a one-car family. People lose weight. They find that they just have a little less stress in their life, because they’re able to get out there and get the exercise that they need.”
The city of Houston has around 460 miles of bikeways. There are trails that meander along scenic bayous. Others run along rail beds that pass through historic neighborhoods.
But Raine says the city needs more than just trails to make bike commuting attractive. He says businesses can do their part by providing facilities for employees who bike.
“There is a misnomer that, ‘Oh, my co-worker rides to work. He’s going to smell like sweat all day.’ And that’s not really the case. I mean, you can provide some type of facility to clean up. And leaving your clothes at work is one way to make it easier.”
Security is also an issue. Raine says businesses can encourage bicycle riding by allowing employees to bring their bikes inside, or by providing a secure parking area outside for both workers and customers.
“If there are honest eyes looking at the bike and a lot of people walking around it, while the bicycle parking itself doesn’t interfere with pedestrian movement, it’s going to be a lot more secure and a lot more inviting for people to want to use their bicycle.”