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Houston Police Say They Are Increasing Efforts to Keep Cyclists Safe

With school starting in just a few weeks, police are planning more targeted enforcement of Houston’s Safe Passing law. The ordinance says drivers have to maintain a three-foot distance when they are passing a cyclist.

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  • To enforce the ordinance police use a special radar device  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    To enforce the ordinance police use a special radar device (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • Cars have to stay three feet away from a bike. For big trucks that's six feet.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Cars have to stay three feet away from a bike. For big trucks that's six feet. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • Police demonstrate bike safety enforcement near downtown Houston.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Police demonstrate bike safety enforcement near downtown Houston. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • Police demonstrate enforcement of the Safe Passing ordinance  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Police demonstrate enforcement of the Safe Passing ordinance (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • Police demonstrate enforcement of the Safe Passing ordinance  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Police demonstrate enforcement of the Safe Passing ordinance (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • A police truck is used to demonstrate how officers enforce the Safe Passing ordinance  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    A police truck is used to demonstrate how officers enforce the Safe Passing ordinance (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • A police truck is used to demonstrate how officers enforce the Safe Passing ordinance (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    A police truck is used to demonstrate how officers enforce the Safe Passing ordinance (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )

On a warm morning east of downtown, Houston police demonstrated how they go after drivers who pass too close to cyclists.

For over a year now, police have been using a radar device that attaches to the handlebars of an undercover bike. It measures whether a driver is passing too close. It's been approved by the courts and police can use it to give tickets.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said everyone has to learn to share the road safely.

“It's very rare for somebody to be hit on a bicycle and not end up seriously injured or dead,” said Acevedo.

That increased enforcement is welcomed by the group Bike Houston. Advocacy Director Jessica Wiggins says cyclists are often frustrated because they don't feel they're being respected.

“We need everyone to be aware that we're on the road and more vulnerable than people in cars,” added Wiggins.

Acevedo says they'll target their enforcement to different parts of the city where you have a lot of cyclists. He says HPD will also ticket cyclists who break traffic laws.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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