Transportation

Houston Cyclists Appeal For Safer Streets At The Annual “Ride Of Silence”

The ride was dedicated in memory of a young man killed in a recent crash in the Heights.

Group bike rides around Houston are often filled with music and conversation, but Wednesday night’s ride was silent with bikers dressed in white shirts. It was part of a worldwide event to call attention to bike safety.

This year’s Ride of Silence was dedicated in memory of 23-year-old David Loya, who was killed in March when he was hit by a school bus on Heights Boulevard. Several of Loya’s family members were there wearing memorial t-shirts bearing his picture.

“My son loved riding his bike and he thought Heights was the safest spot because they have the bike lane and everything,” said his father Felipe Pinales. He told News 88.7 he’d like to see stricter penalties for people who hit cyclists. “You still have the drivers out there who don’t care and we want to bring that awareness out that cyclists are people too.”

The organizer of Houston’s Ride of Silence was cycling activist Rose Nolen, who said bikers also have to do their part to keep the streets safe.

“I’ve seen cyclists just as guilty as cars,” said Nolen. “I wouldn’t put the blame on one or the other because I think we’re all in it together and it’s about saving lives and it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. It’s a matter of stopping it so it doesn’t occur as often.”

Before they departed from City Hall on their ride, cyclists heard from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who said the city has to start developing more multi-modal infrastructure moving forward. That includes new designated bike lanes.

“We have to make sure that the lanes that we build are safe for bicyclists to ride so they can go from point A to point B without being injured or killed,” said Turner. “One death is one death too many.”

Turner said he’s been in conversations with Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis about allocating more Precinct One funds for bike projects.

As for other initiatives, the mayor said the city will soon make changes at the intersection of Main Street and Sunset near Rice University where two cyclists have died in crashes. Plans are also underway to hire a Safe Streets Coordinator who will serve as a cycling advocate at City Hall.

The organization Bike Houston says at least five cyclists have been killed so far this year on city streets.

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

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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