Cycling enthusiast proposes ‘Safe Cycling’ campaign to Houston City Council

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by Rekha Muddaraj / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 7:23 PM

HOUSTON -- Justin Shoemake, 25, has been riding a bicycle for a very long time.

“As long as I can remember,” he said, “I really don’t know a life without bikes.”

In fact, it’s his only mode of transportation and he even works at a bike shop.

But a recent accident has left him grounded.

On January 11, while riding home from a bar on Washington Avenue just before midnight, Shoemake says he was hit by a car.

“My lights are still attached to my bike,” said Shoemake, “They were on and blinking. I wasn’t invisible.”

According to Shoemake, he was riding westbound on Washington Avenue. But when he made his way to the middle lane to make a left turn, a car going eastbound hit him.

“I rode on the car for about 20 feet or so,” said Shoemake.

Drifting in and out of consciousness, he was taken to Ben Taub hospital with a broken leg and sprained wrist.

It was there, in his backpack, he found a ticket from an HPD officer for failing to stay in a single lane.

“The only reason they would do that kind of ticket is if someone was swerving all over the road,” Shoemake said. “But if I’m in a center turn lane and crossing, that’s normal.”

Twenty three cyclists have died on Houston streets in the past five years.

Among those victims is Chelsea Norman, who was riding her bike home from Whole Foods, when she was killed by a hit-and-run driver in December.

Because of this, cycling enthusiast and competitor Dan Morgan went before the city council Wednesday, hoping to find a solution to the rising tension between drivers and cyclists.

“It used to be the people that had ridden smartly, they weren’t getting hit – they weren’t part of the statistics, they are part of the statistics now,” Morgan said.

He agrees both drivers and cyclists need to make changes, but says drivers should take extra care.

“You don’t read about cyclists killing people in cars,” said Morgan.

Although there are bike lanes in the city, drivers often complain that cyclists don’t stay in their lane, run red lights, and often times don’t wear reflective clothing or have lights on their bicycles.

But Morgan says those cyclists are in the minority.

“There would be a whole lot more deaths in the city,” said Morgan. “The perception that all these cyclists are rogue and don’t obey the laws, the data doesn’t back that up.”

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