When aggressive drivers threaten cyclists, there are usually few consequences even when their actions break the law. But in Houston, cyclists have a new ally in the form of plainclothes police officers on bike.
According to a release from Houston Mayor Annise Parker, police officers are now pedaling the streets in plain clothes to catch drivers disobeying a new safety ordinance that requires a 3-foot passing distance between bikes and cars.
“What that simply means is that there are officers out there on bicycles, dressed as normal citizens, who are just riding around town,” Mark Eisenman, a Houston Police Department assistant chief, told KHOU 11 News in Houston.
On March 25, Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the city and BikeHouston will also create a Bicycle Master Plan for the City as part of the Goal Zero Fatalities Bike Safety Campaign.
“As the name of this program implies, the goal is to end cycling fatalities,” Parker said. “Whether on a bike or behind the wheel, we have to abide by the rules of the road and learn how to share the road safely.”
“Unfortunately, a spate of recent bicycle fatalities on Houston streets indicates there is much work to be done in this area. As a first step, I am dedicating $50,000 toward the cost of a Bicycle Master Plan that will guide our future decisions regarding placement of dedicated on-street bike lanes and infrastructure.”