Houston needs to be bike friendly
Houston has an enormous amount of people who use the roads to express their need for speed, their hunger for adrenaline, a desire to sightsee and explore, and for health benefits. These people are not the idiotic drivers that cause wrecks and delays on the interstates; I’m talking about the Houstonians who belong to the cycling community.
Cyclists who belong to Houston love the city, admire its beauty and wish to keep it that way. They ride out to parks, they explore new neighborhoods, and they’re active in their community.
Unfortunately, Houston has yet to return the love back to the cycling community. Other than the occasional bike lane and a few bike trails, Houston’s roads and safety enforcement are relatively nonexistent.
The recession has placed all states in tight places monetarily, but activities within communities like cycling are ways for cities to grow in a positive way. Spending state budget money on bike trails, increasing the number of law enforcement officers on bicycles and city jobs created around those cycling friendly areas would create only positive benefits.
Building cycling lanes and cycling trails gives people incentives to move to Houston, and they bring more revenue by coercing people out of their houses and into town on the weekends.
One of my first rides was through the downtown grid. That ride forever changed my perspective on downtown. As I approached Discovery Green Park I felt like I had discovered a part of Houston that was worth being part of on early Saturday mornings.
Cycling shops in Houston are increasing, contributing to small business growth. Bike Houston.org is the central cycling Web site for Houston and has all the information a cyclist might want when thinking about riding.
Bike Houston is not alone, either; there are many other organizations and groups built around the city that are supported by the cycling community.
Cyclists like myself can only hope that City officials recognize the potential within this part of our great city. It is then crucial for those officials to relay the importance to state officials and ultimately for our state government to lobby for funding.
The University of Houston even has their own cycling organization that represents UH, among other cycling enthusiasts.
Texas needs more communities like cyclists and those others that get out and enjoy everything that is naturally wonderful about our state.
Andrew Taylor is an Economics senior and may be reached at [email protected]