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Targeting Bike Killers

Officials seek help to solve hit-and-run cycling accidents and promote bike safety

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bike run over by truck with yellow spray paint marking it
Mayor Annise Parker hopes to reduce the number of cyclist deaths with the 'Goal Zero' campaign. Photo by Russ Henderson
BikeHouston at CrimeStoppers at City Hall May 2014 with Mayor Annise Parker
BikeHouston presented Crime Stoppers executive director Rania Mankarious with a $2,500 check to help investigate hit-and-run crimes against cyclists. Photo by Elizabeth Rhodes
Chelsea Norman bicycle killed Whole Foods cyclist hit and run RIP
Cyclist Chelsea Norman was killed by  hit-and-run cyclist last December. alysepauline/Twitter
bike run over by truck with yellow spray paint marking it
BikeHouston at CrimeStoppers at City Hall May 2014 with Mayor Annise Parker
Chelsea Norman bicycle killed Whole Foods cyclist hit and run RIP

In her ongoing effort to reduce cyclist deaths in Houston, Mayor Annise Parker announced a $2,500 donation from BikeHouston to Crime Stoppers of Houston on Thursday at City Hall.

In the press conference, Parker highlighted the high number of hit-and-run cycling accidents which have occurred in the past year, citing nine incidents since December.

"Unfortunately, when there is an accident between a vehicle — a motorized vehicle — and a bicycle, the bicycle always loses," Parker said. "And too often the bicyclist loses."

 "Unfortunately, when there is an accident between a vehicle — a motorized vehicle — and a bicycle, the bicycle always loses," Parker said. "And too often the bicyclist loses." 

"If you recall, it's due to great investigative work and collaboration with Crime Stoppers that the City of Houston was able to solve the hit and run that killed Chelsea Norman," said Parker, referencing the tragic hit-and-run incident on Waugh Drive which led to the 24-year-old's death last December.

Thanks to a tip given to Crime Stoppers, Houston's leading public safety non-profit organization, investigators were able to ultimately file charges against 35-year-old Margaret Renee Mayer for failing to stop and render aid to the cyclist she hit with her car.

Michael Payne, the executive director of BikeHouston — a non-profit organization which promotes safe cycling in the city — commended the mayor and Crime Stoppers on their successful investigation of Norman's case, as well as for their help in making Houston safer on a daily basis. In order to help them continue to investigate hard-to-solve cases like hit-and-runs, BikeHouston donated $2,500 to Crime Stoppers. 

Two unresolved accidents

Rania Mankarious, executive director of Crime Stoppers, made sure to highlight two recent unsolved hit-and-run accidents. One occurred on March 16 in the 14000 block of the Northwest Freeway, where a 49-year-old man was struck by a car while riding his bike. He sustained serious head injuries in the accident.

The other incident occurred in the 8200 block of Harrisburg on January 13 and involved 40-year-old Nabor Rosas-Inclan. He was struck by an unknown vehicle, effectively throwing him over the bridge he was riding on and into Brays Bayou where his body was later discovered.

Crime Stoppers is asking for anyone with information about these crimes to call their tipline, 713-222-TIPS. 

"While we devote just as much time, attention and energy to these incidents as we do to any other, because they are so dangerous to the cyclists and the potential to have devastating long-term consequences for the human being on that bicycle, we're going to put a little extra attention to these both accidents and crimes involving cyclists. And the public can help in that," Parker said.

By enlisting the assistance of Houstonians, both in reporting crimes and helping prevent them, Parker hopes to reduce the number of cyclist deaths in the city to zero, which is the goal of the 'Goal Zero' campaign she started in March. By expanding safe lanes for cyclists, increasing bike trails and more strictly enforcing the Safe Passing Ordinance, the campaign hopes to make Houston a safe city for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

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