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Houston ranks among 10 most dangerous U.S. cities for cyclists

Houston ranks among 10 most dangerous U.S. cities for cyclists

White Oak bayou Buffalo Bayou trail link Houston
Houston cyclists face myriad dangers in a car town.  Photo by F. Carter Smith

As local cyclists are painfully aware, as lovely as a 10-speed or mountain bike spin on a sunny day can be, the ride can come with serious risks — even fatal. A recently released report confirms that imminent danger, as Houston is listed as the sixth-most dangerous city for cyclists in the nation.

The study comes courtesy of Your Local Security, which has ranked the Safest U.S. Cities for Cyclists. To determine the safest and least safe US cities for bikers, the organization gathered metrics and data from Census.gov, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, People for Bikes, and The League of American Bicyclists to find the percentage of bike commuters, number of fatal crashes, amount of bike lanes, and what bike laws are in place or in the works in each city. Cities included had populations of 20,000 or more. A formula using a 100-point scale was then created, with fatal bike crashes rated the highest determining factor.

Houston ranks just behind Los Angeles (No. 1) and New York City (No. 2) as the most dangerous large American city for cyclists, with small town Fargo, North Dakota ahead of Houston at No. 5. The report finds Davis, California as the safest city in America for bikers — and several California cities in the top 10.

The report notes that the top 10 safest cities for cyclists all had higher percentages of people biking to work and that those particular cities have many bike safety laws in place. The report will hardly shock any regular Houston cyclist, as the posturing between cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians gets more tense as our car city grows and the Inner Loop gets more dense.

In a positive spin, Houston is making strides for cyclists, with new trails developed within the city. And in good news for the Lone Star State (and Aggies), the study finds Bryan as the safest city for cyclists in Texas.