Galveston Island needs to figure out how to make itself a safer place for bicyclists.

One does not need to drive too far to see cyclists riding across a parking lot or in and out of traffic along the seawall. There is something undeniable about coming to the beach and wanting to take in the scenery from two wheels.

But, unfortunately, Galveston is trailing the rest of the nation in welcoming cyclists. With its beautiful scenery, flat riding surfaces, and laid-back attitude, Galveston is just the type of place where cycling should be embraced.

Furthermore, anyone who has been along the seawall during high season knows it sure wouldn’t hurt to have a few people leave their cars at the hotel and ride around town on a bike.

Currently, we have pedestrians and cyclists sharing the same small spaces along the seawall or sidewalks. This is less than ideal — or safe — for either party.

Texas is home to some of the most progressive cycling communities in the nation — Austin is practically a poster child for figuring out how to create a place for those who’d like to cycle.

Considering how compact the footprint of our island is, wouldn’t it make sense to create an atmosphere where people — particularly the younger tech crowd — would feel welcome to commute?

We have all these great buildings in downtown Galveston that seem to attract the new kind of immigrant, the one who shows up with a laptop and bicycle and is not interested in commuting 50 miles to work each day.

Last month, Galveston Island was the unfortunate location for another cyclist’s death — an experienced cyclist along FM 3005.

Let’s get with the national trend, begin some research and make this island cyclist-friendly.

 • Leonard Woolsey

(18) comments

Steve Fouga

I can't tell whether Leonard or Heber was responsible for this article, but in my opinion it's spot on.

I'll add that the West End is excellent territory for the more avid cyclists and triathletes (as opposed to commuters). It would be easy to provide signage the full length of FM 3005, reminding motorists that cyclists might be present. Signs do make a difference in cyclists' safety.

George Croix

All you have to do is paint some stripes on the road and label them Bike Lanes...[wink]

Look, cyclists, even the arrogant as_ ones who 'could' move over and let a quarter mile long string of traffic pass but don't, have a right to the roads, as vehicles do.
Is the problem really one of law or municipal accomodation, or is it one of attitude and actions of the people involved?
If it's really Option 2, good luck with ever finding a fix for that.

Steve Fouga

"All you have to do is paint some stripes on the road and label them Bike Lanes... "

gecroix, this is literally true. Most motorists respect a cyclist's right to a bike lane more than a traffic lane. Cheap solution.

"Is the problem really one of law or municipal accomodation, or is it one of attitude and actions of the people involved?
If it's really Option 2, good luck with ever finding a fix for that."

The laws are adequate. If they were followed, things would be safer for cyclists. Municipal accommodation -- bike lanes, signage, dedicated trails -- is a huge plus, but costs money that Galveston doesn't have. Now, the instant someone could show that safer, better cycling opportunities would bring tourists to G-Town, there would be trails and lanes popping up wherever they could be fit in. But that isn't the case.

As for Option 2, the arrogant cyclists who don't ride as far to the right as practical -- as the law requires -- need a lesson in civility and humility. I'm not sure there's any cure for the yahoos that buzz law-abiding cyclists, honking their horns and yelling "Eff you, Lance!" If a cyclist truly wants a friendly atmosphere, he may just have to move to Austin, Colorado, Oregon, or Europe...

George Croix

For once I actually meant it at face value. It's a cost effective way to make an improvement. That's why the wink...not much need to look for a big solution when a small fix will get the ball rolling at least to some degree while other things are considered. Overthinking breeds inaction.
The second part, though, is still true...on both sides...
No way to fix that...

I DO think, though, that there should be a law against shoving 100 pounds of meat into a 20 pound Spandex public...[beam][beam][beam]

GW Cornelius

Best place for bikes is off the road. They slow traffic and the riders think they own the road. They need to yield to cars or deal with it.

Steve Fouga

Off the road is a great place for bikes, but not the best. (I'm just guessing, but I doubt you're an accomplished cyclist, so I'm not taking your pronouncement as authoritative.)

The best place for bikes is on dedicated trails. Another good place is on the shoulders of roads and highways. In neither of these places do bikes pose an obstacle to motorists. Think about it. Do you often drive on the shoulder or on a bike trail?

If you've driven in Galveston much, you'll have noticed that poor drivers, tourists, trolleys, and horse-drawn carriages also slow traffic. It's a resort area, for crying out loud, not an oil-patch boomtown or a metropolis. So YOU deal with it!

BTW, cyclists do own the road. We paid for it just like you did.

Joel Martin

Sorry Jake but I totally disagree with you on this one. Roads are for cars. We pay for them with gas taxes and bikers need to ride where they are not an obstruction to motorists. Move to Oregon if you need to get some exercise.:)

Steve Fouga

Thanks for your input, but state law says you're wrong. And did you even read my post? Are bikes on a shoulder an obstruction to you? If you can't keep your car in a traffic lane, maybe off-road is the best place for you!

BTW, the gas tax doesn't even pay for half the cost of a road. We're ALL paying for our roads. I pay school taxes even though I don't have a child in school. Your taxes are paying for the national defense even if you're a pacifist. And so on...

Just don't let your annoyance with cyclists cause you to hit one.

Jim Casey

I ride a bicycle everywhere possible.

My wife and I also own two cars and a house and pay all the taxes associated with them. We have both been working for over 40 years and pay federal income tax. We buy a lot of stuff, mostly in Galveston, and pay sales taxes on that.

Please don't assume that everyone who rides a bicycle is a hippie or bum that lives under the Pleasure Pier.

- Jim

Kevin Lang

If gas taxes were going to pay for 100% of the cost of road construction and maintenance, we'd probably be looking at $6/gallon in the urban areas. Much of our binge of road construction in the Houston/Galveston area is being subsidized by the generosity of taxpayer in other parts of the state and country. Those motorists that are out on the bicycles are actually saving the taxpayers money by not imposing the wear and tear on our roads that cars generate. I'd bet that most of them got their bikes to the seawall in the backs or on the roofs of their cars or trucks.

Also, those cyclists riding 10 miles out and 10 miles back on the seawall, are going to be much hungrier than those out there in their cars and pickups. A much better recipe for them leaving a few extra dollars in the tills of Galveston's many restaurants.

Mary Branum

I am okay with adding bike lanes. I am not okay with the idiots on bikes that cross in front of cars without looking or meandering down the street from one side to the other.

Darn near hit on the other day, then he screams at me for not looking when I did see him. He is on one side of the street then takes off to the other without looking for traffic.

Also would like to know the purpose of sidewalks when the majority walk down the middle of the street. A women with 2 kids and a baby stroller walking in the middle of the road on 35th when there is a wide sidewalk to her left. She wouldn't move over and cars trying to get around her!

Steve Fouga

Frankly, pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the Island scares me to death, especially in tourist season.

I differentiate between people riding bikes on central-city streets, disobeying every traffic law on the books, and fitness cyclists riding according to the law on the shoulder of a highway, or making every effort to ride as far to the right as possible. The former are either not knowledgeable of the law, or they are a-holes. The latter are to be respected for their desire to stay in shape. The same is true of tourists haphazardly crossing major thoroughfares versus walkers and runners exercising and purposefully following a predictable path down a sidewalk or on the proper side of a city street.

But when driving a vehicle, we have to be attentive to all of them. Annoying, isn't it. Life in a resort community.

George Croix

Hate to tell you, but for some of those riders that desire ain't bearing much good results...yet...[beam]
Reference previous comment vis a vis overstuffed Spandex....[beam][beam]
I also wish to point out to the folks less willing to argue with a 6000 pound truck from the seta of a 15# aluminum bicycle that good diet and regularly weight training and vigorous exercise makes it possible to stay in shape and do your riding around on the seat of a 4x4 Ford pickup.
It's easier for me to clean the bugs off the windshield than out of my teeth... [beam][beam][beam][beam][beam][beam]

George Croix

With the streetwalkers it's an issue of bad attitude and just plain stupid combined.
The former might be altered, but the latter is bone deep, and can't be fixed.
Worst part is the stupid woman is teaching her kids to be stupid.
In my old work truck I had an air horn off a diesel big rig set up. The little air tank was good for one 3 second blast before needing to build back up, but the ability for middle of the street morons to jump several feet sideways from a flat footed start was an athletic feat to behold... I knwo they enjoyed the experience, beecause as I drove by they all signaled that I was #1 with them...[beam][beam][beam][beam]
Of course, that would be inappropriate when a child or baby was involved - no sense having two stupid adults on scene...


I'm not having any warm fuzzy feelings for ppl on bikes lately. 2 going down 25th towards the strand Sat. night, blocking lanes, then when everyone stops at the light, they go around the cars to the front and ride through the red lights,,,bikes need to follow the road rules or stay off the road. Sign me ,,tired of dodging bikes

Kevin Lang

Beachykeen, while there are instances where blocking traffic may be their best alternative, my guess is that this wasn't one of them. If it's not for safety reasons, blocking traffic is antisocial. Running red lights, too, is antisocial. Slipping along the right shoulder up to the intersection is generally safer than hanging out with the rest of the pack of cars behind the light. However, if getting up to the light only puts them back into a blocking position, I would advise letting the pack of cars get ahead and then fall behind them. It may not keep them from blocking traffic, but at least it would keep them from consistently blocking the same set of cars.

We can't always do something about aggravated drivers. However, when we can, I'd prefer to use that ability to not contribute to it. Aggravated drivers and bicyclists is not a great recipe. If the driver goes over the edge, it's usually going to turn out worse for the cyclist than the driver. No sense tempting fate.

I agree that, for all vehicles, if you can't follow the rules, you need to get off the road. Somehow, if we could actually get that to happen, the road conditions would be so much better for both cyclists and motorists.

Steve Fouga

"bikes need to follow the road rules or stay off the road"

Yes. I am an avid cyclist and I believe this wholeheartedly.

Galveston has the most egregiously sloppy, law-breaking cyclists I've ever observed, and I've observed a bunch! Many of the cyclists are so breathtakingly foolhardy it's a wonder we don't lose a few every week to traffic accidents.

Mr Trevelise, the unfortunate gentleman whose demise prompted Heber's editorial, was not one of these. He was an accomplished cyclist killed by an inattentive motorist.

Michelle Kurtzweil Robach

My husband and I have discussed this several times. We like to walk our dogs and ride our bikes around town. We find it impossible in most areas. The sidewalks are non existent and in need of repair. I am just saying...if the sidewalks were better, most casual bikers might use them and stay off the roads??

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