Galveston Bike Ordinance

Front and rear bicycle lights hang on a wall at Island Bicycle Company in Galveston on Monday,Nov. 12, 2018. Lights will become mandatory for night riding on May 1.

Come May 1, cyclists on Galveston Island will be required to display lights on their bikes when riding on public roads after dark.

The move, not without critics, is a good one — and one we believe will greatly elevate the quality of life on the island.

Road safety is important for both drivers and cyclists. For the price of a fancy coffee and pastry, one can pick up a light for a bike — thus greatly increasing the odds of being seen by both drivers and pedestrians.

Putting people, pedals and multi-ton vehicles on the same patch of real estate is a dangerous proposition in itself. But lights are a proven method to greatly enhance the visibility of cyclists sharing the road. Lights save lives.

But then comes the rub, what about the expense?

While every cyclist without lights is encouraged to visit a local bike shop and get lit up, there are local people stepping forward to help purchase lights for those who may need assistance.

Linda Strevell is one of those people. Galveston Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association volunteer group is working with the Galveston Police Department to help support the Light Your Bike Safety Partnership.

Consisting of other residents and business owners throughout the community, Strevell’s group is the collection point for money raised to help provide lights to police officers.

The officers, in turn, will make them available free to those who need them during the rollout. Locally connected companies and organizations such as MOD Coffee House and the United Way immediately stepped forward and more are expected.

The idea is that police will initially use this opportunity to pass out lights to riders they see during the normal course of their day. Additionally, there will be distribution points set up around town as well as during select community events.

This effort will be both an education and distribution process — both of which will take time. After an initial period of handing out lights, the program will move toward enforcement of the law.

Also, several larger employers in town are already purchasing lights for their employees —underscoring their commitment to both their employees and the community.

As a resident or local business owner, you can help, too.

A donation of any amount will be appreciated, and each dollar donated will go directly to placing a light on a bike in the community.

A donation of $25, $50, $100, $500, or more will go directly to placing lights on the bikes of children and adults in the community. We encourage you to help if you are able.

To make a donation, please send a check to the Light Your Bike program care of the Galveston Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.

From there, Linda Strevell will ensure your donation will put a light on a bike in Galveston. And you will know you have played an important and direct role helping someone in need and potentially helped avoid an unfortunate accident.

If you have been looking to do something meaningful to help the community, this is an excellent opportunity.

• Leonard Woolsey

Editor’s note: The Daily News is contributing to the Light My Bike fund.

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

(3) comments

Bailey Jones

A terrific idea! [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Richard Illyes

This is very important, and not just for nighttime. I often drive a stretch of blacktop near Alvin that is popular for cyclists. Most have a bright red light in the rear, but a few appear to have a death wish. Wearing grey spandex on a black frame bike on an overcast day makes them impossible to see when they go under a big patch of deep shade, and these people seem obsessed with making themselves as invisible as possible. If you can afford the bike and the spandex you can afford a bright rear facing light.

Steve Fouga

Very true! Unfortunately, lights bright enough to be effective in daylight are a lot more expensive than nighttime lights. A good alternative is bright clothing. Wearing day-glo or "safety" colors, or even white, makes a cyclist much more visible than, as you say, gray spandex.

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