Advocates raise safety concerns after 3 deadly crashes involving bicycles, scooters in January 2023

Briana Conner Image
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
2023 shaping up to be a deadly year for Houston bike, scooter riders
Even though 2023 just started, it's already shaping up to be a deadly year on the road for Houston riders. We're on pace to set a new record after three deadly crashes in January alone.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Even though 2023 just started, it's already shaping up to be a deadly year on the road for riders. In Harris County, two people on bikes and one person on an electric scooter have been killed in crashes so far. The two most recent incidents involve drivers who police said took off.

The first deadly crash of the year involving a cyclist happened in East Downtown on Jan. 9. Houston police said a speeding motorcycle driver collided with a man on a bicycle on Palmer Street near McKinney Street, killing them both.

Investigators said the motorcycle driver was going very fast, too fast for city streets, when he slammed into the man on the bicycle.

READ MORE: Bicyclist and motorcycle driver killed in 'very avoidable' crash in East Downtown, HPD says

Police said a man and his wife were in a dedicated bike lane, crossing the street with the right of way, when a speeding motorcycle slammed into the husband.

On Jan. 26, a man on an electric bicycle was riding on South Shepherd Drive near West Gray Street in River Oaks when someone hit and killed him, then took off, according to police.

The crash caused the man to lose control of his e-bike and go over the curb, coming to a stop on the sidewalk west of the roadway, HPD said.

SEE ALSO: HPD searching for hit-and-run driver after e-bike rider found dead on Shepherd Drive in River Oaks

Police said it's unclear if the man was struck by a driver or possibly suffered a medical emergency. He was not wearing reflective clothing or a helmet, investigators noted.

Then, on the morning of Jan. 29, HPD said a man riding a rented electric scooter was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Louisiana Street and Pease Street in downtown Houston when someone driving a truck ran a red light, causing the crash.

The driver took off, and officers at the scene said they didn't have any identifying information.

READ MORE: Man killed in hit-and-run crash while riding electric scooter in downtown Houston, police say

According to police, a pickup truck driving in the very left lane on Pease near Louisiana Street hit a man who was crossing the street on an electric scooter.

The most recent data available from TxDOT showed the number of deadly crashes going up each year since 2019 -- when 20 cyclists were killed in collisions with cars. In 2021, 23 cyclists were killed. That means we are on pace in 2023 to set a new record.

Joe Cutrufo, the executive director of BikeHouston, is advocating for Houston to become a more bike-friendly city in response to the recent deadly crashes.

"In a city where people speed with reckless abandon and in a city that has been designed for cars and cars only, it would be rolling out projects that help people get around more safely without a car that help people on foot crossing busy streets and help people on a bike get from place to place without having to take their lives into their own hands," Cutrufo said.

A city ordinance mandates that scooters, bikes, and cars all share the road downtown to help keep people walking on sidewalks safe. Cutrufo said it might not be the best solution for people on two wheels.

Cutrufo plans to address the city council about safety concerns during their meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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