Skip to main content

BABC Editor's Note: Bike riding in Houston can be a challenge. Heck it can be challenge just being a pedestrian. The City of Houston has just passed an ordinance to help protect vulnerable road users. So, heads up Houston drivers.

Houston Passes Ordinance to Protect Cyclists, 
Others from Vehicular Traffic

New Law Defines Space Needed to Maintain Traffic Safety for all Road Users

Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council this week unanimously approved an ordinance to protect Houston's cyclists and other vulnerable road users by requiring cars and other motor vehicles to keep a separation of more than three feet while passing, and trucks or commercial vehicles to keep a separation of more than six feet. The ordinance is effective immediately.

Vulnerable road users are defined as a walkers or runners; the physically disabled, such as someone in a wheelchair; a stranded motorist or passengers; highway construction, utility or maintenance workers; tow truck operators; cyclists; moped, motor-driven cycle and scooter drivers; or horseback riders.

In addition to requiring safe passing and trailing distances from vulnerable road users, this ordinance prohibits any motor vehicle occupant from throwing or projecting any object or substance at or against them.

BikeHouston, several state and local leaders and other groups advocated and/or voiced support for this ordinance, including: Senator Rodney Ellis, BikeTexas, AARP, Better Houston, Bikin' Babes, Citizen Transportation Coalition, Houston Access to Urban Sustainability Project, Houston Tomorrow, Northwest Cycling Club and Richmond Rail.

Similar ordinances have already been enacted by Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio.

The Safe Passing ordinance is another initiative, led and/or supported by Mayor Parker, to encourage more cycling in Houston. Others include the launch of Houston Bike Share last month, closing gaps in Houston's bike trail system; the voter-approved Bayou Greenways initiative; and approval of HB200, which will allow Houston's utility easements to be used for hike and bike trails.

For more information on cycling in Houston visit