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Houston Area Bike Commuters

Old 12-17-18, 06:53 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by SAGit View Post
https://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/psb/News/blue_lights.htm

Based on the Texas Trans. Code, only certain "motor vehicles" are allowed to use flashing lights. A bicycle is considered to be a vehicle but it is arguably not a "motor vehicle". I think I need to do more research for a definite answer.
To answer your question whether Texas LEOs care if cyclists use flashing light, I think that they care more about accident prevention and the visibility of cyclists (to reduce the number of accidents) than whether your bike is equipped with illegal safety lights.
I have been using the flashing blue/red light attached to the rear of my bike for the last 3 years.... including day time rides.
In my experience, I have found the Texas LEO's will let you slide on flashing lights used as a safety measure. I have volunteered as a Motorcycle Marshal for about 10 years now, and have had Amber Blinky lights front and back on my motorcycle for most of that time. During the MS150 there are LEOs everywhere. On smaller training rides there are fewer LEOs about, but I have never had any problems with the LEOs about my lights on any ride. Combinations of Amber and White do not have problems, either. Red/Blue, however, gets unwanted attention from LEOs very quickly. If you have been using Red/Blue count yourself fortunate you have gotten away with it for three years. Sooner or later a LEO in a bad mood will see it and stop you for it. They are very protective of the Red/Blue combo.


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Old 12-18-18, 05:44 AM
  #52  
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Hi Jeff,

Thank you for your advice and service as a Motorcycle Marshall. You guys do great work in keeping our rides safe.

Talking about LEO in a bad mood, this was my experience about 6 months ago:

Police siren. I pulled over and rolled down the window.
Police: "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Me: ???
Police: "Your bike rack is blocking your license plate."
Me: ********** (confused)
I gave him my DL and after checking he let me go with a warning
Me: "Isn't there an exception for the bike rack?"
Police: "No, there isn't."
I was about to tell him to give me a ticket anyway so we can clear up our understanding of the law in court, but then again, I didn't want to waste the taxpayers' money for his overtime in court.
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Old 12-18-18, 09:01 AM
  #53  
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Restriction on the use of vehicular blue lights in Texas are covered in Texas Transportation Code Section 547.305. But back in Section 547.002, bicycles are expressly exempted from these restrictions.
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Old 12-19-18, 05:44 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Restriction on the use of vehicular blue lights in Texas are covered in Texas Transportation Code Section 547.305. But back in Section 547.002, bicycles are expressly exempted from these restrictions.
That's BRILLIANT! Thanks for doing the legal research.
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Old 12-19-18, 10:30 PM
  #55  
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Tcs, thanks for finding that. I was not aware of that section. But I am curious why anyone is wanting to go with "non-standard" colors. Anyone on this board who rides regularly has seen thousands of bikes running flashing red lights on the rear and flashing white on the front with no problems. Why wave the proverbial red flag (blue in this case) at the bull? 547.002 may make it legal, but that is no protection from being hassled.
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Old 12-21-18, 08:58 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
But I am curious why anyone is wanting to go with "non-standard" colors.
Perhaps to present something different so the optical processing parts of drivers' brains don't filter it out? Mind you, this is just a supposition and not one I'm trying to prove.
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Old 12-21-18, 09:51 AM
  #57  
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Oh! (smacks forehead) Before anyone runs wild, free and amuck, the Texas Transportation Code section 551.104-2 requires cycles ridden at night to have either a red reflector or red tail lamp. That Thorfire above can be put into blue-only modes, and if deployed in that manner the cycle would also have to be equipped with a red reflector or red tail lamp. If I was on your jury I'd say the red&blue flash mode counted as a red tail lamp.
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Old 12-21-18, 01:07 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Perhaps to present something different so the optical processing parts of drivers' brains don't filter it out? Mind you, this is just a supposition and not one I'm trying to prove.
It may be a marketing program by Trek but probably has some weight with the research cited. I did not get a chance to read the referenced articles.

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/abcs_of_awareness/

https://trek.scene7.com/is/content/Tr...References.pdf
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Old 12-21-18, 08:40 PM
  #59  
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The Trek stuff is interesting.

In related news, I read this month in a major cycling magazine that they didn't know of any clipless pedals with reflectors.

The Shimano PD-T780:

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Old 03-06-19, 10:32 AM
  #60  
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Could be nice https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/03/...ike-commuters/
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Old 03-10-19, 09:33 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
i was never aware of the previous bill. Thanks for posting, Ill have to keep an eye on this one!
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Old 07-15-19, 07:55 PM
  #62  
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I have started commuting four weeks ago. My commute rather short one - 5.5 miles one way: Heights to Downtown using White oak bayou trail and merging Buffalo bayou around old Houston port. There are quite a few commuters every day passing me by in both direction on White Oak trail.
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Old 07-29-19, 09:03 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by gvv1980 View Post
I have started commuting four weeks ago. My commute rather short one - 5.5 miles one way: Heights to Downtown using White oak bayou trail and merging Buffalo bayou around old Houston port. There are quite a few commuters every day passing me by in both direction on White Oak trail.
Welcome to the club! I hope you're still enjoying it. It's been disgustingly humid lately, but don't let that sour you.
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Old 08-05-19, 08:02 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
Welcome to the club! I hope you're still enjoying it. It's been disgustingly humid lately, but don't let that sour you.
Thank you. No way. The only hassle for me are gnats in the morning, right before the dawn, swarming along White Oak bayou.
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Old 08-11-19, 09:25 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by gvv1980 View Post
Thank you. No way. The only hassle for me are gnats in the morning, right before the dawn, swarming along White Oak bayou.
Haha, yep, lots of water down here on the SE part of town we we have lots of gnat clouds and whatever those white ones are. With all the sweat and sunscreen Im like flypaper and the damn things stick to my arms and legs.
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Old 08-12-19, 04:30 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Mitkraft View Post
Haha, yep, lots of water down here on the SE part of town we we have lots of gnat clouds and whatever those white ones are. With all the sweat and sunscreen Im like flypaper and the damn things stick to my arms and legs.
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Old 08-20-19, 12:28 PM
  #67  
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Hi from W. Houston

I've been commuting for 3 years now from South Katy/Richmond and to the Energy Corridor several times a week. I'm sure we cross paths often since my route takes me from GB park and through Terry Hershey. Glad to see other riders out there and on here!
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Old 08-21-19, 11:29 AM
  #68  
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To the person using the 5,000 lumen light on his morning commute on the Heights and White Oak Trail. STOP!! Those lights are made for off roading at night. I guarantee you the instruction manual says something along the lines of, "Not for use on Shared Use Trails.
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Old 08-23-19, 09:46 AM
  #69  
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Hello Houston commuters,

I accepted a job offer in East Downtown area. I live in the Heights area. I was thinking of commuting with a bike year round instead of driving and dealing with I-45 traffic during rush hour. I have some concerns, mainly with commuting in Houston summer. I am thinking of getting an e-bike with a pedal assist feature and panniers to minimize my sweat. There is no shower at my office and no gyms nearby. I will wear thin athletic clothing for commuting and bring work clothes. I am a big time sweat producer in general not because of the lack of fitness but that is just how I am. My morning commute will be before/at sunrise (6-6.30am start). I am not concerned with crazy sweating on the way home.

For those who commute at those times (or anytime), what is your experience like (especially e-bike commuters)?

There is another thread about Houston commuting in hot weather but there is no case with e-bike commuting. Bike commuting in Houston?

Thanks!
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Old 08-24-19, 11:00 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by prankster View Post
Hello Houston commuters,

I accepted a job offer in East Downtown area. I live in the Heights area. I was thinking of commuting with a bike year round instead of driving and dealing with I-45 traffic during rush hour. I have some concerns, mainly with commuting in Houston summer. I am thinking of getting an e-bike with a pedal assist feature and panniers to minimize my sweat. There is no shower at my office and no gyms nearby. I will wear thin athletic clothing for commuting and bring work clothes. I am a big time sweat producer in general not because of the lack of fitness but that is just how I am. My morning commute will be before/at sunrise (6-6.30am start). I am not concerned with crazy sweating on the way home.

For those who commute at those times (or anytime), what is your experience like (especially e-bike commuters)?

There is another thread about Houston commuting in hot weather but there is no case with e-bike commuting. Bike commuting in Houston?

Thanks!
Since you don't have showers at work you could buy pre-moistened wash cloths and wipe down at work in the restroom.
https://www.amazon.com/Bathing-6-Pac...T37TEVXCK1Y85P
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Old 08-25-19, 09:14 PM
  #71  
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I am personally hard pressed to ride at all in Houston without sweating unless it’s very cool. For a good stretch of the year it never gets “very cool” even at night. You might need to find a way to freshen up at work or you might be the stinky guy. I have to shower when I get to work. There is no way around it.

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Old 09-04-19, 10:01 AM
  #72  
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Just keep a towel, wipes, and deodorant at work and do a sink-rinse in the bathroom.
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Old 01-26-20, 12:26 PM
  #73  
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I've been commuting from East Downtown to Greenway daily for a few months now. My primary commute is.....Polk - Lamar (bike path) - Buffalo Bayou (bike path) - Kirby - Troon - Lazy Lane - Inwood - Larchmont - Edloe. It's just over 7.5 miles each way & we have showers at work (wouldn't be doable for me without them). I ride my Surly Cross Check with a rear rack (panniers on Monday mornings & Friday evenings....new fenders to fit my 700x44s soon) around 6 AM & 5 PM daily. I've rode south to Braes Bayou to Columbia a few times as well to mix it up. It's a bit further (~10 miles) but evenings crossing San Felipe, Westheimer, Alabama, Kirby/Shepherd & Downtown are getting old (as I've written I decided to ditch my current route for Braes Bayou for the evenings for a while). A few thoughts:
  • Early mornings are pretty ideal.
  • Evenings.....
    • Riding Edloe can be an adventure & not for the weak at heart with the cars & crossing San Felipe, Westheimer, W Alabama.
    • Connecting the nice River Oaks roads to the nice Buffalo Bayou trail can be tough. Crossing Kirby / Shepherd is an obvious choke point ready for an upgrade.
    • Four Seasons valets pulling out & using the bike path as a turning lane are going to hurt someone at some point.
    • Traffic cops accidentally send cars out directly in front of cyclist.
Anyone taking a similar route? Any tips on a different way to go?

Favorite gear? Suggestions to increase visibility. I wear cycling bibs & t-shirts on my ride. I have a rear blinky & a Schmidt Dyno Hub powering a Edelux II but am always looking for more visibility. I currently carry soup (along with clothes for the week) in my panniers on Mondays for the full week. Thinking about setting up a pair of Salsa Anything Cages & carry soup in Klean Kanteens.
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Old 01-27-20, 01:18 AM
  #74  
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What about using one of the grocery delivery services on Monday's rather than carrying your food?
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Old 01-27-20, 09:20 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Ryan Turnbow View Post
... Suggestions to increase visibility. ...
Your commute description combines two of many factors that make me "raise my shields".. heavy traffic with lots of distracting lights and dawn/dusk.

I'm mostly a pre-dawn and pre-dusk commuter, and I'm out in the 'burbs where Im able to pick routes that have lower traffic.

However, since you asked, three things you might consider:

Helmet mounted lights. Not shown in the picture below is a light mounted to the top which I run at night. It is very useful as I can direct it. I can look through my turns (a skill I'm still working to master); I point it back and forth at the front tire of vehicles that might pull out in front of me, and I can easily turn it off when I'm on a MUP. I run the red LED flashing at night when on streets. During the day, I turn on the rear red LED before I take the lane, and I turn on the front white flashing LED whenever I'm feeling like I'm approaching a dangerous situation. This might be useful for your situation since getting conspicuous lights up above the roofs of many vehicles could make you much more noticeable.


Rear LED, can be switched on/off while riding.

White front flashing LED. At night I mount headlight on top.


Glo-Gloves. I learned about these from the"rent-a-cops". Clearly, this is more of a full-darkness item, but they do let you get attention with your hands. They are kinda pricey and wear out pretty quickly, particularly the red reflector on the palm. I get about 2 years out of a pair but that's sacrificing the red reflector.


Glo Gloves are used by police directing traffic at night.


Ankle Reflectors. I always use the reflective ankle bands. I have read that reflectors/lights on legs are particularly effective because they make a motion that signals "human being" as opposed to"donuts" or "pay-day loan". However, with panniers, you only get that advantage from front and side. I used to clip LED to my shoes but have stopped. In your high-clutter route (Edloe is what jumped out to me), I think I would clip solid (not flashing) LED into my shoelaces or side of socks or ???. It might be useful since I imagine that you are probably transitioning from street to sidewalk and passing stopped vehicles on the right.

Equipment is helpful but your most important tool is your situational awareness. One thing I do is review in my head my last commute as I'm dozing off to sleep, thinking about possible conflicts and situations I had and how I can avoid/react/improve in the future. I've been commuting here for about 15 years and I am still making changes to my route and adjusting my riding behaviors based on what I experience.

Last edited by flangehead; 01-27-20 at 06:34 PM. Reason: Fix punctuation.
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