Mar 13, 2023 - News

Houston bike deaths outpacing 2022

Cyclists Bryan Nost, center in the left photo, and Jimmy Lopez, right, died within a week of each other. Photos courtesy of the Nost family, Funeraria Del Angel Crespo Navigation

Houston is on pace to outnumber last year's bike deaths on our streets, advocates say.

Why it matters: A trio of recent deadly crashes involving cyclists highlights the lack of safe cycling infrastructure throughout the Bayou City, even as Houston transportation authorities work to bolster the bike network.

The latest: A man was killed while riding in the 3400 block of Greenridge Drive near The Galleria early Sunday, police said. A driver, who police said fled the scene, hit him from behind as he peddled northbound in the street.

The big picture: Bryan Nost, 35, died Feb. 28, four days after he was hit while riding his bike by the driver of a delivery van in the 7000 block of West Gulf Bank Road, near North Houston-Rosslyn Road, police said.

  • On March 1, Jimmy Lopez, 61, was killed in a hit-and-run crash in the 10800 block of Foy Lane near Little York Road in north Houston, police said.
  • According to charging documents, Arthur Alvarez, 64, was charged with second-degree felony failure to stop and render aid after police said he drove away from the scene with Lopez's bike still lodged underneath his car.
  • Alvarez has since been released on a $10,000 bond. He's due in court June 14.

Of note: Crash reports were not available yet for these incidents.

  • Alvarez's court-appointed lawyer, Casey Garrett, was not available for comment.

Lopez's family members said they want Alvarez to be held accountable.

  • "Yes, he should be charged," Lopez's brother, David Lopez, told ABC13. "He should go to prison and everything because that's wrong what he did."

Nost's sister, Kristin Nost, described him as a father of three, entrepreneur and a "'march to the beat of your own drum' kind of guy" who loved to bike everywhere even though he owned a car.

  • "He was a super loving guy," Kristin Nost said. "He has a really close bond with my mom. He never moved out of Houston, because that's where my mom is."
  • It was the second time Nost had been hit by a driver at that very intersection, his sister said. The first crash at that spot was when he was a kid living nearby. He was hospitalized with broken bones.

The driver who allegedly hit Nost was not initially charged, although the investigation is continuing, police said.

  • Nost was riding east through the intersection when the driver struck him while making a southbound turn from across the street, police said in a press release.

By the numbers: Lopez's and Nost's deaths are the third and fourth involving a cyclist on Houston streets since the beginning of the year.

  • In 2022, 11 cyclists died.
  • If the pace keeps up, Houston could reach 25 deaths this year.

Between the lines: In the most recent crashes, none of the streets had protected bike lanes, according to the Houston Bike Plan Network.

  • The plan calls for 1,800 miles of bike lanes throughout the city. As of December 2021, the most recent data available, Houston had 29 miles built and another 48 miles in the works.

Flashback: In January, an e-bike rider, identified in crash reports as 71-year-old John Robert Gray, was struck by a vehicle and died, according to police. The driver left the scene after the collision, police said.

  • Another cyclist, identified as 49-year-old Rodney Adkins in police records, was killed when a motorcyclist slammed into him in Houston's East End. The motorcyclist also died.

What they're saying: "As more Houstonians adopt biking as a means of getting around the city, we need investment in safe bike infrastructure to follow," said Joe Cutrufo, executive director of BikeHouston. "The bike network is growing, but it's not growing at a rate fast enough to bring the cyclist death toll down to the only acceptable number: Zero."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect another bike accident that police released details about on Monday.


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