Armed with a flag on a flexible pole, a Houston, Texas rider has taken to YouTube to highlight the frequency with which drivers disregard the state’s passing law, which requires motorists to give a cyclist a three-foot gap when overtaking.
“They hit the flag, they're breaking the law,” Dan Morgan told Channel 2 Houston. “Houston has a local ordinance designed to protect so-called vulnerable road users.”
As you might imagine, some car-loving Texans are none too pleased at having to give a cyclist more space than needed to avoid skimming his forearm hairs, no matter what the law says.
“I don't think they understand the law and there's a lot of driver entitlement that goes on in Houston,” Dan Morgan said. “Drivers will roll the window down and start cussing me out so I tend to fight fire with fire.”
And his campaign to physically demonstrate how much room cyclists are legally entitled to has made the local news:
But although he passes his videos on to Houston police, no drivers have been ticketed for disregarding the passing-distance law and hitting his flag.
Morgan has been posting his rides and encounters with irate drivers on YouTube in videos like this one:
On Facebook, Morgan says: “This was filmed in Houston Texas on what will soon be my normal daily bike commute route - riding with the flag is the ONLY time I am passed safely (most of the time) - the flag has been hit a total of 10 times while filming and I am on my second flag because the first one was broken by a driver hitting it.”
Many commenters have pointed out that a pole and a flag alone maybe don’t get the message across, but Morgan’s way ahead of them.
He plans to roll out a new flag shortly, and has corporate sponsorship to have multiple copies made that he intends to hand out to other Houston cyclists to help spread the word.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.