Cycling on the Tollway
POSTED: Friday, January 25, 2013 - 8:57pm
UPDATED: Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 8:07pm
Drivers and cyclists are tangling in Smith County, but fortunately, it’s a verbal fight.
At issue is whether loop 49 should be open to cyclists.
Riding a bike is a great way to stay healthy.
And according to Tyler Simpson of Simpson’s Fitness and Adventure Sports, this area is surprisingly bike friendly.
But at a meeting of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority, they debated the idea of whether or not to allow cyclists to use Loop 49.
“Even though the cars are going by 75 miles an hour,” Simpson said, “there’s still a nice wide shoulder for the cyclists to use. The other thing though, it’s a connector. We have a lot of people that use that to get to work.”
Now, the shoulders here are pretty wide, 12-15 feet.
But there are some questions to ask.
Will cyclists use discipline and stay as far over to the side as possible.
And if they are photographed, how will a toll bill be sent to them?
Erin Lavender is a spokesperson for Atkins, who are consulting engineers on the project.
“They are that wide in some sections. In some they go down to 8 feet, and some I believe, go down to 6,” she told us. “So, it just kind of varies depending on where they are. And one wrong move, somebody darts out somewhere. It’s not anything that anyone wants to see happen.”
But Simpson says, cyclists know the rules of the road. And the Loop is still safer than most roads in town.
Each side has 60 days to gather evidence and reconvene to reach a decision.
Simpson told us that Tyler is about five years behind Austin in bike friendliness.
And that a surprising number of people use a bike for their daily commute.