Biking lanes for Toll Road 49 in Jeopardy - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Biking lanes for Toll Road 49 in jeopardy

The Texas Department of Transportation announced this morning that they will not allow bicyclists to ride on TxDOT toll roads.

This has the Tyler Biking Club and other East Texas bicyclists worried about their future plans to ride on Toll Road 49.

"It's very hard for me to see my way clear to vote, to really allow bicycles on a 80-plus mile an hour toll road. It's just very, very difficult to me to see that as not an accident waiting to happen," said Victor Vandergriff, Commissioner of Texas Department of Transportation.

NET RMA owns Toll Road 49, where the Tyler Biking Club has been raising funds to be able to ride on.

As of now, NET RMA hasn't decided if they will ban the bikes.

"The main thing, we hope is that NET RMA doesn't reconsider allowing us to ride on Loop 49 because we have already raised all the funds and we've done everything that was agreed to do in the meetings, so we hope that they don't now change their decision," said Bob Hebb, Member of the Tyler Biking Club.

Tyler Biking Club raised $60,000 to be able to ride on Toll Road 49.

So where would all the money go if they are not granted a biking lane?

"We would refund people's money to them or if they wanted us to, we could use it to further riding here around Tyler as far as trails and things like that," said Hebb.     

The biking club insists the toll road is safer to ride on.

"When we ride normally, we ride out on the county roads. There's usually no shoulder at all. At Loop 49 there's at least 8 to 10 feet of shoulder so we have more room to ride," said Hebb.

The high speeds of the highways are the main safety concern for bicycles, but these cyclists beg to differ.

"It doesn't matter where they are going 55 or 70 if they hit you on a bicycle, but it's just so much safer than out on the county roads," said Hebb.

The Tyler Biking Club will meet with NET RMA in Texarkana, July 9th.

At that meeting, the biking club will present their funds and plans for the biking lane on Toll Road 49.

A decision on whether bicyclists will be allowed on the toll road is also expected.

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