TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Cycling in portions of Tyler just got a little easier as city officials have announced the addition of brand-new bicycle lanes and routes throughout the city.
The new system of bicycle lanes and routes will span 36 miles with installation expected to be completed by the end of August this year.
The Tyler Bike Stripes project connects 11 bicycle routes via a centralized hub in the downtown area.
However, for drivers, city officials said in a press release that these new signs and lanes could potentially impact daily driving habits due to the increased awareness needed to insure safety for cyclists sharing the road.
Three types of bicycle facilities are being installed:
- Bike lanes – separate lanes just for bicycles
- Shared lanes – lanes to be shared by bicycles and motorists
- Bike Routes – signed routes for bicycles to travel, no road markings present
Motorists can stay safe and keep bicyclists safe by doing the following:
- Search surroundings for other vehicles including bicyclists.
- Yield to bicyclists as you would other motorists and do not underestimate the speed of bicyclists. This helps avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling in the bicycle lane at an intersection or driveway.
- Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicycles as you would any other vehicle.
- Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
Motorists can drive in the bicycle lane if the bicycle lanes are not in use. Residents who utilize on-street parking can park in the bicycle lanes.
Safety tips for bicycling:
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
- Wear equipment to protect yourself and make yourself more visible to others, like a bike helmet, bright clothing (during the day), reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike (at night, or when visibility is poor).
- Use the bicycle lanes if they are available.
- Use hand signals to indicate what you intend to do: left or right turns, slowing or stopping.
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Ride single file.
- Look before turning.
- Watch for parked cars and trash and recycling carts; cars are allowed to park in the bicycle lanes.
- Look for cars backing out of driveways and turning.
- No texting, listening to music or using anything that distracts you by taking your eyes and ears or your mind off the road and traffic.
Bicyclists who violate traffic laws will be subject to the same penalties as motor vehicle drivers.
When a bicycle lane is not available, a person operating a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.
However, under the following conditions bicyclists may take the full lane of travel:
- The bicyclist is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction.
- The bicyclist is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
- When there are unsafe conditions on the roadway, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards that prevent the bicyclist from safely riding next to the curb or edge of the roadway.
- The lane is of substandard width (less than 14 feet in width and not having a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane) making it unsafe for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
Note: When on a one-way street, cyclists can ride to the far left instead of the far right.
Additionally, persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane.
Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway or make passage of traffic unreasonably inconvenient.
Crashes and falls can be avoided if motorists and cyclists watch out for each other and follow the rules of the road.
The instructions below apply to both bicyclists and pedestrians if a crash occurs.
- Always call the police when an injury or fatality is involved.
- The vehicles cannot be moved.
- You suspect one of the drivers is intoxicated.
- One of the drivers has no insurance.
- One of the drivers leaves the scene.
Bicycle Crash Checklist
- Call (or ask someone to call) 9-1-1 and ask for the police. Do not hesitate to ask for an ambulance if you are hurt.
- Move your bicycle out of the roadway to a safer place.
- If a motor vehicle is involved, ask the driver to provide his or her address, phone number, vehicle identification number, vehicle license plate number, insurance information and driver’s license information.
- Get names and phone numbers of any witnesses — the more the better. A business card is great.
- Stay at the scene until the police arrive. If the driver leaves, he/she may be guilty of hit and run, which is a serious crime. Be prepared to describe the driver.
More safety tips are available from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Guide to Safe Bicycling.
Maps of the bike routes are available on the City of Tyler website where you can see a map of the complete overview and a map of each spoke.