City of Tyler asking drivers, cyclists to be aware of their surroundings with new bike lanes

BIKE LANES

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Drivers around Tyler have likely seen added white lines on the side of the road; these are the new bike lanes. According to Tyler Traffic Engineer Cameron Williams, three types of bicycle facilities are being installed, the first being bike lanes ... separate lanes just for bicycles.

The second, “The shared bike lane is the vehicle and the cyclist share the same spot. If you’re a cyclist you’re going to be traveling behind a vehicle, or a vehicle will be traveling behind the cyclist,” he said.

The third are bike routes, which will not have road markings, just signage for routes that bicycles can travel.

“The routes, those are just signed locations around the city, it’s mostly in the brick streets areas because, from the historic standpoint, we didn’t want to put any markings on the ground,” Williams said.

Bill Lewis is the president of Tyler Bicycle Club and said this is the first step in making people more aware and creating safe spaces for people to travel.

“The bicycles lanes were such an answer to our cycling community’s issue of wanting to have a place designated on the street so that they could enjoy some of the downtown areas that really have been coming up that are fantastic places to go and be with friends.”

Lewis said the cycling community has been in Tyler for a long time but there was not nearly the amount of awareness as there is today.

Williams said the concept consists of a downtown hub with different spokes which provide connectivity throughout the city.

“There are some disconnects at this point, but you’ll see connections to different parks as well,” Williams said. “So one of the spokes picks up on Donnybrook near Rose Rudman, so you can then get on the Rose Rudman trail, the south Tyler trails.”

The connectivity piece is one of the things Lewis is excited for because he can more safely commute by bicycle to meet up with people around town.

“I can call my friend who lives in a different part of the city and ask them to meet me on the square. They can jump on their bike lane that’s close to them, I can jump on mine,” he said. “There’s a bike lane in every section of town, so kind of wherever you are you can holler at your buddies, they can jump on their bikes, head downtown and then you all meet at that one same spot.”

Asher Blair is a board member of the Tyler Bicycle Club and said he’s been riding all of his life. He traveled by bicycle before he got a car and said the lanes will be helpful.

“The opportunity that bike lanes present is just having a designated space that makes it safer for kids to ride in their neighborhood, or for people less fortunate that don’t have cars to be able to make it across town on their bike.”

Williams said vehicles are allowed to park in the bike lanes so cyclists need to pay attention when moving into the flow of traffic and vehicles need to be aware of cyclists moving over when there are parked cars. As for pedestrians, “The bike lanes are meant for the cyclists and hopefully there’s sidewalks in those areas, but some of these areas you may not have sidewalks and so you could have pedestrians walking in those areas, and you need to treat them just like you would any other time,” Williams said.

The bike lanes, shared lanes, and routes are all a beginning step in helping raise awareness about the cycling community in Tyler. Lewis said they will be working with the city to bring more awareness.

“We want to be able to put, maybe some signs out along the bike lanes where there’s a QR code that a bicyclist can stop, take a shot of that and it’ll tell them what those rules are,” Lewis said. “So there’s some different ideas we’re working with the city to try to make it the best possible integration keeping the cyclists safe and keeping the motorists informed.”

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