TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The City of Tyler is bringing awareness to bicycle safety by adding bike lanes throughout the city. However, one cyclist was recently involved in an accident on the Legacy Trail, where one would expect to be safe from vehicles.
April 1, 2021, was a typical evening for Tyler cyclist Alan Arakelian. He was gearing up to ride down to the Legacy Trail and take the path like he always does three to five times a week. He said he was about a mile and a half from the trailhead near Three Lakes.
“I heard a noise that sounded like a motorcycle or an ATV, which I thought was really unusual because motorized vehicles are not allowed on the bicycle path,” he said. “So I was in the process of pulling to the right side of the bicycle path to turn around and see what was coming and that’s the last thing I remember.”
Witness Sans Hawkins, who we spoke with the next day, said he heard the motor too, and had to dive out of the way to avoid being hit. Hawkins was then one of the first people to call 911.
“I noticed a bike with a crinkled-up tire and I thought, oh my goodness someone is hurt. Looked off to the right and there’s this senior citizen that’s off in the brush, and he’s all scraped up,” Sans said.
Arakelian said after he’d been hit, he remembers waking up leaned up against a tree.
“I was told that after he hit me, I was on the hood of his car, against the windshield, for about 100 yards before I finally fell off the hood of his car. EMS and fire both said that the helmet saved my life,” Arakelian said.
At the hospital, Arakelian was told that he had a small brain bleed, contusion on his brain, and fractured bones in his face. Arakelian said he’s grateful to be alive and wants other cyclists to be safe on trails.
“Ride with your head on a swivel, use a helmet, and keep the earbuds out of your ears, so you can hear people coming up, and be aware of your surroundings,” he said.
The 23-year-old driver who hit Arakelian was arrested for intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury. He has since been released.