Tyler’s Loop 49 Could Be Closed to Cyclists [POLL]
This afternoon the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) will hold a meeting in Henderson to discuss the future of keeping Loop 49 in Tyler open to cyclists.
As it stands right now, Loop 49 is open to all traffic including bicyclists, but that could change after the meeting that will be held this afternoon in Henderson. The NET RMA transportation board expects traffic on the toll road to increase dramatically once the final segment is completed and open. The final segment will connect I-20 to Hwy. 31 and beyond to Hwy. 155 (which is already open). They are looking to ban bicycle traffic for the safety of the riders.
According to a story on KLTV.com, cyclists feel that Loop 49 is the safest road for them to ride on in addition to being challenging to them. They feel that it is safe because the toll road offers wide shoulders and currently has lighter traffic than other bike routes throughout the city.
Owner of Elite Bicycles here in Tyler, Sport, agreed with this statement. "Loop 49 is one of the safest routes for bicyclists to ride, especially for new riders." Bicycle riders that are training for a race, riding for fitness or fun rely on the use of the Loop as a more protected path than the streets of Tyler.
If you are thinking, "Just use the sidewalks," when thinking about where a cyclist could ride, you would be suggesting for them to break the law. It is illegal (dependent especially on county and city laws) for a bicycle rider that is going 15 mph or more to occupy the sidewalk. Also, Section 551 .101 of the official Texas State Bicycle Laws states, "A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle."
This means that a bicyclist has the right and the obligation to the road. But, today this right or permission to the road is up for debate for Loop 49.
NET RMA plans to make an announcement after it hears from the public this afternoon. If you have an opinion on the matter, attend the meeting at the Baymont Inn at 410 Hwy. 79 South in Henderson at 1:30p.
There are countless numbers of East Texas residents who will be attending this meeting. Whether for this ban of bicycles or against it, everyone in attendance will have an opinion. Sport said that he wish he could make the meeting, but there will be other helpful members of the cyclist community there.
For now, let us know what you think. Answer the poll or leave a comment.