The reasons behind delaying a bike ban on Toll 49 - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

The reasons behind delaying a bike ban on Toll 49

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TYLER (KYTX) - Bikes won't be banned on toll road 49 just yet. The North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority, or NET RMA, met Tuesday to discuss the possible ban.

The main issue for the organization is the safety of these cyclists. The board is concerned that as traffic increases on the toll road, the cyclists will be in danger - but those who bike on the road say they feel safer on 49 than other streets in town.

One cyclist at the meeting said, "I don't want to put myself in jeopardy back on those local roads, folks. Those are the killers, not Toll 49."

NET RMA Project Director, Everett Owen led the discussion about banning bicycles on Toll 49. He said, "The traffic on the road is going to increase dramatically from what it is now and the condition that attracts bicycles now, in the future is going to change."

He says with more cars driving down the toll road, and limited shoulder space, bicyclists could be at risk.

"The shoulder goes to 8 feet and then in some of the passing lanes it goes as little as 4 feet," he said.

However, cyclists say the smallest shoulder on toll 49 is still the best option.

"Even 4 feet seem like great big shoulders when you're used to riding on a two lane country road that has a painted white stripe and that's called a shoulder," they said.

Cyclists at the meeting say the limited access on 49 keeps them safer from cars.

"There are a million roads they can pop out of on 69. Same thing for 155."

What the cyclists asked for, was more time.

Jacksonville cyclist John Adair said, "That's something we really need to look at is hard data, before making such a decision. There is some real data out there instead of basing it on a gut feel or a perception of danger."

In the end, it was a unanimous decision, and the motion was tabled for 60 days.

The cyclist community will have those 60 days to compile information for the board, showing that the toll road is in fact safe for them to use.

In the mean time, both the board and the cyclists will look into possible grants to build a bike lane. It will probably be at least two months before we know the boards decision.

The NET RMA says almost all the other toll roads in Texas prohibit cyclists, but some do have bicycle lanes.

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