Three cyclists have been hit in the past eight days on area highways, and authorities are cautioning motorists to be on the lookout for increasing numbers of bicyclists out enjoying the spring weather.
Steve Farris, president of the East Texas Triathletes, said his organization and sister organization of the Tyler Bicycle Club are urging members to be aware of their surroundings and use good judgment on area roads when cycling.
Farris said the first accident occurred in the Mt. Selman area when a motorcyclist turned in front of a female bicyclist.
"She went to the hospital as a result and it totaled her $10,000 bike, which I am hoping insurance will cover. The motorcyclist, who was cited, said he just didn't think she was going that fast, but she was doing time trials on the shoulder and was doing about 30 mph when she hit him," he said.
Farris said the second accident happened Tuesday night when a drunken driver ran into the back of a group of cyclists on Old Noonday Road.
Farris said a local doctor was injured and Judge Floyd Getz, who was on the ride, insisted he go to the hospital to be checked out. The doctor suffered only minor injuries.
"The driver was arrested on the scene," he said.
On Thursday a third cyclist was hit on Farm-to-Market Road 344 near Bullard, but Farris did not have any details on the accident.
Farris said the clubs are working with state and city agencies to improve biking areas in the region.
"Both of our clubs work together on cycling issues and we work with Texas Department of Public Transportation and the city of Tyler on issues such as signage and bike lanes, which seems to help a lot. Anywhere you have signage it makes motorists aware that there are cyclists out here on the roads,: he said.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Jean Dark, the region’s spokeswoman, said motorists should be paying attention to bicyclists and motorcyclists who are out in abundance due to the nice weather.
Both Farris and Dark said cyclists are allowed to use the roadway, but they must also adhere to the rules of the road.
Farris said the clubs are educating cyclists on where to ride, clothing to wear to be more visible and proper lighting on their bikes.
"The cyclist community in Tyler is really exploding and we have a lot of races happening here in Tyler, which draws people from Houston, Dallas and other areas of the state. We are bringing in a lot of cyclists to the area," he said.