The Official Newsletter of the Tyler Bicycle Club
Vol. 20, No. 2
February 2002

Feb. meeting—02/12/02—Club meeting, 7:00 p.m./Tyler Chamber of Commerce building at Broadway and Line, downtown. Mt. Bike Blowout!!! Hear Rick from State Park and Tom Sledge, TMF Sports

OR ELSE the March edition will be your last newsletter ….! 

Sharing the Road in Shreveport

Clyde Tarrant was killed while riding his bicycle along a rural, four-lane, divided highway. It was broad daylight, the weather was crystal clear and traffic was almost nonexistent along the straight and flat road. Clyde was riding exactly where the law directs, as near as practicable to the right. Yet a driver ran right over him, saying he never saw Clyde until it was too late. Despite those facts, the deputy who investigated the accident did not even issue a citation, and he wrote in his report that the accident was “unfortunate but unavoidable.”

The Shreveport cycling community was outraged. Adding to their concern was that the accident occurred on a stretch of road that scores of cyclists ride regularly, many of them several times a week. Then there was the fact that other cyclists had been recently injured by cars, and almost nothing was done about it.

What should we do? Yell about it at a bike club meeting? Send e-mails to fellow cyclists and rant about the situation? Fine, but what good does that do to keep us from getting run over? Instead of those useless tactics, members of the Shreveport Bicycle Club elected to pursue some more constructive means of educating the public about cyclists and, we hope, preventing accidents.

Club members, including a deputy sheriff, contacted Sheriff Steve Prator, told him about his department’s poor history with regard to bike accident investigations, and informed him of our concerns. That resulted in the sheriff speaking to our club last month and promising diligent enforcement of traffic laws against offending motorists. He admitted that he had been less than informed about the local cycling community and our concerns. And he readily conceded that the “unfortunate but unavoidable” language in the Tarrant report had been a mistake. I believe he is sincere in his pledge.

Sheriff Prator also screened for us a “Share the Road” public service announcement that he filmed with some of our members. The 30-second spot reminds motorists to share the road with cyclists and demonstrates some specifics, such as giving at least three feet of room when passing. It will begin airing on local television soon. Club members also contacted our local newspaper and gave interviews. That resulted in an extensive bike-safety story in a Sunday edition, complete with photos of a group ride and reminders of relevant laws.

One member convinced Lamar Advertising to donate space on five large billboards each month for six months. Those 30 boards carried the “Share the Road” message in an eye-catching design created by another club member who is a commercial artist.
The paint, paper and labor for the boards cost about $1,800. The originator of the idea fronted the money. Other members donated several hundred dollars to defray his cost.

We also wanted permanent “Share the Road” traffic signs on the roads we ride regularly. We had seen them in Colorado, California, West Virginia, etc. Why not Louisiana? I agreed to pursue that goal, which we obtained. Your president, Eric Williams, followed our progress through our newsletter, Velopages, and asked that I tell you how we did it.

I first did some Web research on the signs and found information about similar efforts to obtain signs, the effectiveness of the signs in other states and the criteria that highway officials usually consider. Thus educated, I contacted the headquarters of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to find out who handled sign requests in our area.

I learned that Keith Tindell was our District Traffic Operations Engineer, and the man who has the say on signs on state highways. That is important, finding the right guy.

Many people fail in their efforts to obtain something from government because they do not know who to ask for what they need. You also need to make sure you are talking to the right agency; are you asking for signs on a state, county or city road?

I called Mr. Tindell and told him what we wanted and why. Lucky for me, he is friends with a member of our club, so he probably gave me a little more credit than the typical nut who calls. He said Louisiana had never erected such signs, but he was willing to consider our request. Put it in writing, he said, and tell me who you are, where you ride, where accidents happen, etc.

That’s when the real work began. I prepared a letter that answered Mr. Tindell’s questions. First, what do we want? I described the sign, enclosed a color print, and referred Mr. Tindell to the appropriate sections of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the bible of traffic signs. I also took care to explain that the signs do not impose any new obligations on motorists. They simply remind them (1) of their existing legal obligation to share the road with the cyclists and (2) that cyclists frequently use the roads in the area. I also enclosed some favorable studies and articles from other states.

Educating the officials about the signs is important. Non-cyclists officials may mistakenly think you are asking for some kind of special legal treatment or creation of a “bike zone.” Disabuse them of that notion quickly. Remind them that the signs are just warnings like the common “child at play” and deer warning signs. (Otherwise, you may end up like our Baton Rouge friends who were told that unspecified “liability concerns” prohibited putting up the signs. Huh?) 

Next question. Why do we need them? In response, I detailed more than a dozen bike-car accidents that occurred on the subject roads in recent years. Names, dates, injuries and other specifics were provided.

Who are these nuts who want signs? I enclosed membership lists from the two local clubs (the other is Team La’Sport, dedicated to racing), described our demographics and estimated the number of cyclists who regularly ride the roads where we wanted signs. I also enclosed a newspaper clipping that showed a photo of 60-plus riders rolling out on a Saturday morning.

Where do we want signs? I described our regular routes in detail and enclosed highlighted maps. Red X’s marked the spots where we believed signs would be most effective.

The next step: On the day I mailed my letter to Mr. Tindell, I also mailed letters to our sheriff and every state senator and representative whose district touches our ride area. I told them a little about the signs and why we needed them and asked that they contact Mr. Tindell to voice their support for our effort. Some did, and I am convinced it helped.

Mr. Tindell soon called and invited me to go drive the roads and discuss our proposal. I learned a lot from him about traffic signs, and I think he learned a lot from me about cyclists. As we parted, he told me he would recommend approval of our proposal. But, because no such signs had ever been posted in Louisiana, he had to go through another layer of approval to get the signs manufactured. 

A few weeks later, we saw signs sprouting up. They appear every two to three miles and at every major intersection along the 40 or so miles of state highways on our traditional routes.

Several club members then wrote thank you letters to Mr. Tindell and the other officials who supported our request, thus improving the odds they will be responsive to our future requests for help. (Mr. Tindell said people bug him for stuff all the time, but he had never before been thanked.) After the state set the good example, we submitted similar requests (still pending) to the city and parish for signs on their streets and roads.

That may seem like an awful lot of effort for a few signs, but I believe it was well worth it. Aside from their “Watch out for bikes!” effect on drivers, the signs makes me feel like the law is officially and publicly acknowledging our right to be on the road, a right about which many motorists would otherwise be ignorant. I encourage all cyclists to pursue “Share the Road” signs in their community. Sure, it is a lot of work, but the life you save may be your own. 

Chris Slatten Shreveport Bicycle Club

Note: The sign description is:"The signs are in two parts. The first is a yellow-diamond that depicts a black bicycle. Beneath is the second part, a rectangular sign which reads "Share the Road."

Something To Think About by Dave Williams

Cycling into the crisp north wind on that familiar Hwy 69 shoulder, three of us approached the traffic light at the junction of FM 346. The temperature, in the mid 50’s, made sunshine from the clear sky feel good. With the signal light RED, we slow pedaled ahead next to the long line of waiting vehicles hoping for the GREEN signal (you know, to avoid unclipping).

With the shoulder ending and becoming a (empty) right turn lane, we felt secure. WRONG,WRONG, WRONG….. Without signaling, an oversize pickup careened out from the waiting line and into the vacant (except for us cyclists, me, Francis and Galén) right turn lane. If we had been a few feet ahead of our positions in that right turn lane we would have been hit. The driver of the big pickup not only did not signal before exiting the waiting line of vehicles, but also may not have looked back to see if there was any traffic approaching from the rear. 

The LESSON here is:

1. Do not pass stationary vehicles at intersections. Stay in line as if you were an auto. When the line starts moving, swing a little to the right and move forward while keeping an eye to the rear for right turning vehicles.

2. Always be wary while passing stationary or slow moving traffic. Drivers may suddenly and without warning exit their lane into your path (A good practice while driving also). PS: When we are not cyclists or pedestrians, we are drivers . May I recommend the book:

“The Driving Challenge ­ Dare to be Safer and Happier on the Road” by Phil Berardelli 

- www.DrivingChallenge.

New Trail At Twin Oaks Ranch (YWAM) 
     by Ken Pattullo, Bike International

     Mud, ravines, water crossings. Not a lot. Just enough to allow you to tell the boys at the office that you went mountain biking albeit sans mountains.

     The new trail opened at Twin Oaks Ranch (YWAM) Saturday Jan. 26. There were 20 riders including one very nice bloke from Dallas. He’ll be back. Trail was about 5.3 miles depending on the computer. A large section was cut out due to mud that would bring a frown to even the most enthusiastic rider. Feedback was all positive and constructive. Some wanted the logs removed others wanted more logs. Some sought intimacy with the ravines others simply wanted a bridge. In the coming weeks, alternate routes will be added for an easier ride. For the thrashers, just wait! If you promise not to sue then we’ll get a little crazy. Can you say, "sky bridge, airtime" and "teeter-totter"?

          Over all it was a brilliant day for riding. "Nice work" to those in the TBC who helped in building the trail.
          Thanks to Roger for the inspiration to keep cutting over a year ago. Tyler Simpson did a wonderful job with the maintenance clinic. Tyler, do you realize you fielded questions for over an hour? Everyone go buy something to say, "thanks". As for those orange Gatorade bars; wow, do we all have different tastes!
          Don’t think they were free because we wanted to be generous. 

          Trail will be open Saturday’s from 8:30 ­ 12:00. $2 to ride, 20 riders buys a bridge. Questions: bike_intl@ywamtyler.org 
          See ya on the trail. 


Eighth annual East Texas Ultra Runners 50K/25K 
     The eighth annual East Texas Ultra Runners 50K/25K trail runs will be held Saturday, Feb. 9 at Tyler State Park.
     The races begin at Blackjack at 7 a.m. and most of the runners will off by the trail by 1 p.m.
     The trails, of course, ARE NOT closed.

     In the past mountain bikers have come out and are surprised by the number of runners; wishing they would have come out later, etc.
     We have not had any problems and always offer charcoaled hamburgers and other refreshments to our cycling friends. I just realize it's not as much fun mountain biking with 100-to-125 runners on the trail.
     Also if anybody wants to volunteer that would be great!! Paul Stone

“Park It & Ride” 

Attached is the tentative plan (See “Park It & Ride” below) for our "Park It & Ride" program. Both bike shops & the State Park have really bought into the program. 
There are a couple of things we'd like from the TBC:
- To get a few minutes at the next TBC meeting to promote the program.
- We would also like to present our incentive gifts every other month at the TBC meetings.  

Please get back with me soon to let me know what you think.

Tom Sledge
Trinity Mother Frances SportsCARE

Editor’s Note: 

Hey, Tom this is great. Be looking forward to hearing you at the next TBC meeting Feb. 12th. 


Trinity Mother Frances SportsCARE would like to introduce “PARK IT & RIDE”. “PARK IT & RIDE” is a family oriented mountain biking program that offers incentive gifts to program participants when they reach certain goals. 

The goals are reached by accruing Park Points. Park Points can be earned by bikers for their efforts both on and off their bikes.

Riders will receive Park Points for the miles that they ride and also for time spent working to maintain and improve the trails at Tyler State Park. The following charts explain the details on obtaining the incentives.

Age Action Points Earned
9 & Under Ride one mile 3 Park Points
One hour of trail maint. 3 Park Points
10 to 13 Ride one mile 2 Park Points
One hour of trail maint. 2 Park Points
14 to 55 Ride one mile 1 Park Point
One hour of trail maint. 1 Park Point
56 & Over Ride one mile 2 Park Points
One hour of trail maint. 2 Park Points

Total Park Points Incentive Earned
20 Water Bottle
40 Three Free Tyler State Park Passes (One Visit Per Person Per Pass)
60 “PARK IT & RIDE” T-Shirt
100 Two Nights of Free Camping @ Tyler State Park 
140 Free Bike Tune Up (Excluding parts) 
160 “PARK IT & RIDE” Jersey

Jan. meeting—01/08/02—Club meeting, 7:00 p.m./Tyler Chamber of Commerce building at Broadway and Line, downtown. 


Schedule of Events: (For calendar changes, see the TBC website at www.tylerbicycleclub.com)

State Park Mountain Bike Rides meet at Tyler State Park on weekends at Blackjack campground, where the trail heads are located. Easy to challenging routes available. If you are a beginner, or do not want to ride by yourself, let us know by calling one of the officers, or by e-mailing to Topica.

Saturday Breakfast Rides leave from Faulkner Park on Hwy 69 at 8:00 a.m. Ride goes to Bullard (about 8 miles). Everyone meets at Sherry’s for breakfast, then split up for longer rides.

B&B Rides leave from UT Tyler parking lot at 2:00 p.m. and include the tour routes for B&B. Routes from 12-64 miles, with 40 miles the average ride.

Wednesday Nite Rides for Mt. Bikes: Meet at Tanner’s Bikes at 5:00 PM or Tyler State Park/Blackjack campground at 6:00PM.

Related Link