The Official Newsletter of the Tyler Bicycle Club
Vol. 20, No. 7/8
July/August 2002

July meeting—07/09/02—Club meeting, 7:00 p.m./Tyler Chamber of Commerce building at Broadway and Line, downtown. Program by:
Tanner's shop will do "Bike Maintenance for the Fumble fingers 

August Meeting­ 08/13/02. Program by: Dave Starrett and friends (with a video, maybe) on ROADSAFETY and PACK etiquette 

by Eric Williams

“U-1(‘92 model GMC Sonoma Pick-up) was traveling southbound on US 69, U-2 (pedal cyclist) was also traveling southbound, on the shoulder of the road, next to the southbound traffic lane. The driver of U-1 apparently fell asleep or passed out at the wheel. U-1 then crossed the shoulder stripe and struck U-2. Both, U-2 (red, white, and blue Trek 1000 bicycle) and the cyclist bounced off the street, onto the grass, where the cyclist came to rest in the bar-ditch. 

U-1 eventually drove off the street and came to a stop.” Factors and conditions listed are the investigators opinion: 20) Driver inattention 22) failure to control speed 23) failed to drive in single lane 40) fatigued or asleep. Thus ended the accident report involving cyclist Greg Chapman and a citation for “fail to control speed”.

I read the above report to an employee of the State of Texas and waited silently for his response. After a lengthy pause, he said that “it is hard to believe from that report that someone was almost killed“. A short bit on the evening news, a blurb in the morning paper, and everything was supposed to be back to normal for everyone except Greg, his family and friends. The doctors thought Greg was going to die. Then it looked like he could lose his left leg. Now, he is at Health South undergoing rehabilitation-great news, indeed. 

As a cyclist, my worst fears had come true. Our sacred Hwy 69 S had been desecrated. Our refuge was under attack, and all of a sudden there was no
safe haven. Personally, I didn’t know how I was going to react. I know one man who said that he was not going to ride on the roads anymore. Like most of you, I determined that I was not going to let fear rule my life. I am not going to give up this sport that I love.

In about a week’s time, Greg was almost killed, a young cyclist was killed in Tyler when he ran a stop sign, a Tyler Bike Policeman had his bike run over by a hit and run driver, and in Baton Rogue, La., a racing team on its training ride was plowed into, head on, by a car that had crossed over into the oncoming lane killing 2 cyclists and putting 6 more in the hospital. Still, I am going to keep riding.

Last Tuesday, June 18, Galén and I were riding our bikes on Hwy 69 S and came upon a wreck at the traffic light on FM 344. It appears that an 18
wheeler transporting a load of cars plowed into the back of a SUV that was sitting at the red light. We saw an injured woman lying in the road but did not see the 18 year old girl that had been killed. The statistics indicate that the odds are greater for being killed in a car than on a bicycle; so, I guess that I will keep riding my bike. However, I do use my mirror more, observe approaching cars longer, and try to be a bit more cautious. 

A special thanks to Butch Willingham for coming up with the idea of the ride in support of Greg and his family, for organizing the ride, and for contacting and following through with the media. If it had not been for his efforts, Greg’s accident would be old, forgotten news by now. Thanks to all the cyclists who participated in the ride, and a special thanks to KLTV for such wonderful coverage and to Kristen Reyes and the Tyler Morning News for their thorough reporting. 

By the way, we are not through. We will not be through until the public is made fully aware that cyclists have the same rights on the road as motorists, which means that we will probably never be through. However, for the sake of the cyclists on the open highways, moms and pops pedaling in the neighborhood, commuters who ride bikes to work, and kids riding bikes to and from school, we have to keep trying. 

One life saved will make our efforts worthwhile. Eric


Little Sympathy RANT: Kristen Reyes must be wearing a turtle shell on her head and a little silk uniform, hunkered over wildly pumping pedals to fitness and slimness. Why else would she write such a favorable report, seemingly supporting the Tyler Bicycle Club.

We can all sympathize with anyone who gets hit by a pickup truck, but am I the only one who feels sorry for the driver. I've almost hit bicycle riders myself and still shake at the memory.

While I do have sympathy for the injured rider, I can feel no sympathy for bicycle riders as a whole. Reason being I am a 63-year-old who lives in the country. I have to have a car. I don't drive for fitness' sake or fun but because I must.

My car cost big bucks. Then I have to keep it up, and pay for a sticker to prove I keep it in a safe condition. I also must buy "tags" which are expensive, plus chip in a little extra to help bridges. Next I must prove that I am physically and mentally able to safely drive a car on our public roads.

After that I must buy and pay taxes on coolant, wiper fluid, motor oil, etc., and lots of taxes every time I fill my tank. On top of all this I HAVE to pay big bucks to buy liability insurance.

Finally, I must wear that much-hated seat belt each and every time I get behind the wheel or pay a stiff fine for not wearing the thing.

As far as I know, bicycle riders don't have to do or pay for any of the above. I would say they are road-using free-loaders. I also feel that if they want to stay fit, join a gym.

If you think I'm the only one who feels this way, state the facts, and poll your readers.

Patsy Lampkin, Tyler 

(From Tyler Morning Telegraph - 06/18/02)

“A National Plague”*

“This strain of lawlessness pervades our streets, roads, and highways. But it isn’t the work of criminals. It is caused by ordinary, usually well-intentioned people-drivers-who become impaired with alcohol or drugs; who disobey speed limits, stop signs, traffic lights and lane markers; and who routinely ignore other rules of the road, not to mention the basics of common courtesy.”*

The above quote from “THE DRIVING CHALLENGE” by Phil Berardelli describes conditions experienced by all, who, on a day-to-day basis venture out onto our transportation grid whether on foot, motorized vehicle, bicycle or any other means of conveyance.

Listed below are very recent newspaper quotes describing tragic local events involving cyclists:

Tyler Morning Telegraph; Thursday, May 30, 2002

“Accident Between Cyclist and Pickup Truck”  “…cyclist …struck by…(pickup) that veered onto…shoulder.

Tyler Morning Telegraph; Thursday, June 6, 2002;

“10-Year-Old Killed While Riding Bike”  “The best advice I can give…your child…should attend …a bicycle safety course. Bike riders have to obey
the same rules as motorists.” (Emphasis by Editor)

Tyler Morning Telegraph; Thursday, June 7, 2002;

“Tyler Police Seek Suspect Who Hit Officer’s Bicycle” “…officers searched for the driver of a car that struck a bicycle driven by an officer…”

I want to express my appreciation of the keen state of traffic safety awareness currently evident among our local cyclists. Disregard for red lights and other traffic controls is greatly diminished. Riders are signaling turns and stops. Cyclists are helping vehicles in passing on rural roads by riding single file and signaling vehicles when passing is safe. Most drivers appreciate cyclists signaling intentions before making a move. 

Your Editor has previously expressed editorial opinions regarding cycling safety. I will confess: my personal cycling practice has been less than perfect. 

Example: Still, on occasion, will roll through a deserted 4-Way Stop without a full halt (track stands are good, but not possible for me). I promise to do better by taking the good practices described in the “The Driving Challenge” and applying them to cycling.

* “The Driving Challenge: Dare to be Safer and Happier on the Road” by Phil Berardelli      http://www.drivingchallenge.com

Letter of Response 
to Ms. Lampkin’s “RANT” in the Tyler Paper

This is written in response to the letter from Patsy Lampkin, under the heading “LITTLE SYMPATHY”, in your Raves, Rants & Roses section on June 18, 2002.

Texas law recognizes and addresses the rights of bicyclists to use our public road system. The Texas Transportation Code says:

· A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle,

· The Department of Public Safety shall include bicycle awareness information in the Texas driver’s handbook; and

· The Department of Transportation shall designate a statewide bicycle coordinator and a bicycle coordinator in each regional office, who shall assist the department in developing rules and plans to enhance the use of the state highway system by bicyclists.

People who ride bikes also operate motor vehicles, so we can sympathize with Ms. Lampkin about the high costs of doing so. However, the lower costs associated with bicycling should not be used as a basis to discriminate against bicyclists. There are valid reasons why such costs are lower. Bicycles cost less to begin with, of course. They don’t use gas, or fluids. They don’t wear out the roads like cars and trucks do over time, so there isn’t the need to recoup that cost with taxes. Liability insurance is not required because a bike is simply not capable of inflicting the kind of damage (and injury) that a motor vehicle is. For similar reasons, safety inspection stickers are not required. 

Most people here ride bikes for fun, fitness and recreation, but there are places where bicycling is a major form of transportation. Not all of them are third world countries, either. Holland is a good example. There, many of the errands we typically get in our cars to run are done on bicycles. Would it be such a bad thing if there were fewer motor vehicles, with the corresponding reductions in traffic, accidents, pollution, and dependence on oil?

Bicyclists should not be considered a threat to drivers. We are not “freeloaders” attempting to avoid taxes. We are bound to follow the traffic laws when we ride. We don’t have any wish to impede the flow of traffic. We are regular people, of all ages and from all walks of life, and we simply want to enjoy our chosen pastime safely, and be treated with the same respect and courtesy expected by drivers. If our state government has seen fit to develop plans to enhance the use of the state highway system by bicyclists, it seems not too much to ask of drivers, like Ms. Lampkin, to adopt a less hostile attitude toward us. 

Sincerely Yours , 

Tyler Bicycle Club

Editor’s Note:   A big “Thanks” to TBC member, Bill Cornelius, for writing this letter of response

Looking ahead…
The Arkansas Ride— October 5th Queen Wilhemena State Park, Mena, Arkansas

Saint Jude Ride —October 19th. Start now gathering your solicitations for this benefit ride.

 “Without a doubt, the easiest undertaking to start from scratch is a flea circus”        ... Spike


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