cycling | Texas Public Radio


San Antonio Roads Aren't Safe For Cyclists

May 1, 2019
Joey Palacios/Texas Public Radio

Cyclists are considered vehicle operators and are held to the same standards as motorists, but are significantly more vulnerable on the road. What needs to happen to ensure both cyclists and drivers feel safe sharing San Antonio streets?

Carson Frame / Texas Public Radio

Local veteran Andrew Sims began cycling 22 miles in 22 days on Veterans Day to bring awareness to the fact that 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

Bicycles are a type of vehicle so they belong on the road, right?

This is how the wheels turn in places such as New York City and San Francisco, where bicyclists older than age 13 are banned from riding on the sidewalk. Similar laws exist in many cities and towns throughout the country, such as Columbus, Ohio, and Chapel Hill, N.C.

That's not the case everywhere, though. In Boston and Washington, D.C., sidewalk cycling is allowed — with the exception of the downtown areas. But just because bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk doesn't mean they are welcome there.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

More and more people are starting to ride bicycles in San Antonio and are riding greater distances.

For the past six months, San Antonio has been engaged in a big transportation planning effort, dubbed “SA Tomorrow.” Part of that includes routes for bicycling.

According to the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, there are a least 325,000 area residents who ride bicycles at least once a month. It’s also estimated that eleven percent of riders bike to work or school.

Chris Stokes

Maybe you’ve seen them downtown—dozens of bicyclists, riding together. It’s called the Tuesday Night Bike Club.

"It started off as a small group of people who liked biking downtown. And it kind of grew and grew.  And on any given ride we might get a 100 to 180 riders," said organizer Jeff Moore.

If 180 riders sounds chaotic, Moore says they have a fix for that.

More adults across the country are strapping on helmets and hopping on bikes to get to work. That's good news for people's hearts and waistlines, but it also means more visits to the emergency room.

Hospital admissions because of bike injuries more than doubled between 1998 and 2013, doctors reported Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. And the rise was the biggest with bikers ages 45 and over.

Growing up in India, I learned to ride a bicycle on my dad's 22-inch bike with no training wheels. I was 8 years old. I couldn't get on the bike without a boost from my father or an older kid. And once I was in the seat, my feet didn't touch the ground. I could get off only if I stopped next to a raised platform, a step or something I could rest my foot on.

Announcing a new policy for cyclists who ride in Paris, the city says it will allow people on bikes to ride through red lights or turn right at intersections that are marked by a special traffic sign.

Cyclists will have the most leeway at T-shaped intersections, where they can continue on without crossing other lanes of traffic. But in all cases, they'll have to yield to pedestrians and other vehicles who have the right of way.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

After 4 years, 55 stations, and hundreds of thousands of rides, San Antonio B-Cycle is rethinking it's future, and whether growing the system of rentable bikes is appropriate given its budget.

Reported in the Rivard Report last week, after years of small budgets, and limited funding from sponsors and and city government, organization head Cindi Snell is considering leaving the pro-bono position.

Plans are taking shape for the first phase of the new regional transportation design for the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio.

Spokesman Leroy Alloway said that the MPO met with residents of Comal, Guadalupe and Kendall counties to gather data for walking and cycling needs. He said he expected a study on the matter to be completed this summer.