WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Rumble strips alert drivers when they veer off the road or into oncoming traffic. It is a safety measure.
TxDot’s Public Information officer Adele Lewis said they are especially necessary on roads like FM 171.
“This is a rural road, and in the state of Texas, 58% of lane departure or road departure wrecks ending in a death or serious injury happen on roads just like FM 171,” Lewis said.
Right now, TxDot has contracts going on in their 9 districts to apply rumble strips for existing roads.
FM 171, also called Upper Charlie Road, got 6.5 miles of rumble strips applied in the last few months.
Experienced cyclists training for the annual Hotter’N Hell Hundred bicycle ride have noticed. Cyclists have the option to either ride on a road, or ride on the shoulder of a road when there is no bike lane. If a cyclist decides to train on Upper Charlie road, they’ll find there’s not much of a shoulder. If they move over, they will be met with rumble strips that are a lot rougher on bicycles than they are on cars.
Endurance House owner Mark Pinson says he has definitely bumped into rumble strips on Upper Charlie Road, and adds it might change how cyclists ride.
“It’s a big topic that we have here in the store. All that area is a really popular cyclist area. What I think it’s probably going to do, it’s going to have us riding in the roadway more,” he said.
While Pinson seems to have reserved himself to that fact, other cyclists have a different viewpoint.
Cyclist Jordon Dixon said in a statement, “While I understand that the rumble strips are a safety feature for vehicular traffic, they can create difficulties for us on two wheels (motorcycles included). From our vantage point, the community would benefit from a more precise application of these rumble strips. On larger highway-speed roads with 8-10' shoulders, they would make sense and be appropriate. On smaller country roads, where any given day might have more tractors than vehicles, they would not be appropriate."
Now that cyclists will have to ride in the driving lane with cars, it may slow down traffic, but Pinson feels both cyclists and drivers will be able to adapt thanks to the community aiming to become more bicycle friendly.
He said, “Luckily here in Wichita Falls we have a bike driven community. We hope there’s never any problems, but as long as the cars stay patient with the bicycles and the bicycles stay patient with the cars we can continue having the great relationship we do.”