New bicycle box in Edinburg to help keep cyclists safe on the road

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POSTED: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 4:54pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 8:56am

The City of Edinburg is debuting a new traffic signal in town, but there is also an additional feature that is the first of its kind in the Valley to help protect cyclists.

The new traffic signal is at the intersection of University Dr. and Joe Ochoa Ave. right in front of the UTPA campus.  As of today the traffic signal is fully operational, but with its debut also comes something else--a new bike box to keep cyclists safe from vehicles.

"It's one of the first of its kind here in the Rio Grande Valley," said Poncialo Longoria, Director of Public Works for the City of Edinburg.  "There are a lot of cyclists that do cycle to UTPA, so we felt like that was the perfect place to try it out and work out, and hopefully it will work."

With this new bike box comes a new set of rules: vehicles must come to a complete stop at or before the 24-inch white stop bar located just in front of the bike box.  The space is designated to keep a safe distance between cars and cyclists, and drivers could be penalized for disregarding this rule.

"According to law, at any traffic signal a vehicle is supposed to stop at or before the stop bar," Longoria explained.  "Police for now are gonna be out there making sure that they are following the proper procedures for vehicles that stop traffic at traffic signals.  There could be fines associated with it."

Drivers are reminded that it's a two-way street when it comes to sharing the road.  Many times, drivers assume they have complete ownership of the road, but it's important not to ignore those traveling on bicycles.

"A cyclist has just as much right as a vehicle does, so we need to make sure that if there's a cyclist in the area we need to make sure that their safety as well as our safety to prevent any type of accidents," said Longoria.

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