Yesterday at 2PM, while riding from Oak Cliff into Downtown, cyclist Dallas Torres was hit by a car on the Jefferson Viaduct snapping his bicycle in half and leaving him with a broken neck and collar. Fortunately, another cyclist who knew Dallas happened upon the scene while riding into town minutes later and called his wife. Dallas is currently at Baylor hospital with family and friends where they’re awaiting more details on his prognosis.
The Jefferson Viaduct is the most direct route for cyclists to take when traveling from North Oak Cliff into Downtown Dallas. Unfortunately, it has two conflict points where traffic merges on the right, leaving cyclists at a dangerous vantage when trying to cross to move to the slow lane. Ean Parsons, an experienced rider who daily crosses the bridge to work, has regularly commented on the dangers of this link.
The concerns expressed by the cycling community have led the city to place the Jefferson Viaduct on its “Early Implementation” project schedule within the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan (reference page 33).
The potential to develop the far left or far right lane as a barriered two-way cycle track (see below), would create clear separation from high-speed vehicles and help increase ridership by giving bicyclists a safer option for entering downtown from Oak Cliff. With yesterday’s accident as a warning, we should all work with the city to implement this recommendation as soon as possible. Bike Friendly Oak Cliff will begin a fundraising effort shortly, similar to the Fort Worth Avenue Bike Lane campaign, to help cover the costs of installing a jersey barrier and creating signage. We hope to have more details soon.