Cyclists call for caution on the roads after fatal accident

After a weekend motor vehicle accident claimed the life of one Amarillo cyclist, more are worrying about the dangerous trend of texting while driving.

Witnesses claimed that the driver that struck and killed 48-year-old Jeffrey Tankersley was texting on his phone when the wreck happened.

A tragic accident that other local cyclists, like Michael Winegar, said they see happening more and more.

"There's more cyclists out in this area than there have been even five years ago," he said. "People are paying more attention to what's in their hand versus what's on the road. The road that Jeff was killed on, I've ridden. Where he was hit, there's nothing out there. People are just getting careless and with cell phones it's only gotten worse," Winegar added. "Mobile media has only made it worse."

In fact, Winegar has experienced several close calls himself while out riding in Amarillo.

"I've had a guy, last week, pull out in front of me and stop and then another lady came up behind me to the point that I could feel the wind off her mirror on my arm," he added.

It's those close calls, and even worse, the fatal accidents that have cyclists and officials calling for everyone to take action and Share The Road.

"Slow down, look around, check to see where everything is and just give us some room," said Winegar. "Three feet would be great."

"You're driving a 2,000 pound weapon," said Amarillo Police Department's Cpl. Jerry Neufeld. "You need to pay attention to what you're doing, what's going on around you. It's not just the drivers of motor vehicles, we see distracted bicyclists, we see distracted motorcyclists. Everybody gets that way."

Along with all drivers on the road (including all cyclists) paying more attention, Winegar added that cyclists should be riding on the right side of the road, with traffic. Also, riders can help protect themselves by using tail lights on their bikes or wearing bright colored clothing. Winegar said anything you can do to make yourself more visible -- the better.