PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As a part of the Texas Transportation Plan, residents in the Rio Grande Valley are encouraged to take part in a statewide bicycle analysis survey.

This survey will help the Texas Department of Transportation address safety concerns bicyclists face on the streets such as lack of bike lanes, unpaved shoulders, poor lighting and road barriers.

Residents can also share ideas and suggestions for new bike lane locations, changes to existing bikeways, and additional safety measures.

“This plan will focus on improving opportunities to ride a bicycle along, across and near roads owned and operated by the state of Texas,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Ray Pedraza said. “We’re really trying to look at improving the infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists, so it’s important that we hear feedback”

According to TxDOT, the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities on state roadways increased around 14 percent last year.

That’s why avid cyclist Camilo Garcia says safety measures are crucial.

“Unfortunately, I have been hit by a car on the bike; several other teammates also,” says Garcia. “It’s just terrible news.” 

Although Garcia says these accidents are usually caused by distracted drivers, he believes changes could be made to keep drivers alert and cyclists safe.

“I think there needs to be more signs out that there’s riders out there,” he tells Valley Central. “The lines need to be specific and create more awareness that the drivers should really move a little bit away from the cyclist.” 

There are currently multiple bike trails throughout the entire valley for cyclists and runners to use — some of which are still under construction.

However, Garcia suggests additional accomodations should be made for competitive cyclists like himself.

“We’re averaging 20 plus miles an hour on a 40-to-50-mile ride, so it’s hard to go through those narrow trails where there’s families with little kids darting back and forth on their bikes,” Garcia said. “Even though we appreciate the trails, we need the roads and the shoulders to do those long bike rides at higher speeds.”