Round Rock police say the man who hit and killed a bicyclist Tuesday morning has not been cited for any traffic violation. But the case remains open and charges are still possible.
The frontage road between FM 1431 and Old Settlers Road was closed as police investigated the collision. Joe Holan, 44, was dead. Holan, a father of four, was an avid bicyclist and not only was he wearing a helmet, police say he also had reflective clothing on as well as a light for his bike.
"We have seen pedal-cyclist riding on the side of this frontage road, this guy has been seen here before riding down the frontage," said Sgt. Justin Davis with the Round Rock Police Department.
The sedan that hit Holan, according to investigators, was driven by Travis Talley. He was on his way to work from his home in Taylor and told police he didn't see the bicyclist as he changed lanes.
Holan was somewhat of an attraction along the stretch of roadway. When he lost his job in 2011, he reportedly came up with the idea of becoming a rolling billboard. He would offer to sell ad space on his bike, ride into high traffic areas and try to get noticed. His death now sends a message of warning.
Texas ranks 4th in the nation for what's known as pedal-cyclist fatalities. Only New York, California and Florida recorded more according to recent data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most accidents take place in urban areas and usually happen between 4 p.m. and 8 in the evening. The majority of those killed are male between the ages of 45 and 54. More than one-fourth of the accidents in 2011 involved alcohol. Round Rock police say alcohol and speed were not factors in the collision Tuesday morning. Darkness however may have played a role.
"Right here it is not lit at night. That is why we do advise the drivers to be aware of the bicyclist that are riding and also ask the pedal-cyclist to make sure they follow all of the safety regulations that are required when they are riding on the roadway," said Sgt. Davis.
It's not illegal for bicyclist to ride on the frontage road. Joe Holan was about 8 miles from his home in Georgetown when he was hit. Earlier this year, he pitched a plan to TX DOT about creating a dedicated commuter lane for bicyclist. The following is an excerpt from his blog, advantagebike, that he posted May19, 2013.
"I first rode to work on this route in 2009. Traffic in the morning is nearly non-existent from Georgetown to Round Rock, but the ride home on the east side of the highway is extremely dangerous. TxDOT shot down my proposal to designate the right lane of these frontage roads as bike lanes for specific time frames in the morning and afternoon hours. Their position after a "careful review of my proposal" is that it is not feasible to reduce vehicle capacity during "peak hour" when traffic volume is the highest. This is true in the afternoon when riding home on the east side of the highway, but when riding to work in the morning, between Inner Space Caverns and Rudy's, I am passed by just a handful of cars and trucks...not enough to occupy two lanes, not even during "peak hour".
TxDOT has also stated there are no plans to widen the frontage roads between Georgetown and Round Rock. After my own careful review, what does makes sense is a hike & bike trail that follows the southbound frontage road connecting Rockmoor Drive in Georgetown and the northern-most point of Chisholm Trail Road in Round Rock. I understand there are underground utilities to address, but I'm not suggesting we dig the Panama Canal. It's a hike & bike trail.