Plano cyclists describe hair-raising symptoms while riding under powerlines

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM

PLANO -- Imagine riding your bicycle on a popular North Texas hike and bike trail, when you suddenly feel the hair standing up on the back of your neck and twinges through your arms and legs.

That's exactly what's happening on the Bluebonnet Trail in Plano, between Ohio Drive and Coit Road. While Oncor officials say it's perfectly safe, cyclists are worried.

"As you can see, the bike path actually meanders through the power lines here," said Paul Potter, a cyclist.

Potter and Andrew Brown ride the Bluebonnet several times a week. At certain spots along the trail, they describe something shocking.

"You feel a little sensation and a tinge," Brown said. "And I feel it mostly in my arm."

Cyclists are concerned. So is radiologist Dr. Janet Kirby, who said based on the studies she researched, radiation from electromagnetic fields can indeed cause health problems. She suggests riders put the brakes on riding there, and find another trail.

"Electromagnetic frequency is actually another toxin, like mercury or lead," Kirby said.

Oncor owns the power lines. Company spokesman Chris Schein says cyclists are riding through an electromagnetic field.

"Any time you have electricity moving through wires, it is going to create an electromagnetic field," Schein said.

He claims he trail is perfectly safe and said there is no link between electromagnetic energy and people's health.

Schein is a frequent rider on the trail.

"Quite Frankly, if I felt there was any hazard, I certainly wouldn't be underneath and I wouldn't have my kids underneath here either," Schein said.

Oncor officials say the electromagnetic fields are larger in the hot summer months, when more power is running through the lines.

Plano Parks and Recreation officials say they looked at studies 20 years ago when they decided to locate the trails under the power lines. They're confident the trails are safe.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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