Wednesday, August 4, 2010

H'ville Cop Stops Bicyclists on Gallatin Road

It’s been reported to me that Hendersonville Police pulled over bicyclists who were riding four-abreast down Gallatin Road.  The policeman did not issue a citation but only a warning for what he believed to be reckless behavior on the part of the cyclists.  Luckily, the cyclists, not FOGBEES, acted respectively with the officer and the incident did not become an issue.  That often is not the case.  However, as a Director and Officer of Bike Walk Tennessee, I recommend the police enforce the laws with bicyclists.

Bicycling is growing rapidly in Sumner County as it is in neighboring counties.  With popularity the conflicts and ill-will with motorists is also escalating and a good deal of the problem is caused by the bicyclists. Davidson, Rutherford, and Williamson counties have already proposed laws to ban bicyclists from selected roads.  Fortunately, responsible members of local bicycle clubs and Bike Walk Tennessee have met with safety commissions and citizens groups to get a stay on these proposals.  But, this problem is not going away and requires education of the bicyclists, motorists, and law enforcement officers.

Gallatin Road is State designated Bike Route and has wide shoulders. These cyclists were in the traffic lane early in the morning when they were stopped.  Since my information is third-hand the only comment I can safely make is that all parties got portions of the law wrong.  Even, though the officer may not have had all his facts correct about the law, the bicyclists respected that the officer’s primary interest was for their and motorist safety. This mature attitude often is not universal, such as in the infamous saga of Eli Damon, LCI#2059 of Hadley, Massachusetts.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. State and local laws as they apply to people driving a bicycling in Hendersonville are available at . Also, the Florida Bicycle Association put together some great videos on why it is important for officers to enforce laws with bicyclists.  These can be found at

My biggest concern is that problems that are plaguing bicyclists in other Counties don’t begin happening in Sumner County.  The two greatest complaints I hear from motorists are: 1) bicyclists blasting through stop signs and lights without stopping, and 2) long lines of bicyclists blocking or endangering themselves in motorized traffic.  The first com-plaint unequivocally is a violation of law and bicyclists should be cited, appropriately.  The second complaint is just a matter of common courtesy.  If at all possible, avoid roads where slow bicycle driving impedes higher-speed motorized progress and, if that route is necessary, go “above and beyond” by frequently pulling over and letting traffic pass.

Many motorists still believe bicycles are a child’s toy and don’t below on the road.  We don’t have to reinforce that mistaken perception by acting like children. 

1 comment:

Caledonia said...

Good article with good reminders on how to avoid being an "ugly biker".