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letter to the editor


Grigsby Chapel safety

A recent letter to the Press reported an accident suffered by a pedestrian (M.A.S.) from a careless bike rider.

Coincidentally I was nearly hit in the same manner by, I’m guessing, a high-school-age or older helmeted biker coming downhill behind me on the Grigsby Chapel Road sidewalk at a high speed. I say high because as he crashed into the pine tree branches to my left it was the first I was aware of his approach and before I recovered from the surprise he was 50 yards further down the hill.

I did have one other warning of the approach, a lady driving up Grigsby facing me had a look of shock on her face as she saw what was about to happen. Now unlike (M.A.S.), I wasn’t hit but if I was at that speed, the least it would have done is injured me like the or worse, knocked me off the sidewalk into the path of the lady’s car or one of the several following her up Grigsby.

M.A.S. suggested a bike signal for bikers and that is all well and good if used, another idea is to just yell out “passing left.” Now I will say that of all the times I’ve walked, the number of times passing bikers gave any signal is miniscule, they seem think that if they know what’s happening, everything will be OK forgetting a walker may stop or turn or drift from one side of the walk to another.

It’s similar to young walkers who are out on the road thinking the driver always sees them and if they want to walk two or three abreast it’s the driver’s responsibility to avoid them. Let me point out, I am an avid biker as well, have been for years and know the restrictions bikers have to fight but it’s all about sharing the right of way. I may be wrong and it may be dangerous but I believe bikers should be in the roadways, unless a Farragut Greenways or similar is available, in the direction of car traffic.

I read somewhere that a high number of injured bikers come from sidewalk riding, leaving the sidewalk accidentally and also from drivers exiting side roads and driveways to the side of the biker.

Another coincidence was the appearance in the Jan. 30 edition of the News Sentinel of a series of Dear Abby letters, which I normally don’t read but the byline got my attention, “Courtesy aids all on bike paths.” The major points of the three letters were; bikers should call out “Passing on left,” walkers should not walk three abreast and how often they will not form into a single file when a bike or walker is approaching from the opposite direction, and in a twist in the last one, a lady advised that others, like her, may be hard of hearing so a faint bell or callout may not help. Bottom line-Use “Caution” when approaching others and be “Considerate!”

If I may, a similar problem about a bike injury to a child at a “crosswalk” near me got my attention in the presstalk section. I use that crosswalk a lot as it’s part of the Greenway system as is another in the Village Green area.

I often wondered if that was supposed to be a crosswalk where like many communities, the drivers are supposed to stop and let pedestrians or walking bikers cross.

The presstalk submittals kind of answered my question but raised another, does anyone driving know that?

As I say, I use those crosswalks a lot and I would say the number of times drivers stop for waiting walkers is around 1 percent of the time. Once a Farragut High School girl cross-country runner stood waiting with me for a while and then we made a bold dash to cross together with me playing make believe crossing guard, otherwise we’d still be there if it was up to the cars.

I checked for signs warning drivers and the sign is a yellow one (school shape) with a symbol of a walking boy and girl.

Does that mean that cars only have to stop for school children or that one should use caution because school children may be crossing but the answer is only technically important?

I would suggest that because drivers obviously don’t know or care, something better should be done.

How about a different sign, with a blinking yellow light, similar to what other communities around the country use? “Stop for Pedestrians at Crosswalk.” Also the warning sign should be well before the crossing, not 20 feet.



Bob Warshal

Farragut

 

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