Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Duck and Cover

Ok this whole, "lets run over cyclists" thing is getting out of hand.

Most of you know about CK's recent run-in with a KAT bus, but there was a second accident, just as bad, that happened recently as well.

If you go to the downtown wine store frequently, or infrequently for that matter, you'll have gotten to know Matt. He is not the guy with the funny mustache- he is the mild mannered, knowledgeable, and friendly guy who, if you're willing, will send you on oenological excursions into the wide world of wine (and whiskey, gin, ect.)

About a week or so ago, Matt was riding from SoKno to downtown and had an unfortunate experience with a car and driver who did not take into account the rules of the road when it came to bikes. Now Matt has a broken knee, destroyed bike, and a long recovery period.

photo by max.

This sort of thing has to change. There are too many people riding bikes in the city center now for there to be so much ignorance on the part of drivers when it comes to interacting with cyclists. It is clear that there is still a huge knowledge gap on the part of both regular commuters (the person who ran over Matt) and professional drivers (the KAT driver who you would think would know better and yet still tried to kill CK).

I'd like to propose a campaign to educate the public. Lets pick the innermost zip codes and have the city begin public service announcements. They can send out mailers with magnets for refrigerators laying out the rules of operation of vehicles around cars and with a phrase that will encourage people to keep and eye out.

This is where i need help, I'm still lacking in the slogan front.

"Don't throw down on K-town... bikers."

"Live and let Bike"

"Knoxville Bikers are People Too"

"Biking: It Isn't Just for Hippies"

Help me out with some slogans, themes etc. and we'll get the ideas to the right people in city or county government. This is important to everyone who bikes, knows someone who bikes, or drives a car. As the number of bikers increases, as it will, the amount of considerate drivers needs to increase necessarily, or they'll need to reopen to Baptist emergency room to deal with the consequences.


Gexx said...

I agree that Knoxville needs a major motorist education campaign (maybe even some billboards). I tried biking from S Knox to downtown and the UT Campus a few times, and each time while motorists just passed me on the narrow spots, I got run off of Chapman Highway by a KAT bus. Recently, KnoxNews published an article about a rise in bike commuters, and there were lots of commenters who did not like that bicyclists were riding on the road. (link: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/jun/05/commuting-bike-knox-125-percent/ )

Anonymous said...

How about:

"Bikers, shcmikers."

Keith said...

How about ... "Hit a bike. Go to jail."

max said...

Or... "I likes bikes!"

Susanne said...

As someone who has been scared to bike in the road ever since I got spooked by a rear view mirror and ended up falling on my face in the middle of the Gay Street bridge, I would like to question the law that mandates that bicyclists must use the road. I understand that a bicycle is a "vehicle" because it has wheels and is technically a "machine". Cars are machines with wheels too. So by that logic they both belong in the road. For argument's sake, why don't we entertain the possibility of bicyclists using the sidewalks (where available)? It's not a perfect solution because pedestrians need a place too, but a person getting hit or swerved around by a cyclist is more safe than a cyclist getting hit or spooked by a car or truck or bus. Where did the cyclist rules of the road come from anyway?...and should they be changed?

ck said...

The fact that The Pol wrote this post gives me hope that Knoxville can change.

This is a pretty savvy group going for the same thing:


There are a lot of good national movements seeking what we're talking about- just not a very good local presence here. Local chapter anyone?

Discordia said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it required by law for cyclists to wear a helmet if they're riding on the roads in Knoxville?

Maybe 1 in 10 that I see actually wear a helmet.

That point aside, I've had helmetless cyclists weave between my car and others on Clinch beside the convention center. Not saying it's related, but people in this city aren't exactly known for their amazing driving abilities.

Anonymous said...

Smart Trips

The Modern Gal said...

Discordia brings up a good point, and I say this as someone who bikes everywhere she can -- I'm sure there are plenty of cyclists who could stand some refreshers on the rules of the biking road. I realize that wouldn't have stopped what happened to CK and Matt, because they were obeying the laws, but we all should probably work on our road etiquette a bit. I'm sure there are some laws I've missed as a biker because I haven't taken the time to educate myself.

CK and Pol, maybe the Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program could help. They've already got a structure in place, although I'd venture to guess they could use some more money if they expand their education services.

Chris Eaker said...

We (the Knoxville Bicycle Advisory Committee) have been working on a public awareness program. We'll be putting displays similar to the one linked to below in public places like movie theaters, malls, the farmers market, etc to build awareness of bicycles on the road. It's a good first step, but there is a ways to go before Knoxville residents respect cyclists as fellow users of the roads.


The Modern Gal said...

@Chris Eaker That's awesome. Is there a chance that real local Knoxvillians will be featured in those displays? It would be nice if there's a chance for people to see someone they know to put a personal spin on the campaign.

kelley said...

Yes, the bicyclists in this campaign are actually Knoxville bicyclists. Two women--we did the photo shoot this weekend and expect the displays to be on display by late July or early August. Regal Cinemas and both malls have already given approval to display them, and we are working on other locations. We are also starting a Bicycling Ambassadors program which will offer one-on-one conversations to motorists and bicyclists about sharing the road and the rules of the road, at community events, on the roadways and other ways. Television commercials we have tried, but don't have enough money to run them except as PSAs, and I highly doubt they reach our target audience anyway, esp in today's marketing world. The question is, what will reach them?

No, Discorida, helmets are not required unless you are under 16. Thought we highly recommend them for all ages.

Andrea said...

I completely support cyclists. I think it's a great way for people to stay in shape and cut down on the air pollution that covers Knoxville in a haze. And I fully support education for motor vehicles. I think it's necessary. However, I think a lot of the cyclists I've seen around town also need some education. I don't appreciate walking my dog on the side walk and almost getting run over by someone who decided they didn't feel like going around the construction on 100 block, so they just go through on the side walks. I've almost been run over because of cyclists like that at least half a dozen times. I think if cyclists want cars to respect their presence, they have to accept the fact that they are road vehicles and mind the rules accordingly. It's a two way street, so to speak.

Here is an entertaining video of bicycle rush hour in the Netherlands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-AbPav5E5M&feature=related I would love it if Knoxville started to look more like this on the roads. "Cycling in the Netherlands is much safer than in the USA. The Netherlands has the lowest non-fatal injury rate as well as the lowest fatality rate, while the USA has the highest non-fatal injury rate as well as the highest fatality rate. Indeed, the non-fatal injury rate for the USA is about 30 times higher than for the Netherlands.

Injury rate per million km cycled: USA 37.5; NL 1.4
Fatality rate per 100 million km cycled: USA 5.8; NL 1.1"

Anonymous said...

Thank God. Maybe there will be less of you idiots on the road getting in the way of real people. Here's an idea for your campaign. Ride in the middle of the road. It makes it much easier to hit you.

Anonymous said...

Real classy, Anonymous @ 5:07. I hope you get cancer.

steven said...

Rednecks like anon are why cycling will never be safe in places like Knoxville until we have physically separated bike routes. See Toronto, Berlin, Bogota, or Portland for some cool examples.

Kevin said...

I've been to the Netherlands. It's pretty sweet to see an entire parking garage filled with not cars, but bicycles. And to see cyclists with wheelbarrow-type contraptions on the front to hold their children.

Don't worry, other Anonymous. Someday gas prices will be so high that 5:07 Anon will be biking everywhere. Here's to preemptive I told you sos.

Mickey said...

Getting downtown from SoKno on a bike was always tricky, especially the bridges. Once I got downtown, I could keep pace with traffic, but people in cars tend to floor it like a drag race going across the Gay and Henley bridges, making me feel like it was a sprint for my life. Reduced speed limits? Maybe that could help.

Here's a slogan: "Don't hit things with your car, ever."

Michael said...

For better or worse, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in Knoxville is perfectly legal. Rules and restrictions can be found here.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see "share the road" signs with room for me to graffiti an extra word between "the" and "road."

I'd also like for the more aggressive redneck drivers who hate sharing with cyclists to be forced to face the fact that drivers of 18-wheelers have zero difficulty passing bikes with plenty of room, even though they're far bulkier and less maneuverable.

These people are nothing but whiners. Chase them down, goad them into getting out to fight you, ride around them and take their car keys.

Andrea said...

Interesting. I really thought that riding a bicycle on the sidewalk was illegal.

itchybro said...

Hey anon: Suck on this:



"Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is granted all
of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable
to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter and chapter 10, "

radioactivegan said...

"Bicycles don't have roll cages. Share the road."