Monday, November 16, 2009

Monte Sano resident worried about safety of bicycles and cars on Bankhead Parkway

From Huntville Times

HUNTSVILLE, AL - Bankhead Parkway is a popular route for local bicycle riders, but it has Ruth Ann Haymes worried about how safe it is for cyclists and motorists sharing the road.

Haymes, who is 82 and lives on Monte Sano, said that several times she’s had to stop her car to avoid a head-on collision with another car passing a bicyclist on the mountainous, curvy road.

“I’m 82 years old and really don’t want to get hit head on,” she said.
Bankhead Parkway has a double-yellow line from about Tollgate Road to the top of the mountain, which means passing is prohibited. Many a motorist going up the mountain behind a bicyclist will be waved around by the biker, Haymes said.
But, she said, the yellow line makes that illegal and blind curves make it hazardous.

There are few, if any, places for a bicyclist going up the mountain to pull off to the side to let vehicles pass.
Haymes wants to know what the police have to say about the situation.

Lt. Mark McMurray, supervisor of the Police Department’s Special Services unit, which includes the Traffic Task Force, said police can ticket a motorist for passing with the yellow line on Bankhead.

“If we’re there to see it,” he said.

Bicyclists have a right to be on the road, he said, and are supposed to ride as far to the right as possible.
McMurray said the Bankhead lanes are only about eight feet wide, and have no place to pull off the road because of a deep ditch on the side.

He said a motorist who passes a bicyclist on Bankhead should stay at least 3 feet from the biker.
“Use common sense and good judgment,” McMurray advised.


inc123 said...

Mrs. Haymes is correct, it is not very safe for cyclists. It is ashmae that the recent paving didn't include more than a few inches more. I'll let you read the old SCCC Forums on Yahoo if you'd like to see the responses to my trying to rally the SCCC to request Bankhead be made more bicycling-friendly at the time of the re-paving. Still don't understand their anger at the very suggestion. But read & interpret for yourself...

Bello Velo said...

I do agree and at the very least there could be much more signage, like what was suggested and done on Hastings. Since when did it become ok to pass anything on a blind curve though?

clintpatty said...

Before I started biking it wasn't acceptable for me to pass anything on a blind curve. The only time I ever got pissed at a cyclist (except for the ones at night with no lights) was going up Cecil Ashburn in the travel lane when the shoulder was clear and smooth.