Cyclists hope public more aware after Natchez Trace incident


Cyclists hope public more aware after Natchez Trace incident

Mac McCabe stands in his shop this week to talk about cycling.

By CLIFF HIGHTOWER

Danny Sapp tries to ride at least 60 miles a day on his bicycle.

Sapp pulled over at the College Grove Grocery Tuesday on his bicycle to take a moment’s rest. Cars drove by going almost twice the speed as he could pedal. Just days earlier, a rider had been hit on Natchez Trace Parkway and he knew about it.

“I’m not going to let it deter my riding,” said Sapp, of Murfreesboro.

Danny Sapp, of Murfreesboro, rides along U.S. Highway 31A in College Grove Tuesday.

Instead, he kept on riding, making his way to Shelbyville then back home to Murfreesboro.

Over the weekend, Tyler Noe, a Nolensville realtor, was injured when a black Volvo swerved into him on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Marshall Grant Neely, III, of Franklin, a former Dean of Students at the University School of Nashville, faces felony reckless endangerment and three misdemeanors.

He could also be facing additional federal charges.

Cyclists are now using this as an opportunity to help educate the public about the cycling laws. Greg Goodman, a friend of Noe’s, was riding with him on the trip and caught the whole incident on video.

The video has gone viral and national media picked up the story. Goodman said earlier this week that Noe will be okay. He said it is now an opportunity to educate the public.

Stan Davey, president of the Harpeth Bicycle Club, said the incident did not surprise him.

“We knew this was coming for a long time,” he said.

State law says motorists are supposed to give bicyclists a three foot clearance.

Davey said motorists get distracted or think bicyclists “shouldn’t be on the road at all.”

He said just two weeks ago he and a friend were riding on U.S. Highway 96 when a woman honked her horn at them and flipped them off. He said he knows there is a trade off. Riders should go to single file when they are in groups to let cars go by. Sometimes, though, the riders may not hear the cars.

A big problem he sees right now is a lack of signage on highways and roads letting people know they need to be shared.

“I think the laws are good,” Davey said. “I just don’t think they’re enforced. I think there needs to be more signage.”

Mac McCabe, owner of Mac’s Harpeth Bikes, has a different view between cyclists and motorists. He said the majority of accidents don’t even involve motorists, it’s usually sticks or rocks or animals or other bikers that cause the accidents, he said.

He said he thinks the majority of drivers are sensitive to bicyclists and he’s seen some drivers take extra caution when passing him and his friends while they are out riding.

The big problem he sees is also signage.

He’s ridden the Natchez Trace several times.

“They don’t have signs frequently enough saying we can share the lane,” he said.

He also suggested more frequent on-the-road signage called “sharrows.” Signage painted on roads highlighting drivers share the roads.

He said it is important that motorists be mindful of riders and riders be mindful of motorists. McCabe said both should just be courteous.

“Sharing the road goes both ways,” he said.

Cliff Hightower can be contacted at cliff.hightower@homepagemediagroup.com or follow him on Twitter @CliffHightower.

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