KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — There are several groups working to improve biking opportunities in Knoxville by having safe and accessible streets.
“We have bike lanes and bike routes, but they are not protected with infrastructure that actually kind of keeps the cars in their space and the bicyclist in their space safely,” Caroline Cooley, President of Bike Walk Knoxville, said.
Bike advocates say safety should always be top of mind for riders sharing the road.
Bike Walk Knoxville works with community partners to upgrade safety standards to prevent riders from being hurt and killed by cars.
“Only about 15 percent of bicyclists, and that’s even in Knoxville, are willing to ride on a roadway with a speed limit of 35 mph because people at 35 mph don’t go 35 mph, they go 40 or 45,” said Cooley.
The city recently installed a radar speed sign downtown on Hill Avenue, along with physical barriers between the bike lane and the vehicle travel lane.
The city-county principal transportation planner says it’s important the city’s bike initiatives are reflected in planning and design.
“It’s not just about changing the speed limit signs. We need to change the design and the feel of our roads and change a little bit the culture we have around driving. That it’s not so much about getting there fast as it is everyone getting there at the end of the day,” Ellen Zavisca said.
Cyclists can cover more than 110 miles on paved greenways and trails, so knowing where to start can be overwhelming.
The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization has created maps and bike routes showing people where it’s safe to ride.
“So, the best thing is to map out if you can a way to get to the greenway that would be on a neighborhood road and avoid any of the busier roads. Of course, that’s not always feasible so a lot of times you have to put that bike on a bike rack and take it somewhere where there is a parking lot for getting on the greenway,” said Cooley.
Bike advocates say their goal is to have a network of routes across the city and county with low-speed streets and protected bike lanes.
Visit http://www.ibikeknx.com/resources/maps-and-routes/ for information on maps and routes.