Update: Two bicyclists injured in vehicle collision near Redstone Arsenal Gate 9

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – An update on the two cyclists involved in a wreck Thursday morning just past the entrance to Gate 9 on Redstone Arsenal.

The incident happened about 5:30 a.m. and led to long delays for drivers using Gate 9.

Joanna Whisenant and Jennifer Carroll, both experienced cyclists, were involved in a collision with a GMC truck.

Whisenant told WHNT News 19 that she and Carroll have been riding on the Arsenal two or three times a week for years.

She also noted that they try to complete their rides before 7:00 a.m. to avoid heavy traffic.

Whisenant said they were riding tandem, Whisenant in front of Carroll, in the far right lane when the accident happened.

“Then I heard a loud noise. It was like nothing I had ever heard before,” said Whisenant. “I thought there had been a car wreck. I was trying to get off the road and before I knew it, something pushed me forward.”

Both women were taken to Huntsville Hospital following the wreck.

Carroll broke her back. She had surgery Thursday night to fuse her spine and she is expected to be in a brace for at least six months.

Whisenant was discharged Thursday evening with her sling in an arm, some severe bruising and a large blood pocket on her head.

She said they were both wearing helmets and had blinking lights on their bicycles.

WHNT News 19 has asked Garrison Public Affairs on the Arsenal for more information about what caused the collision, but no other details were released due to the ongoing investigation.

No details were released about the person driving the truck.

Traffic Delay

Many drivers were stuck in the delay with traffic on Research Park Boulevard backed up past Old Madison Pike and past Madison Boulevard on Interstate 565 eastbound.

The Arsenal said it welcomes bicyclists on its roadways.

“Bicyclists are always welcome on the Arsenal and we will continue to enforce regulations that provide for their safety,” said Col Bill Marks, Garrison Commander. “Drivers should always be aware and not distracted and bicyclists should follow all procedures that make them more visible and safe.”

RSA regulations require bicyclists to adhere to traffic safety laws, staying as close to the right side of the roadway as is practical, and that they wear an approved helmet and reflective vest.

“We’re all definitely thinking about these injured bicyclists and hope they have a speedy return to the road,” said Col. Marks.

48 comments

      • Concerned

        In your back yard!! You all fail to stop at stop signs and could care less if you follow rules on the highway! Just the other day I was at a stop sign, lady riding her bike failed to stop, had I pulled out because I had the right of way , this accident would been my fault right?? Use your back yard idiots!

      • flash001USA

        Your reply is about as shallow as it gets! Yeah there are some idiots on the road and guess what?
        They ride bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and big rigs and some of them even walk. Not all people that
        ride bicycles are bad drivers and not all people with a drivers license are good drivers. Understand?

    • JSP

      Hence the reason why Alabama is corpulent. Oh, since you are probably just a dumb chauvinist redneck, that means FAT.

    • Jim

      Well Mike you sound like that guy who was arrested for posting his driving by bicycles on the roadway and yelling at them and ranting about bicylists should not be on the road. Quit trolling this forum..

    • JJ MacCrimmon

      Wrong Answer! Cyclists have as much right to the road as cars. They are required to follow the same laws and guidance as any other vehicle. Likewise, auto and truck drivers in the area, MUST give them the same respect or clearance as they ould any other driver. That means drivers must not be driving distracted, reading texts, doing make-up, trying to eat or organize paperwork while driving into high traffic areas like the gates at Redstone (all of these I’ve observed).

  • Claudell Devonderick Tahilla Jefferson Doolittle Waiteeng Onmee Chek.

    They shouldn’t be on the road during rush hour. The ones on Patton road at 730 as 40,000 people come on to base are asking for trouble. They always run the stop signs.

  • Sam

    it was a motorcycle hit by a truck inside the gate, not bicycle and it happened about 5:30 not 7:30

    • Nuclear Mike

      If that is the case, then CH19 needs to have an actual reporter on the scene before reporting this news rather than have non-paid iphones doing all their news gathering…

      • Claire Aiello

        It was 2 bicyclists involved, with a GMC truck, no motorcycle involved. We did have a reporter there. Please watch the video included with this report and you’ll see that Jeff Gray was there from very early on. It happened inside the Arsenal gates, though, so very little information was given out initially other than what we could see from the traffic situation.

        And as far as your comment about iPhone news gathering, newsgathering has changed, absolutely. Not just for us, though, every news station would agree with this. It’s difficult to be at every scene, but if someone sends in video or photos from a phone, or if our reporters do, this helps us show the scene visually in order to get the information out there for viewers. People are asking for coverage of something as soon as it happens and these photos and videos help us do that.

        We appreciate your comments and your feedback.

    • Paul

      Actually it was a bicyclist. I know the person hit.

      Regardless of whether it was a bicycle or a motorcycle, somebody got sent to the hospital (and will hopefully be okay) because somebody (not sure how at this point) did something wrong or wasn’t paying attention.

      • Ahester13

        why don’t you get more information before making assumptions about whether or not this person was paying attention..

  • Brian M. Robinson

    You are mistaken, Nuclear Mike. You probably should read up on the law before you get back out on the road. The civilized thing to say would be something like, “I hope they are going to be okay.” These cyclists were choosing to ride on the Arsenal early in the morning to stay away from traffic and rush hour. By they way, cars technically run stop signs 80% of the time. Drivers don’t mind other drivers committing infractions like that, but they fume about cyclists doing the same. See cyclists and see them as people.

    • Nuclear Mike

      Thanks Brain…we are all entitled to our half of the road so choose what half you think a bicycle can survive the impact of a ton+ vehicle…I personally know 3 bicyclists here involved in accidents with vehicles, 1-dead & 2-so injured they will never be the same again.

  • Paul

    Mike, Actually, you’re incorrect about that. Bicycles have just as much right to be on the road as you do. Check the laws here in Huntsville and Alabama. I do agree that bicycles should not be on interstates like 565 or 65 and I believe it is illegal. But for surface streets, including within Redstone Arsenal, they are allowed. Sorry. Get over it.

    Don’t give me the “they don’t pay taxes/registration” to maintain the roads. – Yes, they do and often own multiple cars.

    Don’t give me the they always go to slow. – Well, duh, they’re not a car. But if you’re in such a damned hurry, leave earlier.

    Don’t give me the “they run stop signs and ignore traffic laws” bit. I guarantee you that nearly everybody rolls a stop sign, signals improperly, or speeds at some point in their car. So how is that different?

    Don’t give me the “they should ride on sidewalks” bit. That is actually more dangerous for both the cyclist AND the motorist, not to mention pedestrians as the motorists aren’t looking at sidewalks for things. They SHOULD be looking at the road.

    I would contend that if bicycles are so slow and darting out in front of you, how can NOT help but see them?

    How would YOU feel about your spouse or children riding out on the road, getting hit, and getting responses about how they shouldn’t be able to be out on the road and should stick to the sidewalk.

    I started cycling last year and the biggest issue is the lack of bike lanes or at least wider shoulders to give cyclists a place to ride without having to be in the traffic lanes. Look at Slaughter, Blake Bottom, Airport, 72, Jordan, or any of the major roads and you find NO room for cyclists. So, by law, they HAVE to ride in the lane. Check the laws about it.

    An example of a road getting it RIGHT is Cecil Ashburn. That wide shoulder gives cyclists room to ride without impeding traffic. As long as people don’t litter and debris is kept clear, it isn’t an issue. Spring City Cycling Club actually maintains part of Cecil Ashburn to keep trash out of the way for cyclists AND to keep the road looking nice.

    Now the argument will be about how we taxpayers should have to fund bike lanes or wider shoulders. Actually, if there WERE those resources, the roads would be safer for both motorized vehicles AND cyclists. It provides even place where a break-down can be moved to in an emergency and would actually HELP traffic flow, which would help YOU get to your destination a bit easier and perhaps a bit quicker.

    I know the cyclist that got hit. A very caring and loving parent that wants to be healthy and fit to watch their children grow. Cycling is part of their exercise program and riding on Redstone is probably the safest area around to do that. I do not know the particulars about how it happened, but I’m sure it will come to light soon. So please do not think that all cyclists are out to wreck your day by riding slowly (by vehicle standards) or by taking up the lane so you can’t pass when it isn’t safe to do so. Most just want to get exercise or are training for triathlons.

    • Nuclear Mike

      Thanks Paul…we are all entitled to our half of the road so choose what half you think a bicycle can survive the impact of a ton+ vehicle…

      • Paul

        Cyclists can legally take the entire lane *if needed*. So I’ll take my lane. You stay in yours. In this case, they were not impeding traffic. Where they were struck, there are *3* lanes going that direction. Driver could have and should have been paying attention and been in an entirely different lane.

        Curious about your opinion of 1 lane bridges. Which half do you want since we each get half the road? Common sense would dictate you wait for the others to exit that particular patch of real estate before trying to occupy it. If you were a cyclist on a one lane bridge and I were driving my truck the other direction, would you expect me to wait for you to finish crossing it? If you say no, you risk getting launched over the bridge rail. If you say, yes, you’re being hypocritical. Your answer will truly depend on your perspective.

        I cycle and I drive. I used to hate cyclists on the roads too. I’d get impatient and pissed. Wish they’d just get of the roads and wonder who let them on… Then I rode a bicycle. Perspective changes dramatically and I truly understand both sides much better now.

        I know bicyclists and motorcyclists killed and seriously injured, too. It’s not exactly a badge of honor to wear, I assure you. Two wheeled vehicles, motorized or not, are plain and simply missed by automobiles, trucks, and other larger vehicles. Lack of attention from doing other things besides focusing on the driving tends to be a huge contributor.

        I’m not ruling out the cyclists doing something wrong as I don’t know what all happened yet, but both are very experienced cyclists with many, many miles on their bicycles. As for claims they rode down the highway, I highly doubt it, but suspect they left from the Visitor Center, which is VERY common when riding on the arsenal.

    • Defender

      But that raises an issue. Is Restone Arsenal a country club or athletic club for triathlon training, or a military base with a mission to perform to defend the country?

      • Paul

        Redstone has a country club.
        Redstone has multiple fitness centers.
        Redstone has a running club and swim teams.
        Redstone has a mission, but also a mission to provide for morale, welfare, and recreation of those that work and/or live there.

  • Michael

    As someone that used to bike ride for exercise (sometimes on the Arsenal) quite often both sides have merit here.

    One, share the road people. There is no law that says roads are for cars only. Other than interstates I think everything else is fair game. Get over your sense of entitlement. Judging from some of the obesity studies there are many in this state that should probably bike a little more instead of making posts on web sites while pounding down the potato chips and Coca-Cola.

    Two, having said all that bikers probably shouldn’t risk riding in heavy traffic areas. Just because you can, doesn’t really mean you should. When I biked I made sure to stay away from the gates and off busier roads like Martin and Rideout. Decided I’d rather play the odds in my favor. Even in the countryside there are some county roads I won’t touch.

    • Paul

      Well said, Mike. I ride on the arsenal but wait to head south on Rideout till the end of the day, when traffic is going outbound (or I drive in and depart from the landing down just off Patton). I stay to the ‘backroads’ of RSA as much as possible for this very reason.

      Though I will say the repaved Rideout actually makes that section much safer for cyclists with fewer potholes to navigate and smoother steering.

  • Ralph Connor Jr

    The law also requires bike riders to ride no more than two abreast and only if you can do so without impeding normal traffic; and to ride as far to the right as practicable. When you choose to ride on a high-speed road and not ride as far to the right as practicable or choose to ride two abreast even though you are not riding as far to the right as practicable and are impeding normal traffic, you’re taking a risk. The law does not provide adequate risk avoidance or transfer to mitigate it to a manageable level and protect your skin. I think a couple of people have well pointed out that those who take such risk because they can, may not be making the best decisions they could possibly make given the significant level of risk to life and limb.

    • John

      Ralph, Riding two abreast makes the cyclist more visible to motorsists, so it is a good practice. On busy narrow two lane roads they should be single file, on a multiplane road two abreast is better. Riding to the right is not always the safest either. I often move to the far left to make a left turn or avoid a merging traffic lane coming in from the right. On residential roads I ride in the middle to be more visible to people backing out of driveways. As far to the right as practicable has a lot of wiggle room, it does not mean the riders must straddle the white line the whole ride.

  • Jessie Henderson

    It’s dangerous to ride a bike on Alabama roads. Many drivers ignore stop signs and even stop lights. They often drive too fast, and see nothing more than the bumper of the vehicle 6 feet ahead of them. Forget about noticing bike riders! Maybe the best approach would be to pass a law that restricts bike riding to civilized locales. That way, there won’t be any bikes on the road to interfere with those rushing off to work!

  • James

    The simple fact of the matter is the road systems around here don’t support bicycling at busy times. I ride a motorcycle and cars pay no attention to me a LOT of the time. Fortunately, I haven’t been injured in a wreck as yet. But, if they do not pay attention to a motorcycle that CAN keep up with traffic, has lights and all that, they are going to pay less attention to a bicyclist. Bicyclists can preach all they want about their rights to the road. However, being on the road means you also run the risk of being injured in wrecks. People aren’t going to pay special attention to you just like they already don’t to motorcycles. I even quit riding my motorcycle to work because of the close calls I had in rush hour traffic. People do not look for or process two wheeled vehicles for whatever reason and expecting them to suddenly do so isn’t going to happen.

  • Bob Newhart

    I agree with Michael, everyone needs to get past this sense of entitlement. Share the road and be courteous to others. People will say the worst things out of their car windows at cyclists. The same thing would never be said if they were standing next to the person. It’s as if their car makes them anonymous. I personally blame the internet for a lot of behavior these days. People say all kinds of things on the internet that they would never say in person to their face. Also, for the record 5:45 AM is not rush hour and if you can’t see someone in a big reflective vest then you need to get your eyes checked.

    And Nu-cu-lear Mike is obviously trolling for comments as there was not a single meaningful comment.

  • Nuclear Mike

    The laws of Physics override the Laws of the Road when the impact occurs between vehicle & a bicycle…the bicyclist is knowingly endangering their own lives with the sheer calculations of kinetic energy imparted upon impact…the bicycle loses every time regardless of the “right to ride a bicycle on the streets, roads, or highways”.

  • Concerned

    Some Bikers deserve a DUI too.. they drink and drive and violate many traffic violations…. let’s just all get a bike and ride on 65. Heck , who needs a car anymore??

  • Betty

    I have an idea. All bicyclists should be required to register their bikes with the Alabama DOT and purchase tags. In my mind that gives them the ‘highway rights’ so often mentioned in arguments such as seen on this type forum. Then….take these funds and build a biker/walking/running trail across this state. Connect to the one in Georgia just northwest of I20. That trail is awesome and safe….it is built parallel to main highways but is not a part of that highway. Bicyclists can then share the road with walkers and runners and other bicyclists. Collisions on that stretch of road are likely to be much less serious and maybe just as much fun.

    • CN

      Absolutely correct, Betty. That revenue could be used to upgrade roads and bike paths to help improve bicycle safety; a win-win situation for everyone (bicyclers and non-bicyclers alike since the revenue won’t be taken from their pockets). I will take it a step further – have this road use tax only apply to those individuals 21 and older.

  • Nuclear Mike

    Just get bicycles off the public roads & highways…riding on city streets can be the lesser of the dangerous activates, but none the less that danger remains with always serious or fatal consequences for the bicyclists.

    • JJ MacCrimmon

      No Mike, you probably need to be off the streets and roads. If you have that attitude, no-one is safe driving, riding or walking near you.

      • Nuclear Mike

        Again…The Laws of Physics override the Laws of the Road when the impact occurs between vehicle & a bicycle…the bicyclist is knowingly endangering their own lives with the sheer calculations of kinetic energy imparted upon impact…the bicycle loses every time regardless of the “right to ride a bicycle on the streets, roads, or highways”.

  • Debbie

    As a cyclist I will not ride during rush hour, or on busy streets that do not have an adequate shoulder.
    To address the issue of property tax on a bicycle, I used to live in California where, by law, bicycles had to be registered in order to use them lawfully on the roads. I am not opposed to the idea of property taxes on bicycles, and registration requirements. Perhaps with that sort of revenue, and visibility to the state that there are actually folks that ride their bicycles in other places than their own backyard :) we would have a voice when it came to road construction or repaving projects. I would personally prefer to have a designated bike lane to travel in. Yeah, it worries me on many occasions that the typical Sunday driver (and I have witnessed this first hand) leaving church cannot manage to pass when it is safe to do so, thereby not only endangering themselves but any other vehicle on the rode, including bicycles.
    I will end my thoughts with this, have we become a society that has not grown from the hate mongering that occurred not so very many years ago – towards blacks, jews, gays etc. etc. etc.? It appears that we have not, and anonymity has furthered it in many cases.

  • CBC

    Why is it we NEVER hear these arguments when pedestrians are hit on University crossing the street in front of the projects?

    No one touts their healthy lifestyle, their right to walk or defends them at all.

    As for the bikers on he aresenal.,, wekk just becasue you can ride doesn;t excuse common sense. There are many places to ride and Rideout Raod is not a smart choice. i work on the arseanl and I can tell you many bikers have a “F” you attitude of entitlement when riding.
    I just can’t see how thtat ride thursday morning was worth it, when all they had to dpo was take thier bikes to a back road!

  • Lin

    He he. Am I the only one who noticed the sentence that says, “Whisenant was discharged Thursday evening with her sling in an arm…”? I’m not making fun of Ms. Whisenant’s injuries in any way — just the sentence. :)

  • tow truck tommy

    I agree with Mike on this. I don’t hate cyclist, I just don’t think they should be allowed to practice their hobby where it endangers themselves or others. How many cyclists have to die before riding on busy roads is outlawed? Is it OK / legal to cross a double yellow in order to pass a slow moving cyclist on a two lane road? If I encounter a cyclist in that situation I just ride their tail and blare the horn until they decide to pull over. Maybe if more people did that the cyclists would quit riding on busy streets and then there would be less cyclists dying. Yeah that was me blaring my horn at you, and I’m not going to stop.

  • Neal Haralson

    The only thing that keeps my family here is the fact that after we retired from the military, we found good schools in Madison. As soon as my son graduates, we are out of here! This is the single most pedestrian unfriendly area I have ever lived. Bicyclists have every right to ride – I no longer ride on the roads unless I have to – if someone hits me on my bicycle, then I take it as an intentional attempt to harm, and will defend as such. I have traveled all over the world in my 20 plus years of service to my country and can honestly say that this area has the largest collection of idiots I have ever seen when it comes to driving. I assume most cars procured in the area have no headlights (often see cars in rain without them on), do not come with blinkers (rarely see them used), and have failing brakes at red lights and stop signs. I see more autos break the law every day than I do see bicyclists break the law in any given month. To those who say bicyclists have no right to the road, you are an idiot and I for one wish you would stay home. To those cyclists who break the laws, I would ask that you please keep in mind that you are harming the biking community when you are doing so. Nuclear Mike, you are the single biggest idiot troll I have ever seen – you bring no value to any conversation, obviously have no life and truly need to go find a piece of ground and start digging – it won’t really add to anything, but it will keep your fellow worms happy!

  • DBerry

    I agree with you Mr. Haralson. Too many drivers that should not even be driving here. I was born and raised here and I’m a little past my prime doing hospital security (seeing plenty of accident victims) but have plenty of respect for cyclists. They show much more respect for others on the road than drivers do. In fact maybe a part of obtaining a first time drivers license should be cycling school. And Thank You for your service sir.

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