Cyclists prepare for ‘Share The Road’ event Wednesday to promote road etiquette

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A number of bicycle wrecks have been in headlines -- and the Tennessee Valley's cyclist community is saying enough is enough.  More than 200 cyclists are set to ride through Redstone Arsenal on Wednesday, September 17.

"It's an ongoing issue in our community, bicyclists and motorists need to figure out how to share the roads," said Tony Osani, vice president of the Team Rocket Tri Club.

The bike ride hopes to help make that happen. The Team Rocket Tri Club is sponsoring and providing insurance for participants in support of their fellow triathletes.

"We are the host for the event. Two of our club members, Jennifer Carroll and Joanna Whisenant, were involved in an accident where they were hit by a vehicle."

The ride is an effort to promote road safety for bikes and cars alike. With registered cyclists aged 2-80, everything down to possible flat tires has been covered. Bicycle Cove is providing Support and Gear (SAG) for riders.

Both women injured in that wreck plan to be at Wednesday's ride, even though only one of them is capable of getting on a bike.

"Maybe this'll help bring some understanding to both of us, the motorists and the cyclists, that we need to work together," said Joanna Whisenant, the other cyclist in the summer wreck at Redstone Arsenal.

Whisenant will lead the 10-mile ride while Carroll will attend for support.

"She's still in the hospital and will probably be in rehabilitation for the next three to six months," explained Suzanne Taylor, owner of Fleet Feet in Huntsville.

"By law, we're not allowed on sidewalks and I think that's a big misconception in north Alabama," said Pierson.  "We are not just cyclists that slow you down on your way to work.  We are people.  We are Sunday school teachers.  We are business owners in the community.  We're your neighbor next door."

Support for the event goes beyond its participants, shirts for sale at Fleet Feet go toward medical expenses for one of the victims of the wreck.

"We ordered 225 shirts to sell to help raise money for medical expenses and we just have a handful left," said Taylor.

Fleet Feet donated the cost of printing the shirts -- so ALL of the money will help Jennifer Carroll on her road to recovery.

"I'm really excited for Jennifer that she's going to have some of the burden taken off of her," said Whisenant.

Taylor says she didn't think twice about the fundraiser because cyclists, runners, and motorists alike need to be better at keeping everyone safe on the roads.

Wheels will begin to roll at 5:30 Wednesday evening. Registration for the ride closed Sunday for Redstone Arsenal security reasons -- but the public is invited to support the cause by purchasing the Share The Road shirts.

44 comments

  • Rob

    Your share the road story inspires me to comment. I live in the county, out of any city limits. I constantly observe cyclists riding two & three abreast, not obeying traffic laws, such as stop signs, and right of way / yield signs. I agree that we all probably need to slow down, but not to 5 mph behind a cyclist who refuses to move over to the side and allow a string of cars to pass. If you hit one it is automatically your fault.
    These bicycles are not tagged & licensed, cars are. Our roads are designed for a four (or more) wheeled vehicle traveling at greater speeds than a bicycle. There are no shoulders, blind corners, farm equipment and other hazards without having to deal with some cyclist popping out of nowhere at 5 miles an hour.
    I believe this Share the Road movement is promoting very unsafe practices and behaviors.
    It seems to me that this is another case of the minority ruling the majority by yelling loudest.
    Just another (not seen on tv) point of view.
    Rob

    • Miles Harrington

      Where do you come up with 5mph? If that’s how fast you ride, then you probably need some conditioning before you ride on a road with cars. And it’s only causing safety issues because people in cars refuse to share. The people I get behind on a bike I drive a car, DO move over when available. Perhaps we should be moving at a slower speed with our cell phones down and not like idiots. We should also consider adding more bike lanes. The bike guys I pass are gracious and polite and do their best to let cars pass when able. Getting annoyed bc you must slow your car to 20-25 mph for a time is ridiculous.

  • CatWoman

    Rob, Well said. Another problem is a lot of the cyclist do not wear reflective clothing, so you cannot see them until it is to late. Having a flashing small light on the front and back of the cycle is just not enough.

  • Cheeto

    If you guys would stop texting and driving (and maybe learning appropriate rules of the road, Rob), cyclists would probably be involved in fewer wrecks. I watched someone try to kill a cyclist today. Today. at noon. He was wearing a reflective vest, was riding near the shoulder (when he has the RIGHT to take the whole lane, and probably should have)
    Just because you didn’t leave yourself enough time to wait behind a cyclist for maybe a minute doesn’t give you permission to kill another human being. That’s right, they’re also humans.

  • April

    Let me just say this the cyclist leading this ride is a mother how would you like someone to hit your mother with a vehicle think before you speak and react these people have just as much right to the road as we as drivers do and how dare any one say they should run these people over I wish they could take over the parkway during rush hour traffic and shut all you hateful people up

    • Ann

      So- you are saying, as a mother, you think is is okay for your son to drive down the parkway…on a bike… with cars and trucks doing the posted speed limits. Really?

      AS a mother myself– I would never allow my child to be that much in harms way. You must not be very close to your son, and for that, I am sorry.

  • Jewced

    Article failed to mention the start time of this event. I’m trying to decide if this will prompt me to leave early or stay late.

    • Shevaun Bryan

      I apologize for that — wheels roll at 5:30, but all riders had to be registered ahead of time to receive insurance coverage and security clearance.

  • ariel

    How about people use common sense and not ride their bikes in the road? It’s dangerous for a vehicle to have to go around someone who can only go 15 mph, especially when you have to get on the wrong side of the road to get around them. before we know it they’re going to allow them on the interstate. Seriously, have these people never heard of bike trails or do they just like getting in everyone’s way?

  • ariel

    And I always thought any motorized or non motorized vehicle on the road had to have lights, blinkers. What I can’t wrap my mind around is why people would want to ride their bikes in the road anyway even if we’re allowed to, its stupid. Drivers in this area are horrible for the most part don’t get me wrong but we don’t need bikes to make it that much worse. And they’re the ones taking the risk so I have no sympathy for most of them when they get hit by a car. They shouldn’t have been there, how about going to one of the 20 bike trails our tax dollars paid for.

    • Cheeto

      Here is some reading material I strongly suggest you read. http://www.dmv.org/al-alabama/driver-handbook.php
      Cyclists who don’t use hand signals and run stop signs are a danger, yes, but they’re not the 3000lb gorilla in the room KILLING PEOPLE.
      And some people ride bikes to commute to work–it’s great exercise, green, and economical in these hard times (until you get hit by a cager). Until every cyclist commuter has a “bike trail” to get to work, we have to share the road with you ***. Like it or not, we’re stuck with YOU, not the other way around.

  • Carl

    Just this morning, I was in my car at a red light and a bicyclist went by on my right and never even slowed down. He ran the red light. It is wonderful to claim that bicycles have a “right” to be on the road “just like cars”. However, they should obey ALL of the laws. Not just those that are convenient. Many times I have seen them come between lanes of cars or pass cars that are waiting at an intersection. I think that it is very irresponsible to claim that this is a right and we must all “share the road” when in fact it is promoting dangerous behavior. Not only is the bicyclist putting their own life in danger (which is their “right”), but they are risking my life. Even if I was not hurt in an accident, it would ruin my life forever, just because they have a “right” to be on the road. A road that was designed for 3000 pounds of four-wheel steel, not an unprotected bicycle.

    • Cheeto

      Just yesterday, I watched a car pass 3 cars in a turn lane, speed (of course), then crash into a cyclist who wasn’t impeding traffic. I feel that people operating motor vehicles should obey ALL laws, not just the ones that are convenient so they stop killing and injuring people. While you’re at it, could you guys stop killing motorcyclists, too? You cagers are a menace to society.

  • Kyle

    As a tax payer, owner of a car and someone who enjoys cycling, I hate to hear all the responses to this article already posted. I also shake my head at those bicyclists who ride their bikes at the most inopportune time or fail to adhere to all the rules of the road. But I also know that 99% of bicyclists are out there for enjoyment, exercise or both and that most feel bad about inconveniencing the cars behind them. Most bikers get up early or go out later to limit our interactions with cars and most of the time choose the least congested roads. Please be aware, 5 minutes is not worth someones life.

  • Nuclear Mike

    The Laws of Physics always prevail as the bicyclist will always lose when a collision with an SUV happens, whether or not neither party has the right of way. We watched a “decked out” professional appearing bicyclist run thru every traffic stop sign & red-light the other night without any lights on the bicycle…

    • Paul Robichaux

      We do! My family has 3 cars, all of which are tagged and taxed. In places like Huntsville, you will find very few people who use bikes exclusively– it’s really hard to live here without access to a car.

  • Neal Haralson

    Country Boy you are correct that there are cyclists who should be arrested, but you have to admit that there are A LOT of drivers who should be arrested as well!!! And jack, bicyclists do pay taxes as well.

  • TWhalen

    I think this was a good story but not all drivers can be grouped with “bad” drivers. Just as not all cyclists can be grouped with “good” cyclists. I see cyclists everyday in Madison that don’t have on helmets, that run red lights, that go between cars to get ahead of cars at intersections. There are rules to the road and whether we like it or not we ALL must live by them cyclists, bikers, automobiles, walkers and runners alike!

  • Pete

    Going down Church Street (pretty narrow roads near the hospital) during rush lunch hour…. a cyclist very slowly traveling down the middle of the road, when there was a SIDEWALK less than a foot away. People were braking and having to turn around her to avoid an accident. There was NO excuse for that, she should have been on the sidewalk!!!! I know it it legal, but that does not make it SAFE! Sh

  • Billy

    More radical bicyclist. So Pierson admits it…..from the artical; … said Pierson. “We are not just cyclists that slow you down on your way to work….” That freely admits they fully intend to be impeding traffic, being a safety hazzard, and otherwise using our public roads because they simply are radicals who must have a cause at any cost. For these radical bicyclist the cost is human life.

    BTW…the law also reads the bicyclist must stay as far right as practical.

    And another BTW….yes, I ride a few times a month. I use the purposely built bicycle paths and greenways and my 25 mph neighborhood. To use Rideout, Whitesburg, Baily Cove, or other like roads and highways is simply to push the radical bicyclist cause.

    You cannot drive the instates below 40 mph because it’s simply dangerous. Bicyclist shoulf be held to 25 mph roads.

    • Neal Haralson

      Wow Billy – way to take a small snippet of a comment and twist it to suit your agenda. I will do the same to you – you clearly state “you cannot drive the instates belwo 40 mph because it’s simply dangerous”. I have routinely driven all of the roads listed (I am not familiar with an “instate” road and see drivers going less than 40. By your own statement, nobody – auto, bike, pedestrian, etc., should be allowed on these roads. You said it, not I – see how ignorant that sounds? Take a minute and think.

      • Billy

        Neal….funny…..I would suggest that you understand that I meant “Interstate”. But the error is all my fault; I failed to perform a final proof read. I’ll do better from now on.

        My point stands. You can’t drive below 40 mph on an interstate, because it’s simply too dangerous. Such logic should be applied to bicycles. I would suggest they not be used on any road with a speed limit higher than 25 mph.

        I would also suggest certain hours of the week day be limited; rush hours for example.

        At least I’m offering some sort of sollution.

  • TonyHill100

    I don’t normally comment on stories, but I must comment on this one. I live just off Bankhead at the foot of Monte Sano. Bankhead must be cyclist heaven for the number that take the challenge of that mountain road everyday. I am not a cyclist, nor would I ever go up that road on a bike. I would not trust the motorists or the fact that there is no shoulder to the road to bail out. I get frustrated just like everyone else when I get behind a bike, but I also know I could have taken a different route to my home. I do wish the city could put in some bike lanes in key places around town. In the end, we all need to know and observe the rules of the road. Yesterday I witnessed a cyclist that ran a stop sign, but I also saw a car pass a cyclist in going around a curve in a no passing area. Each could have created terrible accidents.

  • Jessica

    Oh if only we had the money to build BIKE PATHS!!!! Where I’m from, they are EVERYWHERE, thus eliminating bikes on the roadways. You can literally ride your bike as long and as far as your hearts content. That’s the one thing I miss more than anything else. There are no safe places to ride bikes with children here. Maybe little 6 mile paths that go in circles, but those get boring real quick.

  • James Dean

    If you want to take a chance with you’re life go for it. The ladies that were hit on RAS a month or so ago made a very stupid decision to ride where they did. 30,000 people going through that gate and you are riding a bike. Talk like ya’ll have it all figured out but 9 out of 10 times it was stupid ideas like the one above. Their are minimum speeds on roads. I see bikes all the time holding up traffic and instead of letting people go by they are jerks. Yesterday it was super foggy what do I run up on while I was doing 30mph? Yep, 3 bikes in the fog….smooth move. Take your bikes to the park/trails!

  • Phil Harrell

    What if bicyclist had to register their bikes, get license plates and had to take a test? Then take all the fees and taxes and make a bike lane. Bikes don’t need to be registered on roads that are 25mph or below.

    • Billy

      THANK YOU…!!!!! I have to register my car and place a tag on it: bicyclist have no such identification. An auto brreaking the law can have it’s tag number taken. See a bicyclist breaking the law and you have no such identification to report to the police.

      Bicyclist should be free of registration if using the greenways or other bike trails. But, bikes should be required to pay taxes, display an identifying tag, have a tail light, brake lights, head lights, review mirrors and other safety assests.

      • Billy

        That is…Bikes using the roads should be taxed, display a tag, etc…..

        I have to watch it or Neal (spelling police) will get me.

  • Rob

    Some of you see my point. I failed to mention that I too am a cyclist, motorcyclist, and driver of four wheeled vehicles. I would love to ride my bicycle to work each day. But I quickly learned that riding a bicycle on county roads with no shoulder and a speed limit of 45 mph (with most vehicles running at least 60 mph) is very nerve racking and outright dangerous. I donated my bicycle to a children’s organization.
    I can’t even walk down the side of the roads near my home without having a speeding vehicle race by not moving over or slowing down at all.
    Maybe if we put as much effort into getting bike paths and shoulders on the roads that need them, as we do trying to force people to put the phones away, and slow down, we would solve the problem.
    BTW I too would like to see tags on bicycles that are on the streets & roads. Designated bike paths, or trails tags aren’t needed, but if you are riding on the same streets as vehicles, obey the same rules as vehicles, and pay the same fees as vehicles.

  • Billy

    Just some news that should get people thinking about restricting bicycles on our roads: from the NYPoat

    ….Cyclist peddling a $4,000 racing bike at high speed through Central Park slammed into a suburban mom in town shopping for her daughter’s birthday present — leaving the woman brain dead, sources said…..“He was riding in the car lane and yelling: ‘Get out of the way! Get out of the way!’ ” …..“admits to being in the wrong lane,”

    ….Irving Schachter was struck in the park on Aug. 3 and died two days later at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

    ….Last month, a 75-year-old Brooklyn Technical HS physics teacher was killed in Central Park when a cyclist trying to avoid a pedicab slammed into him.

    ….“These guys think that they have entitlement and they don’t ride in the bike lanes,” one source said.

    It would be helpful if news sources start reporting both sides of the story.

  • James Reynolds

    To the commenter doubting it happened because there wasn’t an article about it: you can rest assured that the Tuesday September 16, 2014 collision caused by a needlessly reckless driver did happen. I can 100% guarantee it did. The commenter who said they were a witness is 100% correct.

    Let’s stop ignoring the modern Moloch of the motor vehicle. 98% of most motorists are safe drivers who understand their privileges (sometimes mistaken for rights) and responsibilities. It’s the 2% of motor vehicle drivers that everyone should actively be trying to re-educate and discipline
    (and get off of the road) until they learn how to handle their anger, fear and impatience issues somewhere else besides dangerous motorized machinery. They effect everyone, not just bicyclists. Respect isn’t a hard thing to learn. We should all have it for each other.

    Lots of myth busting from

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