Keeping it Green: Bike safety on Greenway still a big concern
by Cameron Fisher Cleveland/Bradley Greenway Board
Sep 22, 2013 | 622 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Etiquette, rules, safety and common courtesy on the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway have been addressed a few times over the years in this column, but a recent rash of reported incidents prompts me to once again talk about the relationship between pedestrian and bike on our community’s Greenway.

My time to run is in the mornings between 5:30 and 6:30. This time is not when the Greenway is most populated; however, I see a fair amount of people and bike traffic. Most of the bikers are courteous and careful, but I have also encountered those who whiz by at high speeds with no warning. This practice is an eventual accident waiting to happen.

The other day I received a call from a mother who reported to me that her daughter was in from out of town and went for a run. She encountered a mother with a stroller and two dogs taking up the entire Greenway. As the daughter moved off the Greenway onto the grass, she was struck from behind by a bike rider making the same move. The result was a dislocated shoulder for the daughter.

If the incident was reported to me accurately, the mother with more than she could handle on the Greenway was at fault in this instance. However, the biker, although he was helpful in assisting the injured, was also at fault for not signaling that he was approaching either party. Unfortunately, this will not be the last time an injury will happen, but there can be some additional steps that will hopefully minimize them in the future.

Rules and etiquette signs are posted along several entrances of the Greenway. More are needed and will be added. Two of the most important are 1) pedestrians have the right of way, and 2) bikers must signal that they are approaching from behind.

Recently when I was in Australia, I ran a Greenway in a city called Dubbo. They had painted their etiquette directly on the surface of the Greenway with stylish icons and wording. Every mile or so I was reminded that, “Dogs Must Be On Leashes” and “Pick Up After Pets.” In light of the increasing amount of bikers and clashes, the Greenway board at their September meeting voted to employ a second method of reminding users of the Greenway of the proper biker/pedestrian relationship. Very soon surface signage will appear in strategic locations on our Greenway.

While this will not alleviate future close encounters or crashes, it will help in keeping these rules in the forefront of people’s thinking.

We cannot ban bikes from the Greenway nor can we require (or enforce) the installation of bells on all bikes. We can, however, ask that everyone who uses the Greenway be vigilant in making it a safer place.

Bikers, slow down and make some kind of verbal or non-verbal warning as you approach from behind. This should be done no less than five or 10 yards away, allowing the pedestrian to react. Pedestrians, politely remind those who pass by without warning. Everyone should observe “street etiquette,” meaning keep to the right and only venture to the left when passing — with warning. Bikers, if someone is on the left and you are approaching, never assume they will detect you are behind them; always offer a friendly warning.

As the Greenway continues to grow in popularity, it is going to take everyone working together to make it a safe and enjoyable venue.

Thanks to all who take Greenway etiquette and rules seriously.

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