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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cyclists should think of safety and of others when riding on Memphis area trails

Cyclists should think of safety and of others when riding on Memphis area trails
By:  Michael Lander

Cyclists should always be cognizant and considerate to others sharing
the same area bike and pedestrian trails with them in Memphis and
the surrounding communities.

If you are a cyclist and you are ever out enjoying any of the trails in and around the City of Memphis, you will often find that you are not alone.  From people of all ages taking a walk, some with their four-legged friends, others pushing strollers, some running, and some even out roller skating, the trails can be filled with plenty of life and the sounds of voices, laughter and the wondrous chorus of birds.

As these trails become even more popular and a gathering place for people from different communities and neighborhoods and visitors from out-of-town, there also comes an ever-increasing need on the part of the cyclists to become a little more vigilant and conscientious of those whom they share the trails with.

For many cyclists, trails like the Shelby Farms Greenline and the Wolf River Greenway provide a great alternative for riding that is safe and free of most of the dangers that they might otherwise experience on the roadways. As appealing as this might be for some, though, cyclists need to always be aware and considerate of those whom they share the trails with and the risks and dangers that they might present to others. 

Because there are so many cyclists that are on the trails these days, and because they travel a lot faster than anyone else who is ever on them, cyclists need to be extremely cautious and careful around others.  Cyclists should always yield to those who are walking or running and they should always let people know when they are about to pass them. 

Shelby Farms Greenline is one of many bike and pedestrian trails in
the Memphis area.

Excessive speed is probably the biggest threat and danger that could contribute to a collision.  Cyclists should do their best to slow down as they come up on anyone else.  The speed limit on the trails is 10 mph and cyclists should not ever travel at a speed in which they might possibly endanger others.  The trails are not race tracks and if cyclists want to go fast, they should think about riding on the roads instead.

When on the trails, cyclists should always be alert when they are coming up to a turn in which they have an unobstructed view of what might be coming the other way. 

It is always best for cyclists to ride in a single file, but if they are riding side-by-side, they should always move over for anyone coming in the other direction or for anyone who may be trying to pass them.  Cyclists should try to stay to the right except for when they are passing on the left and it is never a good idea to wear earbuds or in-ear headphones since it will not allow you then to hear what is going on around them.

Cyclists can also minimize any risks for accidents and collisions by trying not to ride during inclement weather conditions, if they can avoid it, because of a diminished ability to brake.  They should, likewise, try to ride when there is adequate sunlight as well so that they can see what is around them.  All trails are closed at night so you should try to begin and finish up a ride after sunrise and before sunset.

Visitors will find several signs that show what is and isn't allowed on the Wolf
River Grrenway and what the speed limit is for cyclists.  The Wolf River connects
to Shelby Farms Park and extends to Germantown along Humphreys Blvd.

 For additional safety tips for cyclists, visit http://memphiscyclist.com/html/safetytips.html.

Whether riding on the trails or on the road, cyclists should also be willing to offer assistance to fellow cyclists and any others that they see who might need help.  We all would be better off if we look out for each other and help with changing a flat tire or with some minor mechanical problem.  It will not only be appreciated, but it might inspire others to pay it forward and maybe even return the favor for you one day.

Even though the trails are slightly different from one another, and offer a wide array of scenery, for the most part they are relatively flat and straight and they will leave you with a sense of being in an oasis surrounded by urban and suburban development.  Many current and future trails have various access points with some that intersect or go under busy streets.  The long-term plans call for connecting existing trails to outlying communities and to downtown Memphis. 

To read more about these trails and plans for future expansions, you can visit the
Shelby Farms Greenline website, (their facebook page), Shelby Farms Park website, (their facebook page), the Greater Memphis Greenline website, (their facebook page), the Wolf River Greenway and the V&E Greenline websites.

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