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Monday, May 17, 2010

Making Tennessee Safe for Bicyclists

On May 13'th Scott Stevens wrote to TDOT asking what he could do to make the roads in Lincoln County safer for bicycle use after the death of Sharon Bayler. Here is the response.

Mr. Stevens:

First, please accept my condolences for the loss of your friend.

We were made aware of this tragic incident through members of our statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, Bike Walk Tennessee. This group has been actively working with the Department on ways to make Tennessee a safer place to cycle. I would like to share with you several initiatives that we have developed during the past year to make this goal a reality.

In September of 2009, our agency signed a revision of the State Strategic Highway Safety Plan that, for the first time, includes measures to reduce bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities. As a result, TDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian staff now attend road safety audit reviews where we make recommendations for bicycle and pedestrian safety measures at high crash locations identified through data collected by our Project Planning office. In addition, we worked with the Tennessee Department of Safety to geo-code bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities so that we can better identify these locations. We also worked with the Department of Safety to include a section on ‘Sharing the Road with Bicycles and Pedestrians’, as well as corresponding test questions, for an upcoming revision to the Tennessee Driver’s License study guide and exam.

You mentioned in your letter that you would like to work with TDOT to identify routes that cyclists from Alabama frequent most often, so that they can be better defined as bicycle routes. Bike Walk Tennessee is currently collecting this information for our office as part of an update to our Long Range Plan, and I feel certain that they would welcome your involvement. I am copying the Chair, Pat Clements, to make him aware of your interest. You may also reach him by e-mail at BikeWalkTN@gmail.com.

Again, I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Thank you for reaching out during this time of sorrow to help make Tennessee roadways safer for all users.

Please feel free to contact me or the Department’s bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, Jessica Wilson, at 615-741-5025 or Jessica.L.Wilson@tn.gov if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Stevens, AICP, Director, Long Range Planning Division

Tennessee Dept. of Transportation

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