Letters to the Club
Hi Mr. Jones,
I wrote to you once before. I regularly walk in Cherokee Park. My previous reason for writing to you had to do with the fact that I came within an inch of my life of being run down in the recreational lane by a bike. Like yourself and your fellow club members, I see the importance of staying active and love being out of doors. I don’t blame any one for getting out as much as possible.
I have continued to walk in the park, but the problem persists. Tonight around 6:30 p.m., I was walking within 2 feet from the edge of the road, in the recreational lane, well away from the yellow line. I was going down the hill after passing Hogan’s Fountain and had already been through the tight curves and into the straight down hill, right before the intersection. A biker passed me, probably at 35-40 miles an hour. He was in the middle of the recreational lane, not a foot from me. I did not hear him coming and he did not give a warning. There were no cars in the automobile lane. I was so taken aback by how close he had come that some walkers coming the other direction acknowledged the near miss. Am I right to assume that someone going that fast (he was going well beyond the speed that the cars were going on this road) should be in the auto lane when there are no cars present?
I realize that you are not responsible for what fellow club members do and most seem to stay well away from walkers. (Actually, I don’t know if it was your club, but maybe you know which one it was and could advise me ... he wore bright green with a fleur-de-lis in yellow on the back of his shirt.) I would just like to know that the members are regularly updated on safe biking. As a matter of fact, do you have anything that is published and distributed to members about bike safety, particularly in Cherokee Park?
Let me know and I will give you an address to send it to. My next option is to talk to the police that patrol in this area. I hope that you understand that my e-mail comes to you in a spirit of cooperation. I want the park to be safe for all of us. But the third strike for me will probably find me flat on the pavement with a tire track down my back. Any suggestions?
The uniform that you say was worn is worn the cyclist is the one issued to members of our racing team. I’d like to apologize for the cyclist’s conduct. I’d like to think he was simply unmindful of, not indifferent to, the fear his riding so close might cause. Nonetheless it was unexcusable.
The LBC devotes a lot of time promoting bicycle safety education. We conduct on-bike classes every Monday night during the summer. One of the rules we emphasize is the importance of warning pedestrians and other cyclists of your approach by calling out “On your left” as you pass. Not only should this cyclist have warned you of his approach, he should not even have been in the recreational lane, which is appropriate only for novice or slow-speed riders.
Let’s hope that by getting the word out cyclists will be more mindful that they have responsibilities in sharing the road, too.
Recently on a nice quite ride in Cherokee Park, with my girl friend, we were run over by members of your club. I was once a member and this is why I’m no longer a member. Because of the reputation of arrogance that follows your club in the biking community. My girlfriend suffered cuts, bruises on her knee, thighs, hands and a huge one on her hip.
The scenario set itself up this way: We were at the cross street of Barney in the park, traveling up the hill in the pedestrian/bike lane. I was up the hill first and as I came out of the bend I saw in the traffic lane at least 20 riders headed at me. What they were doing was traveling down the hill from the outside lane and starting to move into the curve; in other words, a racing move and traveling at racing speeds. I made a hard left onto Barney to avoid impact, but my girlfriend was not so fortunate. At least two guys on the ride stopped to apologize and see how she was. The ride captain did not stop.
The other concern I have is the pedestrians that were just 50 yards behind us. Had they been in our position they would not have had a chance. Folks, this is a PARK not a race course.
So, when the club is protesting rights for riders, bike paths, more respect, after all that I have witnessed, try cleaning up your own house first.
I intend to pass this along to the Mayor, Safety director and Parks administration of Louisville.
Thanks for taking the time to send your message. Let me first apologize for the LBC members and riders who were involved in the July 16 incident. There is no excuse for their conduct. I also want to update you on the actions we’ve taken so far to address the problem.
Last night I read your letter to the assembled riders before we departed Cherokee Park. That led to a discussion of proper ride conduct and universal acknowledgment of the fact that experienced riders must do everything possible to avoid close calls with slower riders and pedestrians.
As a result the club has asked experienced riders not to use the recreation lane on the Scenic Loop. We have also stated our position that we do not tolerate racing on the Scenic Loop. Unfortunately, not every Louisville-area cyclist is a member of our club, but I feel certain that discussing this matter at our most popular Tuesday night ride series was the most effective way to get these messages out to our members. I will follow up by reprinting your letter and my response in our newsletter.
While it has been a focus for the club for some time now — we have a very active advocacy program — recent events, including increasing confrontations with motorists, have made the LBC even more mindful of the need to respect the rights of other road and facilities users as we fight to preserve our own rights to the road. We will reinforce this message at every opportunity. I hope that you will rejoin the club because having more concerned voices like yours among the membership helps reinforce the message we’re trying to spread. In any event, please keep in touch.
I’m sending a copy of this exchange to Brigid Sullivan, Director, Metro Parks, so that she also understands LBC’s commitment to shared use and our efforts to address safety issues.
Earl Jones, President
P.S. One final word about the ride captain for last Tuesday’s ride: Our policy requires ride captains to bring up the rear on all rides. Given the speed of the group involved, he would have been at least a half-hour back, nowhere near this incident. You were long gone by the time he entered the park, which he confirmed last night. I’m glad that at least some riders stopped to offer assistance. I suspect the reason the others did not is because they were too embarrassed.
Thanks for the timely response and quick reaction to make members aware of the problem. Hopefully our next encounter will be a positive one. I would like to point out that one of the riders that stopped was not a member. This fellow had been invited by a friend, who is a member. I also realize that not every rider is an LBC member.
If you’d like to correspond with the club or any of the officers of the club, you can do so in this forum or via e-mail. Offices' e-mail addresses are posted on the Contacts page on this web site. We look forward to hearing from you!
Copyright ©2002 Louisville Wheelmen. All rights reserved.
contact the webmaster for question and/or comment about this page.
web posted: 9 September 2002
last updated: 9 September 2002