Walk Bike Nashville: Deadly scooter wreck shows need for bike lanes

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Posted at 6:26 AM, Oct 05, 2021

A woman's deadly scooter crash is demonstrating the need for more bike lanes in downtown Nashville, according to people with Walk Bike Nashville.

The group's executive director, Nora Kern, has been trying to convince the city to create more bike lanes for years.

"There have been a lot more pedestrian fatal crashes and serious crashes," said Kern. "So, there's also a lot of people getting around on scooters and bikes that are more vulnerable."

Kern said the group is a big supporter of Vision Zero. It's an effort to create a safer environment for pedestrians in Nashville by upgrading the city's infrastructure. However, some believe the process has been far too slow.

"There's almost no bike lanes downtown, and we know a lot of people biking and riding scooters. So, we know that there's kind of an immediate issue that needs to be addressed," she said.

In downtown, there's still plenty of scooter traffic, despite efforts from the city to reel the companies in. There are still many people breaking the rules.

Metro Police know it can be a little chaotic.

"A lot of the problem is the way our city is set up and what people are coming here for," said Lt. Michael Gilliland, Traffic Section Commander for MNPD. "They're coming to have a good time, they're going downtown and to shows. They're not taking the time to read the instructions on the actual scooters themselves and the websites they've provided."

There have been two scooter deaths in downtown. The last one was back in Summer of 2019. A 26-year-old Nashville man died after getting hit a by a car while riding a scooter.

There have also been a couple of serious injuries. Lt. Gilliland believes there are a lot of minor injuries that go unreported.

He thinks there would be less if people would ride scooters correctly.

"Basically, the same rules that apply to automobiles," he said. "They're supposed to be operated in a bike lane or a lane of traffic, not on a sidewalk. You have to be 18 years or above. You have to have a valid drivers license to operate one. Red lights, stop signs, all of that applies to the scooters just like an automobile."

However, Kern thinks without proper bike lanes the issues will always exist.

"If I have to pick between annoying people on the sidewalk or riding next to a car that's going 30 mph then I think it's the rational choice. That's why we need to have another option for people rather than choosing to risk their life or being on a sidewalk," she said.