Bike safety remains high Trace priority

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Officials on the Natchez Trace Parkway continue to focus on cyclist safety.
Superintendent Cam Sholly on Tuesday said the parkway is researching why the Mississippi portion of the Trace has more fatalities than Alabama and Tennessee.
“We’re working on total safety measures on the Trace, for motorists and cyclists,” Sholly told the board of the Natchez Trace Compact, the marketing association for the Trace, at its annual meeting Tuesday. “Every fatality is a tragedy.”
The parkway has had three biking fatalities in the past three years, he said. They were all in Mississippi, with two in Northeast Mississippi.
Dr. Gary Holdiness of Kosciusko was killed in May while riding his bike around Kosciusko. David Allison was killed in 2009 in Prentiss County. In April 2009, Esther Hagemen of the Netherlands was killed in Chickasaw County.
All three were hit by a vehicle.
Sholly said Mississippi has more miles of the Trace, but he noted that cyclists frequently ride around Nashville. However, the Nashville cyclists haven’t had any problems so far, he said.
The parkway has made a bike safety brochure that will be widely distributed.
Terry Wildy, the parkway’s chief of interpretation, said the brochure will be available soon at the visitors center. Plus, it will be distributed to cyclists groups and a PDF will be posted on the parkway’s website.
Among other things, the brochure reminds parkway users that bicycles are considered vehicles, and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.

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