published Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Banning bikes?

by Jessie Gable


What do you think about closing off a portion of the Riverwalk trail to bikers? Let us know at

Pending the results of a informal survey by park rangers, a one-mile stretch of the Riverwalk soon may exclude bikers.

Suggestions from pedestrians prompted officials to survey park visitors for information that could be used in a decision to make the trail along the Tennessee River pedestrian-only from the Chickamauga Dam to the park maintenance buildings.

That part of the trail is eight feet wide rather than 10 feet wide, said Scott Schoolfield, administrator for the Hamilton County Human Services Department.

“It is almost an impossible thing to resolve to everyone’s satisfaction, but we have to keep trying,” he said. “We can’t just quit.”

Ron Priddy, director of parks for Hamilton County, said park rangers stopped cyclists last weekend to ask them about the potential change.

“There was no organized method to it,” Priddy said. “It was just as they came upon someone they could talk to without interfering too much.”

Possible changes would include posting signs to designate the trail as pedestrian-only and taking down the speed limit signs that were previously posted for cyclists, Priddy said.

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Tony Bennett, right, and Andrew Dingman ride along the Riverwalk near the Chickamauga Dam Wednesday afternoon.

After the results are analyzed, park officials will decide if there is enough data to prompt any action. However, there is no set date when — if ever — that will come, Schoolfield said.

Park visitors on both sides of the issue said they could understand the measure.

Scott Lillard, 50, bikes at Riverwalk and said he understood why the county would be looking at taking such a measure after seeing other cyclists riding fast.

“As a biker, I would hate to lose part of the trail,” Lillard said. “But as the father of four boys, I can empathize with those who have small children.”

Tony Bennett, 52, describes his rides through Riverwalk as “mentally stimulating,” and said autumn on the trail “looks like something out of a storybook.”

“I think the first thing they should do is put speed bumps through the heavily congested areas of the trail,” Bennett said.

While the suggestions stemmed from pedestrians, some walkers like Robert Gunther, 59, and his son, Caleb, 7, said they occasionally come to fish at the trail and never had a problem with cyclists.

Click here to vote in our daily poll: Should a one-mile section of the Riverpark trail be pedestrian-only?

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gtcon said...

I'm happy to see the parks department being proactive about this situation. Common courtesy on the trails should be a matter of common sense, but unfortunately there are far too many cyclists who don't seem to know the simple rules of the road and rather act as though walkers are in their way. A simple warning would probably suffice so this process of educating everyone is very useful.

My suggestion, however, would be to make the Walnut Street bridge for walkers only. Bicyclists could walk that distance until they reach a trail without so many children present. This area is clearly an accident waiting to happen.

July 29, 2010 at 8 a.m.
gswebb1995 said...

I agree that at least some portion of the Riverpark should be for pedestrians only. My husband and I have stopped walking at the Riverpark due to the dangers presented by bicyclists who whizz by without even letting anyone know that they are there.

July 29, 2010 at 8:42 a.m.
pat262100 said...

I agree that one mile should be set aside for walkers and runners. This part of the RiverWalk is too narrow for bikes and pedestrians anyway. I ride and run on the RiverWalk 3-4 days a week and this would not bother me at all.

July 29, 2010 at 8:49 a.m.
Salsa said...

I think they need to ban walkers who think they own the walsk and proceed 3 and 4 abreast as if they were the only ones out there. Its useless to let them know you are there and trying to pass because they just ignore you and pretend they own it.

July 29, 2010 at 9:48 a.m.
jpo said...

You have got to be kidding me. No, we should not be fussing over this; people will work it out as they always have.

It looks to me like some people will get bent out of shape over next to nothing. The extra-wide pedestrians can scoot over and the bicyclists can slow down and go around. Don't worry; you'll both be able to keep moving in a moment.

The existing state laws about yielding right-of-way on roadways are already pretty clear, and should be used as our guideline for handling these situations.

We need bicyclists to use every bit of this area; just as we tend to drive and walk everywhere. We don't need to make another rule, or do anything new. We can handle this by proceeding with confidence.

July 29, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.
greenerob said...

Here is the solution to this STUPID issue.

Walkers can walk a minimum of 2 wide. Children must only walk on the outside of the trail. NEVER on the inside.

Move on to more important issues!!!

July 29, 2010 at 11:34 a.m.
bridget said...

I think it would be a good idea to keep a mile on the Riverwalk just for kids-this would keep them off the rest of the 10 miles which could be just for bikes and walkers who should walk no more than two abreast.

July 29, 2010 at 12:45 p.m.
g_sqd said...

Would it bother me close just that section of the park to bikes; not really. Thou whole subject could be avoided if people would just be courteous. Yes, some cyclist think they own the path as do some of the walkers. I ride, run and walk the River Park and I understand both sides of the argument. Bikers, announce your passing and watch you speed. Walkers turn down your Ipod so you can hear those approaching and don't walk more than two abreast.

July 29, 2010 at 12:47 p.m.
quietreader said...

How about trying walk days and ride days. Some national parks do this for bikers and horse back riders. A schedule could be posted on line and at various points along the trail.

July 29, 2010 at 12:55 p.m.
greenerob said...


You are spot on.

Even days walkers/runners.
Odd days cyclists.

Parks and Rec should take the wonderful advice and move to something important.

July 29, 2010 at 2:28 p.m.
vegandawg said...

You "walkers" need to learn some basic spatial awareness. See bikes are gonna pass you on the left just like when driving a car. So you need to be aware of when a bike is passing you not to move left. Also take out the earphones and turn off the ipod when walking. This isn't a disco. You need to be aware of other cyclists and other walkers. And the dogs and stuff need to stay home. If another dog acts like it's going to attack me I'm going to kick it in the head. Bikes belong on the greenway.

July 29, 2010 at 2:43 p.m.
stew41 said...

Please do not ban bikes on this treasure we have as the answer is to have each person, e.g. walker, runner, cyclist, reach-out with the proper courtesy when necessary. I ride multiple times, each week, very early in the A.M. and have little and, or no problem with other people using the river walk. In fact, many of the "regulars" at this time of day have learned to expect each other and acknowledge each with a friendly, "watch out behind you", "have a good week-end" "can some of this heat, or cold", etc. Bike speed should not be an issue if managed properly. Moreover, proper manners re walker and runners, i.e. not wearing head phones / I Pods, as well as acknowledging cyclists after being alerted of "watch out behind you" should be standard.

July 29, 2010 at 3:38 p.m.
stew41 said...

Please do not ban bikes on this treasure we have as the answer is to have each person, e.g. walker, runner, cyclist, reach-out with the proper courtesy when necessary. I ride multiple times, each week, very early in the A.M. and have little and, or no problem with other people using the river walk. In fact, many of the "regulars" at this time of day have learned to expect each other and acknowledge each with a friendly, "watch out behind you", "have a good week-end" "can some of this heat, or cold", etc. Bike speed should not be an issue if managed properly. Moreover, proper manners re walker and runners, i.e. not wearing head phones / I Pods, as well as acknowledging cyclists after being alerted of "watch out behind you" should be standard.

July 29, 2010 at 3:39 p.m.
FM_33 said...

The whole internet system here in the United States is run from a CIA office in Signal Mountain TN.

They also contract with the US Military the basic 250.000 MHRZ wave freqency that they run it on is very powerful. Also a short wave * Alpha Ditrot Radio * does the rest as a filter and acts as a firewall to stop an incoming scamp virus that might infect the main fame.

If you don't believe this check this file at the library of congress in Washington DC and the file is under the sub text ( Alpha Internet Computer System ) or AICS and the file number is.

Class C File Unclassified Route File # 25452-14547-03 Pages: 520 Index: 43 By: United States Army Intelligence Washington DC Dept: Computer internet division Intro By: Gen. Colin Powell Year: 1984

If you do get a chance to read it you will never allow a computer voting system like DIEBOT to take over the old fashion way of doing it by paper ballot.

  • Vote Paper Ballot Only IN Each And Every Election *
July 29, 2010 at 4:50 p.m.
Salsa said...

Please ban FM_33 for spamming instead of banning bikes!

July 29, 2010 at 5:27 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

The city should widen the path, paint a stripe down the middle, and have a lane for bikes and a lane for walkers. That's what many other cities do. A complete ban on bikes is not the answer. It comes down to mutual respect and intelligence.

July 29, 2010 at 5:36 p.m.
FM_33 said...

No spamming Salsa just sharing some Chattanooga history that you may not have known about.

But you're more then welcome to check this and take some time out to read it for your self.

July 29, 2010 at 5:41 p.m.
FM_33 said...

The city should have a bike route in the parks and all of the outlining areas of Chattanooga like they have in major city's such as New York / San Francisco / Chicago.

July 29, 2010 at 5:44 p.m.
Eric said...

I run on the Riverwalk regularly and have never had a problem with bikes. I simply run on the right side of the trail and let the bikes pass on the left. And yes, I do run with an iPod. Running and music go naturally together, especially when running solo. I suspect anyone who says we shouldn't have earphones while running doesn't run much.

July 29, 2010 at 5:44 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Please ban FM_33 for spamming instead of banning bikes! Username: Salsa | On: July 29, 2010 at 5:27 p.m.

Please read my last to comments and that should answer your question.

  • Good Day *
July 29, 2010 at 5:48 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Some of the park rangers are real dicks and they should not be so hard on the people who would like to have a nice day out there with the family.

If it gets any more weird it will be very much like what they do in Denver CO.

In Denver they have a * Park Police Officer * with a radar gun and if he catches you speeding by any faster then 15mph you will be stop by him and you will get a $55.00 ticket for speeding and have to appear in court.

No kidding and if you wont to check this out it's was in the Denver newspapers back in 2006 and i seen it for my self when i was there that year.

July 29, 2010 at 5:59 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Hey folks would you all love to see that Chattanooga * Park Police Officer * doing the same thing here just to make a fast buck for the county.

Lets face it folks the county is broke and they are coming up with a lot of backdoors ways to make some cash so that they can make the dash back to there estates / condo's / or what ever they trying to sport.

Some time people we need to start counting our blessings and stop complaining so damn much.

Because it could get worst with America having a economy in a recession and the war over seas that looks like it will never end.

July 29, 2010 at 6:07 p.m.
HiDef said...

vegandawg, seriously, walkers and runners shouldn't have earphones or ipods??? Don't run by yourself much, huh? Your point about walkers and runners being aware of bikes passing is very true however, in my experience roughly 10% of the cyclists that pass me ring a bell or announce their position. Sorry, but even without headphones sometimes I don't know a bike is passing me until they're within five feet of me because they're moving so quickly. The main point is that everyone should be courteous and learn to share the path.

July 29, 2010 at 7:31 p.m.
FM_33 said...

You tell the truth on this site and the haters always do there dirty work. My yesterdays post about Denver where all true and anybody here can check the data.

Some of the liberals on the site have not lived or grew up in a major LIB city like me and i can tell how they get mad when you tell the straight up truth on a subject.

Oh well you will grow up someday and get over it !

July 30, 2010 at 1 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Chattanooga has been a moderate liberal city for years and it is nothing like living in the bay area where the real "New Left" dwells.

They push there agenda no matter if they have money or not and they protest like hell to. The madness of those days are behind me because i know how it is when you live in a major liberal city in a big state.

  1. High Ass Taxes

  2. High Cost of Living

  3. High Ass Crime

  4. Cramped living spaces

  5. Slumlords

  6. Political Corruption Running Rampant

  7. Under Funded Police Department

  8. To Many Drugs

  9. Plenty Of Weapons (Guns,Knifes,Bats,Poisons,Bombs,Aids )

  10. Public Transit That Is Too High

July 30, 2010 at 1:12 p.m.
HiDef said...

FM_33, how did we go from banning bikes at the river park to pissed off liberals? I'm lost.

July 30, 2010 at 4:41 p.m.
Ailsa said...

I walk the portion of the Riverpark starting from the Chickamauga dam up to the main entrance off of Amnicola every morning, all seven days. Each morning I see people of every age walking/jogging; young, middle, elderly, people pushing strollers. The majority of the people walking/jogging stay on the right side of the trail. When there are two walking together they do walk side by side but one will move over when they see someone coming toward them. I also see many cyclists. The majority of the cyclists, about 99% of them, never, NEVER give any warning that they are coming up behind you. The majority of the bikes, you cannot hear coming until they are on top of you and speeding beside you (no, most do not adhere to the 3 - 5 mile speed posted for cyclists). I do not walk with an ipod and my hearing is good. It is dangerous the way that they do speed by, someone is going to be hurt one day. If the park rangers are interviewing cyclists then they need to interview us walker/joggers also as not one of the rangers have stopped me to see if the cyclists are a problem. Thanks to those of you cyclists who do give warning with the ring of a bell or a polite 'passing on the left'. We walkers/joggers do appreciate the warnings and I always say a thank you to those who do let us know.

July 31, 2010 at 1:06 p.m.
persiflage592 said...

The Riverwalk is one of the jewels in the crown of a revitalized Chattanooga. We are all blessed to live in a city that has such a strong commitment to outdoor activities, and the improvement in quality of life that these activities bring to us all. I am on the Riverwalk on a daily basis, either biking, running, or walking. During the time I've spent enjoying the Riverwalk I've met some wonderful people, both on two feet and two wheels. I've seen acts of courtesy and kindness that restore my faith in the citizens of Chattattanooga, but I've also seen my fair share of rude folks out there.

After reading the artice and all the comments above, I have to agree that the "bad apples" aren't so much a function of the biking or running/walking culture, as they are a mirror of our society at large. In the world today we are faced with an increasing number of people who spend more time thinking about themselves, and what they want, than they do thinking about the needs of others. This is sad, and leads me to point out an issue that none of the respondants has mentioned yet.

In my travels on the Riverwalk I've come across a large number of tourists. Without exception the tourists I've talked with marvel at the beauty of our city and the wonderful job we've done improving it. These people are our guests, and they are kind enough to visit and spend their money here, which benefits us all. Native Chattanoogans need to remember that we are ambassadors for our city when we're out there enjoying the Riverwalk. If we want to see our city succeed and continue to improve, we have a responsibility to extend "southern hospitality" to everyone we meet, as one never knows who lives here and who's a visitor.

So next time you're enjoying the Riverwalk, please be kind to your neighbor. If you're walking or running, be aware and stay to the right. If you're on a bike, pass on the left, make other's aware of your presence in advance, and slow down when passing slower traffic. And everyone, for God's sake, be courteous and say "Hi" and "Thank you". All of us who share the Riverwalk are united by a common bond, which is the joy of being outdoors in a beautiful setting. While I think there is some benefit to a line on the path, as a gentle reminder of the rules, in the final analysis the solution to this problem lies within our personal actions. So make the Riverwalk a better place by being kind and considerate, enjoy your walk, run, or ride, and then take that attitude out into the world at large. Therein lies true progress.

August 7, 2010 at 6:35 a.m.

Too bad that government has to regulate yet another free public area because of a few bad apples. Rude people are taking over the world.

September 2, 2010 at 1:46 p.m.
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