Riverside railroad tracks wreak havoc on cyclists


    A stretch of road where railroad tracks cross over Riverside Drive is a danger to cyclists and needs to be fixed, according to a local nonprofit. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

    A stretch of road where railroad tracks cross Riverside Drive is a danger to cyclists and needs to be fixed, according to a local nonprofit.

    Mike Sule, executive director of Asheville on Bikes, said his organization is collecting damage and crash information for the city through an online report.

    Sule hopes cyclists and drivers will fill out the report.

    "It's unsafe," Sule said. "The safest way to cross railroad tracks is 90 degrees."

    The tracks cross the street at a severely obtuse angle when riding on the right side of the road with traffic, as a cyclist would.

    "A cyclist crossing at an unsafe angle, the tire can go like this [caught in the track groove] and flip the cyclist off," Sule said.

    "You really only have two choices: A cyclist can take his or her chances going directly across the tracks, or they can attempt to get the attention of the traffic behind and in front of them and make a swerving maneuver. Neither of those situations is ideal -- for the cyclist or the motorist."

    Asheville Police only keep statistics on accidents involving vehicles and bicycles, so there isn't much city data on the crashes caused by the tracks.

    That's one reason Sule created the report. The tracks were supposed to be re-routed as part of the RAD TIP Redevelopment Project, but that improvement was tabled as part of the project's scale back.

    Sule wants to collect data so he can come up with another solution.

    "Hopefully, the city and Norfolk Southern can then work together to fix it."

    Greg Garrison owns The Hop Ice Cream Shop and just recently got a new bike, putting him back on two wheels after a long riding hiatus.

    But he said he's seen several cyclists crash on those tracks while he was driving behind them.

    “It’s usually when it’s wet or rainy," Garrison said. "The metal of the tracks is slicker, it seems to happen more often. People, their tires get stuck in the train track and they flip over the top. I’ve seen it happen several times.”

    Click this link to fill out the report if you've been in or seen any crashes on that stretch of Riverside Drive.





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