Bicycling magazine has listed Memphis as one of the three worst cities in the country for bicycling. The other two are Miami and Dallas. According to a piece in the Commercial Appeal, Memphis has no bike lanes because the city has antiquated storm grates that can catch a bike wheel and cause the rider to wreck.
This is too bad. Memphis is the flattest of Tennessee’s major cities, and should offer locals as well as visitors opportunities to stay fit, save gas, reduce pollution, and see a great city at a sedate pace. Once you get the dangerous grates out of the way, bike lanes are relatively inexpensive to create–just a matter of painting the lines on the street.
Safe bicycling options can also attract biking tourists. Middle Tennessee, especially south of Nashville, has the Natchez Trace Parkway, which attracts thousands of bicyclists, but other routes pull in visitors as well. These tend to be upscale folk who are happy to spend dollars at bed & breakfasts and restaurants.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation encourages bicycling. It would be good to see Memphis saddle up and get with the program.
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