In partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Department of Safety, the Nashville Area MPO has worked on the following efforts to improve roadway safety for all users, especially vulnerable road users such as bicyclists and pedestrians.
Law Enforcement Training on Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws
Training Law Enforcement on Educating & Enforcing Safety for All Users
The Nashville Area MPO in conjunction with the Knoxville Transportation Planning Organization offers a one-hour refresher training to law enforcement officers on laws pertaining to pedestrians and bicyclists.
The training covers Tennessee state law and provides a review of rules of the road pertaining to walking and bicycling. The course covers the laws and their importance, as well as provides examples of enforcement and encouragement strategies. The session includes pedestrian rights at un-marked crosswalks, how bicyclists signal lane changes and turns, and where a bicyclist is legally allowed to ride on the roadway.
The training also covers tips for law enforcement officers when citing either vehicular motorists who violate the rights of pedestrians or bicyclists, or who cite pedestrians and bicyclists for failing to follow the laws and rules of the road for their particular mode of travel. The trainings, which started in 2009, have been offered to officers from across Tennessee at the Tennessee Lifesavers Conference, and through the Franklin Police Department Bicycle Police Training Academy, including Franklin Police, Rutherford County Sheriff's Department and Murfreesboro Police Department.
Strategic Highway Safety Plan - Bicycle and Pedestrian Component
Including Bicycle & Pedestrian Modes in Safety Plans
Nashville Area MPO staff helped to author the state's first non-motorized component of the Tennessee Strategic Highway Safety Plan. This section focuses on bicycle and pedestrian modes and measures for increasing safety. The Tennessee Strategic Highway Safety Plan guides spending priorities for infrastructure improvements in the state around roadway safety, including utilization of funding sources such as Highway Safety Improvement Program funds, Spot Safety Improvement Program funds, and High Risk Rural Road funds. The plan also includes priorities for non-infrastructure spending such as promoting seat belt usage, discouraging distractive driving and reminding motorists not to drink and drive. Funds focused are behavioral campaigns primarily come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 402 funding.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is in the process of developing a priority ranking system for identifying high crash areas of bicycle and pedestrian crashes in the state of Tennessee, as well as prioritizing those locations for addressing with safety funding. TDOT is also making application with the Federal Highway Administration to request approval to use a portion of the state's Highway Safety Improvement Program funds for bicycle and pedestrian safety behavioral campaigns such as promoting Sharing the Road and the state 3-Feet Law.
Road Safety Audit Reviews - Addressing Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety
Including Bicycle & Pedestrian Modes in Safety Projects
The Nashville Area MPO works with TDOT staff to attend Road Safety Audit Reviews (RSARs) in the MPO region, making sure the RSARs address the safety needs of bicyclists and pedestrians. MPO staff attend all pre-RSAR meetings with TDOT and consultant staff, attend the site visit to look for issues with pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and wide shoulders, and attend all post-RSAR meetings. In preparation for the RSARs, staff prepare a report showing the Bicycle and Pedestrian Levels of Service on the corridor, the crash histories and types, all existing and proposed bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and a composite score of how high the corridor ranks for bicycle and pedestrian travel and needed improvements.
In addition, the MPO worked with the Federal Highway Administration and the Tennessee Department of Transportation to arrange a class on Designing for Pedestrian Safety that included an emphasis on analyzing the safety of pedestrians in Road Safety Audit Reviews. This class was open to all TDOT engineers, Tennessee MPOs and consultants. An additional series of Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Design Classes were offered in the spring of 2010 that focused on incorporating safety in bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Rumble Strips - Bicycle Friendly Application
Making Rumble Stripes Safer for Bicyclists
Nashville Area MPO staff participated in developing new standards for the Tennessee Department of Transportation that amend rumble strip application on roadways to rumble stripes. The rumble stripes are placed on the white edge-line of the travel lane and include features that increase bicyclist safety and make traversing them more comfortable. These features include a skip pattern that leaves a ten-foot gap after every thirty feet of rumble so that bicyclists can easily move on and off the shoulder, as well as a decreased rumble width and depth so that the rumble does not take up as much room and bicycling over the rumble is not as jarring. These modified rumbles are still able to maintain the primary purpose of helping to prevent motorized vehicles from running off the road. To view the rumble standards for various shoulder widths, click here.
Driver's License Manual - Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws
Educating Motorists About Bicycle & Pedestrian Laws
Nashville Area MPO staff helped to write and edit language for a new section (Section 3, Chapter C) in the Tennessee Driver's License Manual on the laws and rights of bicyclists and pedestrians on the roadway. This section will help to educate new drivers about sharing the road with bicyclists, the three-feet law, when to yield to pedestrians and other important laws that help to protect the rights and safety of non-motorized users.
Leslie Meehan, AICP
Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator
Director of Healthy Communities