So there you are, getting ready to ascend Demonbreun Hill just after crossing I-40. You’ve filtered over after the bike lane ends at 12th Ave and then begins again and you’re looking ahead of you.
A car. In the bike lane. On an uphill.
Folks, this situation happens regularly. Metro Nashville Municipal Code section 12.60.135 B stipulates that
Motor vehicles should not be parked, stopped or left standing in bicycle lanes unless the metropolitan traffic and parking commission has determined that parking within the bicycle lane in specific locations is appropriate during certain hours and signs have been erected in the designated area(s) to that effect.
Stopping to load and unload on the Demonbreun Hill is not generally considered one of those exceptions. And it happens all the time. (In fact, there was a Facebook group called Demonbreun Hill Bike Lane Patrol which was devoted to pictures of offending vehicles, but since has been expanded to be called Nashville Bike Lane Patrol.)
I like using bike lanes (when they are engineered in a sane, reasonable manner – don’t get me started on some of the gutter-using bike lanes here in Nashville) and having a bike lane when going up a hill helps to diffuse any irritation that a vehicle driver might have about being “stuck” behind a bike rider. (Slow down, enjoy the view, I say.)
So what do you do?
- Take a picture of the vehicle if you have time to stop and can safely do so
- Make note of the location and call the Metro Nashville Non-Emergency Number at (615) 862-8600
- If you don’t want to call the MNPD non-emergency number, you can fill out a form on their website
- If the vehicle is a commercial vehicle with clear signage, consider contacting the company and politely explaining the law
- If you have a social media account, you can share there and tag any of the Nashville agencies responsible. Be relatively nice but firm.
If your bike lane infrastructure blockage is more of the vegetation and dead animal kind, you can file a report with Metro Nashville Public Works either via their website (you can include pictures!) or phone (615) 862-8750. I have found Public Works to be very responsive to issues when they are described as “hazardous” or “creating a hazard”. (Greenways have a different reporting system – they are maintained by Metro Parks and you can call (615) 862-8400 or email MetroParks@nashville.gov.)
And – most importantly – if you are a vehicle driver, don’t park in bike lanes (or on sidewalks)! Be the change you want to see in the world, y’all.