Biking Safety Remains High Priority on Mississippi Trail

July 13, 2012

The superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway says officials are researching why the Mississippi portion of the Trace has more fatalities than Alabama and Tennessee.

Trace superintendent Cam Sholly tells the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that the parkway has had three biking fatalities in the past three years. He says all three occurred in Mississippi.

“We’re working on total safety measures on the Trace, for motorists and cyclists,” Sholly told the board of the Natchez Trace Compact, the marketing association for the Trace, at its annual meeting Tuesday.

Dr. Gary Holdiness of Kosciusko was killed in May while riding his bike around Kosciusko. David Allison was killed in 2009 in Prentiss County. In April 2009, Esther Hagemen of the Netherlands was killed in Chickasaw County.

All three were hit by a vehicle.

Sholly said Mississippi has more miles of the Trace but cyclists frequently ride around Nashville. However, the Nashville cyclists haven’t had any problems so far, he said.

The parkway has made a bike safety brochure that will be widely distributed.

Terry Wildy, the parkway’s chief of interpretation, said the brochure will be available soon at the visitors’ center. Plus, it will be distributed to cyclists groups and will be posted on the parkway’s website.

Among other things, the brochure reminds parkway users that bicycles are considered vehicles and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.

The 444-mile parkway runs from just south of Nashville to Natchez, Miss.

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