City employees bike to work to raise bicycle safety awareness

Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 16, 2015

NW0517 Bike to Work D

Employees of the city of Elizabethton left their cars behind and took their bicycles to work on Friday in honor of national Bike to Work day.

Bike to Work day is part of National Bike Week, and city officials used it as an opportunity to draw attention to Elizabethton’s efforts to become a more “bike friendly” town.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We want to raise awareness about bicycling in Elizabethton,” Planning Director Jon Hartman said. “We are working to make Elizabethton more bicycle friendly. There is a need to make communities bicycle safe.”

Since the first phase of the Tweetsie Trail, a walking and biking path from Johnson City to Elizabethton, was completed, more bicyclists are coming to Elizabethton, city manager Jerome Kitchens said.

The city and the Downtown Business Association had made plans to install bicycle racks throughout the downtown so that the two-wheeled travelers would have a place to secure their bicycles. While the Tweetsie Trail has not made its way to downtown Elizabethton, the bicycle riders are already there.

“We were expecting the bicyclists to be in downtown, but not this quick,” Kitchens said. “We had the plan to put bicycle racks in downtown, but the came faster than we could get them in.”

The first phase of those bicycle racks will soon be installed. Four bicycle racks will be installed in each of the pedestrian walkways on East Elk Avenue. One walkway is located in the 400 block near the Coffee Company and one in the 600 block near Jiggy Ray’s.

Additional bicycle racks will be installed in the public parking lot on Armed Forces Drive and in the parking lot at the entrance to downtown near the Elizabethton Insurance building.

“These racks will give people places to safely store their bicycles while they are in downtown,” Kitchens said. “We have heard from downtown businesses that large groups of bicyclists have come and have had nowhere to put their bicycles. This will take care of that.”

The bicycle racks were made by welding students at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.