Rome Police Sgt. Smith presented a recent traffic report to the city’s traffic commission stating that accidents and injuries were up slightly in the previous months.
Smith added that private lot accidents were also slightly increased.
The good news is that there were no fatalities report. DUI arrests were also down slightly.
Following too Closely was the number two cause of accidents during this period. The highest accident intersection for the month was Turner McCall Blvd. at Hicks Drive with 8 accidents, followed by Martha Berry Hwy at Veterans Memorial with 7.
Sgt. Chris Dehart reported there have been a number of high speed collisions involving cyclists on the section of GA Loop 1 between the Braves Drive and Hwy 411. This is a high speed zone where logging trucks and many other commercial vehicles travel. Cyclists have the right‐of‐ way according to current statutes, but it’s dangerous for them to be in a high speed zone. Dehart said that motorists can’t always view cyclists at night and the potential for serious injury is high. Most of the accidents with injuries we have had involving cyclists have been in this area and have occurred in the early morning hours. He noted we have the authority to add additional controls at this location.
Rome Service Manager Kirk Milam added this is classified a ‘limited access’ road while Hwy 411 is a controlled access hwy. He explained that you can acquire a permit for a driveway on a controlled access highway but on limited access roads you can’t. He noted the Committee could endorse a plan for signage prohibiting cyclists and then draft a letter to the DOT requesting the change. He added that he can also reach out to the cycling community to discuss this with them.
Commissioner Randy Quick asked if we know where these cyclists are going. Sgt. Dehart said they are all over town using our trail systems, parks and downtown streets, but on this particular section of Loop 1 they seem to be heading to 411. Commissioner Wendy Davis said she is hesitant to prohibit cyclists when we have placed much emphasis on being a cycle friendly city. She would like to see what other cities are doing. Sgt. Dehart said they he has taken every measure he can think of before making this request. Commissioner Stephens asked for staff to provide more data on accidents with cyclists before making a decision on this.