Department of Highways, District 10
Area motorists should be alert for bicycles next weekend as Pedals and Blooms Festival comes to the region June 16-18; Cyclists will hit the road in Estill, Lee, Menifee, Powell and Wolfe counties
JACKSON, KY. – (June 9, 2006) -- Motorists in five of the Department of Highways District 10's counties should be on the lookout next weekend for a influx of bicycles, as the Red River Gorge and surrounding region plays host to the inaugural Pedals and Blooms Festival.
Developed as a way to welcome Powell County native and first-ever Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Award recipient Joe Bowen back to the Bluegrass State after a cross-country bicycle ride, the event will combine street festivals in Beattyville and Stanton with bicycle rallies and races through Estill, Lee, Menifee, Powell and Wolfe counties. The event will take place Friday through Sunday, June 16-18.
In cooperation with the Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA) and the office of U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet installed "Share the Road" signs on routes in the five counties to be used by the bicyclists who attend and participate. These signs will serve to remind drivers that bicycles are entitled to use Kentucky's highways as well as motor vehicles, and to encourage both bicyclists and motorists to be mindful of roadway safety.
"We were pleased to work with SEKTDA and Congressman Rogers on this project," said Linda Wagner-Justice, District 10 chief district engineer. "Under the administration of Gov. Ernie Fletcher, economic development has been one of the major considerations as the Transportation Cabinet manages and maintains the state's network of highways. We realize that tourism is a very important part of the economy in this region, and we are happy to work with other groups and agencies to promote economic development in our district as well as all of Kentucky. This event is designed to increase awareness of the Red River Gorge region as a tourist destination for bicyclists, and we're glad to do our part to assist and to emphasize highway safety, which is another of Gov. Fletcher's prime goals."
The featured attraction along several of the bicycle rally and race routes is the Red River Gorge National Scenic Byway, which was designated an America's Byway in 2005 through the efforts of SEKTDA. This route includes the loop of KY 77, KY 715 and KY 15 through Powell, Menifee and Wolfe counties.
The Pedals and Blooms events are slated to kick off "Share the Road Week" in Kentucky, which will end with a Ride, Run & Rally at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 24 on the Capitol grounds in Frankfort. At that time, Kentucky's new "Share the Road" license plate, promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety, will be unveiled. Gov. Fletcher recently proclaimed the week of June 18-24 as "Share the Road Week" across the state.
Motorists should be aware that they will encounter heavy bicycle traffic on the following highways:
- Estill County, KY 52 and KY 213.
- Lee County, KY 11 and KY 52.
- Menifee County, KY 77 and KY 715.
- Powell County, KY 11, KY 15, KY 77, KY 213, KY 599, KY 613 and KY 615.
- Wolfe County, KY 11, KY 15 and KY 715.
In addition, KY 52 (Main Street) in Beattyville will be closed Friday and Saturday, June 16-17. Drivers can use River Drive as an alternate route. There will also be some street closures in Stanton during the festival.
To reduce the risk of accidents as the bicyclists take to the region's highways, drivers should heed the following safety tips:
- Drive cautiously. Reduce speed when encountering cyclists and recognize situations that may be potentially dangerous to cyclists and give them space.
- Yield to cyclists. Bicycles are considered vehicles and should be given the appropriate right of way. Cyclists may take the entire lane when hazards, road width or traffic speed dictate. Motorists should allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections.
- Be considerate. Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections. Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists. Look for cyclists when opening doors into traffic.
- Pass with care. Avoid tailgating cyclists when following them. Leave at least three feet of space between your car and a cyclist. Wait until road and traffic conditions allow you to safely pass. Check over your shoulder after passing a cyclist before moving back to normal position.
In Kentucky, bicycles are prohibited from riding more than two abreast on streets and roads.
Information on the Pedals and Blooms Festival can be found at www.cyclethegorge.com or www.tourseky.com. Information on the festival, as well as road conditions on highways leading to the area, can also be obtained by calling 511. Details of Bowen's cross-country ride can be seen at www.ridejoeride.org. The Transportation Cabinet's mutimodal programs and policies, including safety tips, can be viewed at bikewalk.ky.gov.