Memphis cycling groups want changes to dangerous intersection where cyclist died after crash

Updated: Nov. 15, 2020 at 9:40 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis cycling community is mourning the death of one of its own in an accident Saturday.


He was one of two cyclists hit by a car that lost control during a crash at the intersection of Walnut Grove Road and Farm Road at the entrance to Shelby Farms Road. The second cyclist remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Hundreds of cyclists, runners and others use the intersection every day.

After Saturday’s accident, cycling groups say it’s long overdue for some protective measures to be installed.

On Sunday, a piece of a bike helmet was among other debris from the crash a day earlier.

Memphis police say the cyclists were waiting to cross the busy street when a car making a left turn onto Farm Road hit another driving onto Walnut Grove. The second car spun toward a utility poll and pinned the cyclist who later died.

“It’s really unfortunate," said Robert Blaudow. “I think fortunately they were wearing helmets, but in this case I don’t think it mattered.”

Blaudow rode his bicycle by the scene after the crash.

“What I can say about the scene is that it was carnage," said Blaudow. "I’ve never seen two bicycles so damaged in all my time riding, and I’ve been doing this for 34 years.”

Every bicyclist we talked to Sunday told us this corner is very dangerous.

“When you hit that button net to that light pole, you’re standing a foot and a half away from 55 mph traffic, and that’s assuming that they’re obeying the speed limit,” said Michael Hamm.

Tulio Bertorini, president of the Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club, says the intersection has concerned them for years, and they’ve talked to the City of Memphis about a grant to install measures to protect pedestrians.

“That it’s going to take somebody dying to make a change is the sad part about it," said Bertorini.

While we were interviewing Bertorini Sunday two drivers had a minor accident right at the corner.

“It’s very scary,” said Bertorini.

He says the Hightailers group plans to apply immediately for an $80,000 grant to install concrete barriers, warning signs for drivers and more to make the intersection safer.

“We don’t need anybody else dying at this intersection,” said Bertorini.

The Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club is in touch with the Bikeway and Pedestrian Program manager for the City of Memphis and they hope to meet soon.

The Hightailers also hope to hold a memorial ride in honor of the person who died here soon, possibly as early as next weekend.

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