Cyclist blames Knoxville Greenway for crash, calls on city to fix problem

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "I was thrown off my bike and had 14 breaks or fractures on the left-hand side of my body," Russ Woolard, a local cyclist, thinks back on a bad bike wreck. He blames bumps in the Greenway for his crash a few years ago, and he said he's not the only one to take a spill because of obstacles on the path.

Woolard said, "For the last four or five years I've just held my breath, and I witnessed a number of crashes."

After biking Third Creek Greenway for years, Woolard is pedaling for change. The city said it is the oldest part of the trail system. It was built in the early 1980's with no recent repairs.

Woolard said, "If repairs are not done, somebody is going to get severely hurt on this Greenway if they haven't already."

The Knoxville Parks Department constantly works to fix other parts of the trail system. They've poured millions into repairs in the past few years.

Turkey Creek was the most recent recipient of a face lift, including repaving bumps sometimes caused by tree roots.

Tim Hester, the Greenways coordinator, said, "It's almost a double edged sword. We like our Greenways to be a natural environment—green, shade. But when the trees get too close to the Greenway, it can cause some maintenance issues that we have to stay on top of."

On the other end of the path, railroad crossings caused wrecks just a few years ago. The city said they've fixed that problem.

The parks department also oversees about 100 miles of Greenway stretching across all of Knoxville, and employees recommend park goers call 311 with any concerns.

Hester said, "If it's something we can do something about quickly, we certainly will."

The city has agreed to meet with Russ Woolard Friday to address his concerns.