Nashville party tours turn to self-regulation following recent hospitalization

Broadway in Nashville

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s a renewed push for regulations after a tourist fell off of a party tour and was seriously hurt. Some in the industry are now calling for self-imposed policing to prevent an incident, like this from ever happening again.

“I knew I had something special right away,” said Nick Lyon, owner of Hell on Wheels. “We call it partying with a purpose.”

Despite Lyon driving a truck, he continues to be thrown under the bus.

“They wanted the tourism, they wanted the bachelorettes,” he said. “This is what we wanted; this is what drives our economy.”

But attorney Gary Blackburn admits nobody had any anticipation of what would happen and what Broadway what turn into. Now, as many believe Broadway has gotten out of hand, there’s a new debate over regulations, or lack thereof, for Nashville party tours after a 22-year-old man fell off and was hospitalized last month.

“It just takes one or two of those incidents and it will negatively impact us,” said Jim Schmitz a long-time Nashville resident.

Lyon said it’s already impacting him, “Party tours have been happening in Nashville over 10 years and this is the first injury that’s occurred…a gentleman died at a bar on Broadway and this isn’t the first death that’s occurred, there’s been multiple deaths. Is the public going to outcry and say ‘close all bars? All bars are bad close them all,’ no.”

But city leaders and concerned Nashvillians that spoke with News 2 aren’t asking for a ban, they’re trying to work together to improve safety.

“It’s a multi-facet thing because the vehicle that the individual fell off that was injured, I suspect there was a bit of alcohol involved in that matter, so do you want to regulate the amount of alcohol that can be consumed? Do you want to regulate whether it can be consumed at all? Do you want to have rules that have to do with the height of the railings or if people have to remain seated? There’s any number of things that would have to be addressed,” said Blackburn.

Lyon said he’s already addressed, what many call issues, through self-policing. “Those of us that are operating the right way have already self-regulated.”

That self-regulation includes not letting visibly drunk people on board and removing them if they become a nuisance. Lyon said he isn’t driving in residential neighborhoods and he’s perfectly okay with allotted routes.

“You should be off the road 11-11:30 [p.m.] at the latest. Broadway becomes too much, it no longer becomes responsible or safe at that point to be out on a vehicle amongst people drinking with people drinking on the vehicle,” said Lyon.

The Hell on Wheels owner added, “They avoid us because they know they’re going to get called out, ‘hey, where’s your insurance? Hey, what you are doing? Hey, you’re making us look bad,’ so they purposely stay on the frames in the outskirts and that’s why they run later. They don’t want to be on the road with us.”

So now, he’s rallying the troops, suggesting self-regulation so Nashville can keep partying, safely on wheels.

Broadway Out of Bounds
From crime concerns to calls for regulation involving ‘transpotainment’ vehicles – News 2 investigates what’s being done to keep you safe on Broadway. Find more Broadway Out of Bounds special reports here.

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