NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Everyone has their usual morning routine. For Katherine McDonell, hers center around her bike.
“This is my route to work. I’ve been biking on Demonbreun from East Nashville to Vanderbilt for about eight years now,” said McDonell.
It started with her usual bike ride when she noticed the usual “flex posts” or “flex bollards.”
“They provide kind of a visual barrier for drivers which definitely helps with some of the illegal parking issues in the bike lanes, but they’re flexible plastic so they don’t provide a lot of physical protection,” McDonell explained.
The flex posts were installed with the goal of protecting bikers riding in areas with lots of traffic. The posts serve as a barrier between cyclists and vehicles.
However, one day, McDonell started to document her ride after seeing several posts broken and lying on the ground.
“They get run over very frequently. They get destroyed. They don’t actually provide a lot of protection for cyclists,” McDonell said. “Basically, an entire block was demolished all at once.”
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McDonell started taking photos after she saw at least 36 posts damaged, or completely missing. News 2 cameras even caught two vehicles driving over posts left lying on the ground.
“Ideally, every time one of these gets damaged or destroyed, I would love to see it replaced with steel or concrete, to be replaced with true protection,” McDonell suggested.
The year 2023 has seen an increase in traffic fatalities, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The department has tracked 474 incidents where someone has died. Pedestrians account for the majority of the deaths. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes.
“We lost 50 people on our streets last year, who were just trying to kind of exist on our streets outside of a car. So already I think we’re up against a lot, and so to see this level of destruction, it’s a visual representation of what we’re up against,” said McDonell.
News 2 reached out to the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) to ask what is being done about the damaged flex posts and was told residents can report damaged posts to hubNashville.
“HubNashville is the best way to report roadway maintenance issues to the department,” a spokesperson for the department wrote.
Once the request is received, a work order is issued to repair the bollards as quickly as possible.