Biking in Memphis is booming, local advocates say, with lots of new riders, impressive growth in bike club membership and expanded bicycling lanes, greenways and other facilities, including the Harahan Bridge Project, a dedicated bike/ped bridge across the Mississippi River. The city projects 270 miles of bike facilities by 2016, with a mix of shared used paths, cycle tracks, bike lanes and shared lanes. Thanks to improvements on the ground, Memphis has been able to boost ridership while sharply reducing the number of bike crashes on a per-rider basis.
Population: 656,861 (2014 estimate)
Bicycle Friendly Community Status: Bronze Level
Protected bike lanes: Notable facilities in Memphis include the Green Lane Project, which is part of a multi-city program to install protected bicycle lanes in six U.S. cities. The city’s first protected bike lanes were installed in 2013 along Overton Park Avenue. Memphis hopes to have more than 22 miles of Green Lanes by 2016. The Shelby Farms Greenline was considered a “transformative” project for biking in Memphis. The western end will soon connect to the 1.7 mile Hampline into Overton Park and the Bike Gateway. Also, the Wolf River Greenway is a 10-foot wide path that will eventually extend 30 miles to connect neighborhoods from downtown Memphis to Germantown and Collierville.
Harrahan Bridge Project: The 4,900-foot Harahan Bridge, which currently spans the Mississippi River for train crossings, will soon provide a dedicated bike / pedestrian connection between downtown Memphis and Arkansas. The $30-million project to add a bike / ped trail has drawn national attention and is expected to be a game-changer for cross-country bike tourists.
Bike art: The illustration at the top of the page shows Overton Park’s Bike Gate, a sculpture by artist Tylur French, which was crafted with parts from 300 scrap bicycles. The arch includes bicycles, tricycles, wheelchairs, and unique shapes from tandem and penny farthing bikes.
The Official Scoop: The city’s official report touts growth in biking numbers: “Each day, more people are taking advantage of the growing network of infrastructure dedicated for use by persons using bicycles and the results are fantastic.” Kyle Wagenschutz is the Bicycle/Pedestrian Program Manager for Memphis. The city website lists bike corrals and bike parking, and it provides a form to request additional parking. The city also publishes Memphis bike maps and has available its Complete Streets Project Delivery Manual, and biannual State of Memphis Bicycling report. The city takes advantage of repaving projects to add new bike lanes. The one drawback, as noted in the bike / ped site, is that there is no order by which roadways are selected for repaving, and the new striping does not always connect to existing bicycle networks. The city also lists important upcoming projects, with diagrams and meeting information.
Bike Share: Slated for 2017.
Bragging Rights: In 2012, Bicycling magazine named Memphis the “Most Improved City for Cycling” after giving naming it to the “worst” list in both 2008 and 2010. In 2013, Memphis became the 500th city in the nation to pass a Complete Streets Policy. Also, the crash rate in Memphis, measured against the number of new riders, has declined since 2008, according to Wagenschutz.
Bike Club: The biggest club in town is The Memphis Hightailers with 1,500 members. Club president Tulio Bertorini says he’d like to have 2,000 members by the end of 2016.
Bike rides: The Hightailers publish a calendar of upcoming rides in the Memphis area.
Pie after the ride: Tulio says riders often socialize at Mellow Mushroom after club rides.
Legal Help After A Memphis Bike Accident
Our goal is to make Tennessee roads safer for all cyclists. But we are here when you need help following a bicycle crash. Tennessee bicycle accident lawyer Amy Benner is a member of the Bike Law network. She practices law across Tennessee. Her representation of cyclists developed when she commuted by bike while living in D.C in 2005-2006. Her work in cycling advocacy as an attorney includes drafting the bylaws for Bike Walk Knoxville.
Amy has contact information on this page, or use our Report a Bike Accident form.
If you would like Bike Law to come speak to your club or at your shop, please contact us.