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Contact: John Garrison, (828) 271 4779 ext 240
Summertime vacation travel is on the rise on the Blue Ridge Parkway along with motor vehicle accidents. For the summer traveler the Blue Ridge Parkway offers many opportunities. The Parkway was conceived, designed and constructed to be a scenic roadway and it has been internationally recognized as a showcase of the Appalachians. At the very heart of the visitor experience is a slower pace, allowing opportunities to absorb and reflect on the beauty and history. The tight, spiraling curves that help make the Parkway special and unique can catch the unobservant operator off guard.
The trend for 2007 and the first six months of 2008 show an increase in collisions coinciding with increased traffic during the summer travel season. The Blue Ridge Parkway staff is collaborating with the Commonwealth of Virginia which is also experiencing an increase in traffic collisions.
To improve visitor safety, vehicle operators are encouraged to practice "Parkway Etiquette." This means that those operating a slower vehicle, such as a bicycle or RV, should use the many overlooks to allow others to pass. Motorcyclists and other drivers should also be prepared for longer drive times, as the Parkway is intended to be traveled at speeds lower than most routes in the region. Vehicle operators should obey the posted speed limit and always be aware of wildlife along the road. These actions support the Blue Ridge Parkway slogan, "Enjoy the View, Watch the Road."
Blue Ridge Parkway rangers are taking steps to promote traffic safety and encourage "Parkway Etiquette" by contacting vehicle operators for failing to follow vehicle traffic safety regulations. Throughout the year, rangers will also be conducting driver safety checkpoints along the 469 miles of Parkway. The goal of these efforts is to insure the safety of all that travel the Parkway.