WLY map 2001

Longest Yard Sale Creates Hazard for Motorcyclists

While many motorcyclists are heading to Sturgis South Dakota for the 70th annual Rally and Races, yard sale aficionados are heading south along a 600 mile stretch that USA Today says starts in Hudson Michigan and travels route 127 from Kentucky, through Tennessee, cutting across the northwest corner of Georgia and to the eventual end in Gasden Alabama.

Billed as the worlds longest yard sale, the event starts on the first Thursday in August and continues four days through the weekend, ending on Sunday. Thousands of vendors take part in the sale each year, including families selling second-hand goods from their yards as well as professional vendors grouped in central rented spaces selling just about everything including  used household items, clothing, jewelry, trinkets, collectibles and more.

For motorcycle riders, it’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

Think about thousands of middle aged and elderly drivers in many cases waking up before dawn, driving along a congested two lane country road paying more attention to the contents of the yards they approach than the traffic on the road.  Sudden left turns and stops, often with no warning given are commonplace.

While there are no official numbers on accidents during the WLYS weekend, long time motorcycle riders Josh and Jenna Anderson say they’ve seen enough inattentive drivers to avoid the area like the plague.

“We leave the motorcycle parked in the garage this weekend.” Said 34 year old Josh Anderson, who lives near Jamestown Tennessee, right about midway in the route.  “These people will run over you in and blink.  I had two or three near misses one year when I first moved here and that taught me a valuable lesson. ”

There are no statistics for accidents during the weekend event.

If you have to be in the area on your bike, experts recommend choosing nearby interstates for north and south travel, such as I-59 in Alabama, I-65 south of Nashville and I-75 south of Chattanooga. Experts warn that other two lane roads, parallel to 127 will also be dangerous as drivers divert to those roads seeking to bypass bottlenecks and congested areas.

Safety advocates say your best option is to slow down and anticipate cars exiting driveways on both sides of the road.   Wear bright colors and never assume that you have been seen by a driver who is attempting to enter the highway.


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