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State online survey shows many cyclists would like to do biking on trails without automobiles
By Rob Hedelt
ASTATEWIDE nonprofit organization that promotes biking and walking for health, environmental and economic benefits recently asked in an online survey about how to best improve safety for cyclists.
The overwhelming top answer in the unscientific online survey conducted by BikeWalk Virginia: access to separate bike paths.
Other suggestions: painted, striped bike lanes on the side of the road, wider roads and lower speed limits.
That information and other responses to the online survey were released in coordination with this week's Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week in Virginia.
I'm normally not a big one for commemorative weeks, largely because there are so many that it can dim their significance.
But as a recreational cyclist who has for years tried to log regular miles on a bicycle hereabouts, the "separate bike trails" response resonates.
Cyclists who are much more experienced and accomplished than I am may feel comfortable putting their two wheels out on busy highways in our car-jammed region. But it scares me silly to get out and ride on these roads.
Thank goodness we have some bike/walk/jog paths in our area where you can get in short rides without having to worry about automobiles. And thank goodness we have people in our region pushing to get more.
From Spotsylvania County, which is in the process of completing a new trailways master plan, to King George County, where a section of an abandoned rail line is providing cyclists with a place to ride, folks who enjoy the recreational and health benefits of biking are seeking more safe routes to ride.
Part of the danger of mixing automobiles and cyclists is the inherent difference between fast, large vehicles and those that are slower and small.
Another problem, we cyclists have to admit, is the fact that some of us don't always follow the rules or ride in parts of the road that keep us safe.