• Naysayers strike first! Recent letters to the editor

    by  • July 16, 2012 • Media, No Digest • 0 Comments

    Two recent (negative) letters to the editor of the Wilmington News Journal:

    Trails won’t inspire more bicycle commuters
    I own an “electric bike” and I ride it to work about three to four days per week during the spring/summer/fall. Fortunately, there is only a stretch of about a half mile where I am on a main road — Silverside, mostly with a bike lane, and Grub roads, which is totally treacherous.

    The rest of the trip is through residential neighborhoods. That $13 million new bike trail project is practically a joke and won’t begin to make this pedestrial/bike-hostile state any friendlier — except maybe for recreational riding (path in park or road to nowhere). I was shocked to read in your article that yet another biker was killed on Marsh road last month. [Continue reading …]

    Poster’s Note:  This very negative letter runs contrary to data collected on trails and pathways that have connections between cities, towns, neighborhoods, and services. The Junction Breakwater Trail in Rehoboth and the James F. Hall Trail in Newark are excellent examples of pathway systems that encourage more folks to walk or pedal to work. Ditto for others in the Trails and Pathways plan that make serious connections and are NOT paths to nowhere. Add to that a Complete Streets policy, and Advocates partnered with government agencies working toward safer on-road conditions. This in depth study (pdf) shows that a greater supply of bike paths and on-street infrastructure will result in a significantly higher bicycle commuting rate.

    Bikers have safety responsibilities, too
    While I can appreciate the plight and safety of bikers with autos on our roads “State Aims to ease the way for bikers,” July 7) there is another side to this issue. Cyclists riding two and three abreast on narrow county roads create dangerous conditions. And alas, one biker in the article, commented “..trouble for bike commuters, who must steer around joggers, walkers and people with strollers.

    ”Countless times my wife and I, walking on state park “walking/bike trails” are startled and nearly hit by bikers who fail to shout a warning. We have given up walking these trails on weekend and holiday mornings as a result. Yes, bikers you have safety responsibilities as well.  [Continue reading …]

    Poster’s Note:  While the writer makes some valid points, bicyclists are not exceptional among other road and pathway users. In the same context, we can say motorists abuse other road users and each other, motorcyclists think it’s safer to make us deaf, pedestrians jaywalk or spread themselves across the path while ignoring the gentle ringing of a bell or verbal announcement, and so it goes. The News Journal article could have better addressed these concerns, however, “safety responsibilities” apply to all users of the public right-of-way. If anything, motorists stand out due to the enormous toll taken on human/non-human life and the environment. Generally speaking, at least among the non-motoring public, the situation is not that bad. Those who have issues are better served by joining an advocacy group and assisting with education and enforcement.

    Have you written your letter yet, in support of Delaware’s recent increase in funding for bicycles and pedestrians?

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