The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 22nd

Chapel Hill needs to improve biking infrastructure

The town of Chapel Hill should work toward becoming more bike-friendly by considering the advice of local bike experts.

Biking is a great way to get around town, but bicyclists face safety issues and harassment from motorists when they attempt to ride on the street.

The town has made some attempts at accepting bicyclists on the road, such as removing “bike path” signs on some sidewalksInterview with Wayne Pein, local cycling advocate that had previously been encouraging bikers to remain on sidewalks. However, some recent changes have put bikers on the road in even more danger.

For example, a 0.2-mile bike lane on South Columbia Street, created in 2007, is sandwiched between a motorist lane and a bus laneInterview with Wayne Pein, local cycling advocate.

When the bike and bus lanes end abruptly, bicyclists find themselves squeezed dangerously between buses merging left and vehicles attempting to turn right. This unsafe infrastructure has proved inconvenient for everyone on the road.

Carrboro is a silver-level bicycle community, meaning it has been awarded the second-highest bike-friendliness rating by the League of American Bicyclists. It is the only community in North Carolina with this rating.

Indeed, the roads are wide and flat, and bike lanes abound, giving bicyclists a false sense of security. In reality, the majority of bike lanes in Carrboro are substandard, meaning they do not meet the minimum width requirements specified by the N.C. Department of TransportationInterview with Wayne Pein, local cycling advocate.

And with so many bike lanes, motorists hardly ever slow down when passing a biker as they would if no line separated them.

Chapel Hill should seek the opinions of bikers in improving policy and infrastructure that will increase the level of bike-friendliness across town and encourage more students to ride.

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