Raleigh on its way to being 'bike friendly'
Posted June 14, 2012 4:15 p.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2012 5:27 a.m. EDT
More and more people in Raleigh are giving up their cars, at least a few days a week, to ride bikes to work, and the city has taken notice.
Raleigh leaders adopted a plan in 2009 to integrate bicycles into the city's transportation system, says Alan Wiggs, chairman of the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.
He says Raleigh is only a few years away from being "totally bike friendly."
Most recently, workers have installed new bike lanes on Hillsborough Street, east of Oberlin Road, and on Lassiter Mill Road.
Raleigh police are also getting trained on bicyclists' rights and traffic laws relating to them. Wake County physical education teachers will also teach children bike safety in schools.
Wiggs says that having more cyclists on the road will be good for safety.
"The more cyclists that are out there, the more people can be used to them," he said. "People will learn that they are a vehicle, not just somebody out lollygagging."
Wiggs says it is important for drivers and cyclists to remember that bikers are entitled to use the entire lane of a road when it's the safest choice. Another safe habit for drivers to pick up, he says, is looking over their shoulders when opening a car door to avoid clothes-lining an oncoming biker.
Cyclists, like David Zell, say they appreciate the city's efforts.
Zell is a co-founder of Oak City Cycling Project, a downtown shop specializing in fixing and selling used bikes.
"Everybody deserves to be able to afford a bike and ride one safely in downtown," he said.
He says the city is doing a lot to make safer rides a reality.
"The cycling community is definitely growing," he said. "It's really an exciting time to be a cyclist living and riding in downtown."