Cumberland Times-News

March 2, 2014

There is logic to city’s plan for bike lanes, not absurdity

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— I am the president of the local bike club, the Western Maryland Wheelmen, and would like to respond to the editorial of Feb. 24 (Bike lanes: Residents of Frederick and Bedford streets not happy) and the letter of Delegate Kevin Kelly of Feb. 27 (“Plans to establish bike lanes is both absurd and dangerous”).

I was at the meeting that the City held with the Frederick and Bedford street residents.

The original plans for Frederick Street called for the parking to be moved to the left side and a bike lane to go on the right side. After much discussion it was felt that the better option was to leave the parking where it is, on the right and put the bike lane next to the parked cars. Like it is in many of the cities around the country and this state.

What we heard was that the bigger problem is cars and trucks speeding in this neighborhood.

Here are the benefits to having a bike lane on Frederick Street (where it is currently two lanes wide) making one lane of traffic: having a designated lane for bikes makes it safer for cyclist by being out of the road way; it makes it safer for residents exiting and entering their cars with the buffer of the bike lane from passing traffic; and traffic studies have shown that when a road is visibly narrowed by painted lines, or in any fashion, traffic moves slower (not just with then the radar is present), thus making the neighborhood safer.

As for Bedford Street the original plans called for a mix of “Share the Road” and a bike lane where possible.

After discussion the consensus was that there needed to consistency through out for both the traffic and the cyclist. That meant “Share the Road” and no bike lanes. We, the cyclists, agree. It will alert the drivers and should heighten their awareness of the possibility of a cyclist ahead.

As a cyclist I can tell you that Frederick Street is a major route that we take to get to the east and north of the city and it is designated by the state as a bike route. Cumberland is on tour routes for cycling cross country,the bike lane will go a long way to make it safer as it has in other communities.

This would be another way to show that we are bike friendly and a great place in America to ride a bike. So there is logic and precedence for what the city is trying to do and not absurdity.

This is especially true, in that more people are cycling as a form of transportation around the city and county and not just for recreation or fitness.

Dr. Jack Murray Jr.

Cumberland