A newly-added bike lane at Jefferson and Division streets on Aug. 14. (Metro Wire photo)

Letter: Bicyclist feels unsafe in new bike lanes

To the Editor-

I would consider myself a high volume bike rider. I ride or walk to/from work every day which is approximately two miles round trip.

I ride/walk to get all of my groceries, socialize, exercise, relax, etc. Biking is a big part of my everyday life. I use and appreciate the Green Circle. It’s a great asset to our community for many different activities in different areas; biking, walking, running, skating, skiing.

I work primarily day shift (7:30-4:00). The route I ride is a quiet neighborhood. Seldom do I meet a car on my ride to/from work until I am 1-2 blocks from my work. Those last blocks before my work I ride on the sidewalk to avoid traffic and for my safety.

When I am on the sidewalk I get off my bike and walk it across the street at intersections and crosswalks just as a pedestrian. I wait for cars and never assume they see me or give me the right of way. If I meet a pedestrian coming towards me on the sidewalk I ride over in the grass. If I am coming up behind someone. I slow down and call out, “Excuse me. Biker coming behind you. Passing on your left.”

I have never been sworn at, yelled at, or caused any harm. I have been thanked many times for being friendly and giving a warning.

I have now found my rides take me on streets where the bike lanes have been added. Which in turn, has me riding even more on the sidewalk. The lanes for the vehicles in some areas are so tight that drivers are frustrated and angry causing aggression toward bikers making it actually more dangerous for all. They don’t want to hit another car or a bike.

Some of the streets were too dangerous to ride on without a dedicated bike lane (Stanley St./Hwy 66 being one). Others are now too dangerous because the street has a dedicated bike lane and it’s too narrow, but there is no sidewalk option.

I don’t believe the people who planned this are bike riders, which is unfortunate. Definitely should have included biking citizens, some who ride for leisure, some for transportation, some for competition, and shop owners.

I understand there are bike riders with no respect for vehicles or their drivers and whip about anywhere at any moment, never looking or stopping, or obeying any traffic signs. Those are the people who give bikers a bad name. The sad truth is the ones who do obey rules and speak up, or give honest opinions are never considered because in this city decisions have really been made long before it’s citizens are aware of something.

Janelle Lane
Stevens Point

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