Chapel Hill and Carrboro will observe National Bike Month and respond to safety concerns

May is National Bike Month and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area hosts several cycling events to promote activity and improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

Go Chapel Hill, a local organization that supports alternative modes of transportation to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, will host several of the local Bike Month events.

A “May the Wheels Be With You” event was held at UNC’s Polk Place on May 4, offering free bike checks and registration. Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils will ride bikes with the community on May 10, and a youth artists’ workshop on May 14 will feature e-bike demonstrations and helmet fittings.

“I encourage residents to add cycling to their transportation habits; become advocates for cycling, cycling infrastructure and cycling-friendly laws and policies; and enjoy every bike ride,” Seils said in a press release.

Chapel Hill’s Mobility and Connectivity Plan, which passed in 2020, aims to make cycling and walking more comfortable and convenient on major thoroughfares. One of its stated goals is that 35% of all trips in Chapel Hill would be on foot, by bike or by bus by 2025.

Michael Parker, Member of Chapel Hill City Council, said encouraging cycling helps fight climate change and promote a healthy lifestyle.

“We want to do everything we can to get people out of cars and into something else,” Parker said. “Assuming it’s done safely, it has great personal health benefits.” It’s great cardiovascular exercise and a great way to see your city.

Involvement of local businesses

Several local businesses will be performing free bike inspections throughout Bike Month, including Back Alley Bikes. Owner Jason Merrill, who got into the bike business about 20 years ago fixing his own bike, said the world could be a better place if more people cycled and walked than the world. car.

Merrill said he believed cars caused a lack of social interaction between people.

“When (people) see each other every day, whether they’re walking, biking or riding a scooter, they interact with the environment and with each other in a different way,” Merrill said. “They are more polite. They are nicer. I think it’s something that strengthens the community.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro area that promotes small business and cycling during Bike Month provides a great opportunity for Back Alley bikes, he said.

“There’s this kind of snowball effect where people who ride make it a bike-friendly place, and people knowing it’s a bike-friendly place attract people here who are more bike-friendly,” Merrill said.

Details of the event can be found here.

Safety of cyclists and pedestrians

As part of its plan to end crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists, Chapel Hill has implemented its Vision Zero strategy, which aims to eliminate road deaths and serious injuries by 2031 and give priority to vulnerable road users – such as pedestrians and cyclists – when transporting. the decisions.

Parker said eliminating right turns at red lights at nearly 20 intersections, metering traffic and painting designated bike lanes have been key to improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists in recent years.

Despite these efforts, several people have been injured in collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists since the start of 2022.

Chapel Hill City Council will vote at its May 4 meeting to pass a resolution against “dooring”, which is when a parked car opens a door into the path of another road user. road, usually a cyclist. A Franklin Street cyclist died in February after being struck by an opening car door.

“When we assess traffic for new developments, the primary concern is bicycle and pedestrian safety, not congestion,” Parker said.

@ethanehorton1

@DTHCityState | [email protected]

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