Safely sharing the road with bicycles
There’s no shortage of ideas for how to make Mount Pleasant a safer place for bicyclists and pedestrians. And it’s encouraging that at least a few of the more than 200 people who showed up Wednesday night at Town Hall to provide public input on that topic actually rode their bikes to the meeting.
That doesn’t mean there’s a meeting of the minds yet on how to get from the Point A of where the town is to the Point B of where it should go on this issue.
But the event did demonstrate that town officials are aware of the growing need to improve bicycle and pedestrian access.
As our story reported, “The proposals ranged from bike lanes for the Shem Creek Bridge to making Mathis Ferry and Rifle Range roads safer for the two-wheeling crowd.”
That crowd is getting more crowded — and not just in Mount Pleasant. Plenty of folks still ride bicycles for recreation and exercise. But more and more are also riding for basic transportation — to work, to shop, to school and elsewhere.
And the basic dangers represented by rising numbers of bicyclists on already-congested roads can lead to frayed tempers on both sides of the car/bike divide.
Unfortunately but inevitably, infrastructure in many communities across the nation hasn’t kept pace with the remarkable rise in bicycling. That fuels a motorists vs. bicyclists mentality that threatens not only harmony but safety.
That’s why it’s important for both motorists and bicyclists to follow the rules — and to practice patience while government officials, in and beyond Mount Pleasant, try to adjust to the new realities of the American road.
That general transformation is exacerbated in Mount Pleasant by its remarkable population growth over the last two decades. The climb in the number of people has been accompanied by an even steeper rise in the number of people on bicycles.
So the town has wisely undertaken a comprehensive review of the town’s bicycle — and pedestrian — needs.
Mount Pleasant Town Engineer Kevin Mitchell, who attended Wednesday night’s meeting, said a new bike plan will be a tool for future development. Connectivity through efficient routes that limit distance and risk should be a high priority.
Town Council member Chris Nickels said he and his colleagues are “dedicated to seeing this through.”
Meanwhile, if you’re driving a motor vehicle in Mount Pleasant or anywhere else, watch out for the proliferating ranks of bikes. If you’re riding a bike, watch out for motor vehicles.
And if you’ve got good ideas about how to make our roads safer for all, reach out to your local officials.