Pietro Policastro, owner of Boost Bike Shop in Uptown Shelby, knows how hard it is to enjoy a bike ride. Limited bike facilities, speedy motorists and private roads force him to rethink what path he will take.
He is looking forward to what the future may hold.
“Right now the issue is the highways and the spacing,” said Policastro. “A lot of them are 55 or 60 mph, and people go faster than that. A lot of them are single lane highways, and you do not want to get stuck on one of them. But then you have dogs on single roads. There are secret routes people know but even then, it can get tricky. “
Nearly 200 cyclists and pedestrians are killed each year in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The WalkBikeNC initiative seeks to lower those numbers by providing safe roads for those pedaling or traveling by foot.
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The organization is updating its bike route system and is asking the public to submit their input. Those who wish to participate will have until Monday, March 14, to provide feedback.
The original bike system was created in the ’70s and’ 80s. The plan was updated in 2013, but a recent surge of bike routes within various communities across the state prompted the NCDOT to make another revision.
“North Carolina has not only continued to grow, but we have seen an increase in bike plans created by municipalities that are far more detailed than any statewide effort can do,” said Harris Kay, communications officer for the NCDOT. “We want to make sure the system is as safe and efficient as possible.”
Policastro added cycling through Shelby has its perks because the bike signs painted on various streets alert motorists to share the road.
“They have done a little bit better,” said Policastro. Typically, those signs are on roads with less traffic. Once you get outside of town, there’s this wild west feeling. ”
Kay added more dedicated bike facilities have been added statewide, and cyclists should keep an eye out for public roads that have been made private.
“We may need to adjust the routes to go through these facilities to ensure the safety of all involved,” said Kay. “We want to take those things into account.”
The NCDOT anticipates the project to be completed this summer.
Want to participate?
The NCDOT encourages everyone from beginners to avid cyclists to provide feedback. Visit ncdot.altaplanning.cloud/#/step-one/ to contribute.
Latrice Williams can be reached at 704-669-3339 and email@example.com.