Bicycle riders who brave dangerous conditions and unfriendly roads showed up Wednesday at a public input session in Hendersonville to share their ideas on how the region can develop bike paths or make roads safer for bikes.
The effort to create a long-range plan for bicycles sharing roads with cars and trucks started last fall, covering seven counties. After the input sessions across the mountains, the Land of Sky regional planning council will create a "draft network" based on comments and suggestions, said planner Lyuba Zuyeva.
The public input session, at Hendersonville's City Operations Center, was a decidedly pro-bicycle affair, with several participants reaching the event on two wheels instead of four. Others were avid bike riders who welcomed the opportunity to voice their concerns: roads are too narrow, the state when it builds new roads skips the opportunity to make them wide enough for bike lanes, the bike paths are disconnected.
Dan Hayes, a city firefighter, county rescue squad member and bike rider, said he had seen the faults from aboard a bike and aboard an ambulance.
"A lot times, people try to pass (bicycles) in blind spots, curves and hills," he said. "They just widened Cummings Road. What would it have hurt to make it 18, 20 inches wider to make it that much safer? A lot of times we go to a call of a car versus bike and the bike always loses."
The bike riders gathered around a map of Henderson County roads and traced their favorite bike routes and told planners some problems with them.
Wednesday's public input meeting was the fourth of seven. When they're done, planners will present a bike plan that takes the comments into account. The Blue Ridge Bike Plan steering committee will meet 10 a.m.-noon on Friday, June 22, at the Haynes Building AB Tech Enka-Candler campus.
Rep. McGrady helps 'primitive man'
Tasting my way to the top