— To the Editor:
I am a resident of Avon and a fairly avid biker when Indiana’s weather allows for it. There are few things that energize me as much as riding my bike to and from work. Not only do I cherish the functional opportunity for exercise, but simply enjoy seeing my environment from a perspective that is surprisingly altered when traveling by my own effort.
I’m sending this letter in response to a number of occasions I’ve felt truly endangered while biking. Although there are several bike trails in Hendricks County (e.g. the B&O Trail), our county is hugely lacking in options for bikers hoping to make use of the general roadways when the trails do not provide a route to the locations they need to go. I live just off of State Road 267 on the southwest edge of Avon, worked just off of S.R. 267 on the north side of Brownsburg for four years, and cannot count on both hands the number of times a motor vehicle sped dangerously around me, often honking in the process and once even causing me to lose control in the gravel at the roadside and fall into a ditch (the large diesel truck actually sped up after my fall). Fortunately, I have never been injured.
Perhaps S.R. 267 is the most extreme example, but at certain points in the area between Brownsburg and Avon, the fracturing of the pavement has crossed over the white line marking the lanes, leaving rarely more than six inches of median to bike in without obstructing traffic. Even more rarely is there a sidewalk to serve as a haven for our senses of safety (the legality of riding on sidewalks is questionable at best, Indiana State Bike Code, Sec. 431-603). There are certainly roads less intimidating to ride on, but using them often requires adding several miles to your trip; the very last thing we need to encourage more people to engage in an activity with such great health, environmental, and economic benefits.
Much has been done in Hendricks County over the past several years to provide wonderful options for recreational cyclists, but I believe much more must be done to make our roads welcoming to those who would like the option to commute by bike, whether for work or otherwise. Perhaps some may argue that there doesn’t seem to be much of a demand for solutions to this problem like bike lanes, common bike trails along roadways, and continuous and up kept sidewalks, but perhaps the lack of cyclists on the roadways relative to motor vehicles comes from the lack of safe and viable options for them. You’d be hard-pressed to find an individual who would not like to get in better shape, save a few dollars, and lessen their environmental impact. Making a few trips a week by bike, rather than in a car, is a fantastic way to accomplish all three of those things. We simply must make the choice feasible.
Ride or die,