The High Road: Stay In Your Lane

The High Road

A growing percentage of Americans are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. In urban areas across the country, cycling has become the transportation of choice for young adults. Although there has been an influx of bike users, our community has done a poor job of accommodating the needs of cyclists.

The video above is in front of University Commons on Chapel Hill St. headed towards the Nasher Museum. You may notice that there are cars where nothing is supposed to be…

It is to no fault of the vehicle owners. There are 2 hour parking signs lining the side of the street. The city has elected to completely neglect the bike community, and safety, in favor of residential parking even though they have dedicated parking lots next to and behind the apartments.

Durham’s problem is not unique. Check out the video below of a biker in the city of Toronto. Taking this concept to the next level, a fellow cyclist took to the streets to capture the immense challenge it has become to travel by bicycle without the overwhelming fear that your life is at constant risk.

How can we begin to curb this problem? Here’s a start:



Easy. Like riding a bike.

The push for road bikes more equipped for urban cycling continues to climb uphill. Bikes with turn signals, headlights, and rear view mirrors have hit the market in an effort to turn the gears and make riding safer for bikers and drivers alike. Local manufacturer Organic Transit has taken cycling a step further with the ELF, a car/bike hybrid that is still finding its place in urban transportation. Clarion Content contributor Ned Philips shot their Kickstarter video in 2012 which you can view here. ELF is a pedal in the right direction, but our education on bike safety continues to be an issue.

Meghan Makoid, a public transportation enthusiast in Durham, contributed to the conversation about urban transportation on Twitter Wednesday morning:

Bicycles are a great alternative for urban travelers. This is especially true for young adults who cannot afford to own a car or live in a bigger city where cars are less practical.

For Makoid’s age raising scenario to succeed, it would require a more concentrated effort in infrastructure development for those who would turn to things like cycling as their primary mode of IMG_20140604_175619transportation. If not, the mortality rate might be no different in cycling accidents than it is in motor vehicles.

What will it come to before we take urban transportation seriously? Death? To the deep sadness of Durham’s cycling community, we have already been down this road before with the tragic passing of Seth Vidal last year.

Drivers, be cautious. Unless you want to end up in prison, stay out of the bike lane if you cannot handle bars.

Take the High Road…

Columnist Justin Laidlaw is a renaissance man. His interests range from the music business to politics, from Durham’s history and culture, to the world beyond. The co-host of Clarion Content’s podcast, he is fast becoming a veteran columnist. He is a fashion model, a tech sceptic, a business manager and more.

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