Councilmembers Concerned About Bike Safety As Bikeshare Approaches
Montgomery County councilmembers on Thursday raised concerns about cycling safety, a common theme in the last few months as the county prepares to implement a Capital Bikeshare program in the spring. The remarks came at a joint Public Safety and Transportation Committee hearing in which Department of Transportation officials presented new numbers that showed even as pedestrian-car collisions have decreased significantly during the last six years, bicycle-car collisions were up. "Our goal as a Council and I hope as a county is to increase the number of people using bicycles," said Council President Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac). "So going back to more accidents on bicycles is something that is going to be more important, not less important." Bethesda is set for 11 Bikeshare stations when 29 are installed in the downcounty area next spring. Already some are concerned with the prospects of more inexperienced riders on the roads and sidewalks. "I've been raising some questions about how prepared we are and how many additional bike lanes and safe places for bicyclists we are creating," Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-at large) of Garrett Park said. "The state's repaving of roads seems to largely be including bike lanes. I'm not sure about the county's process in that regard." Floreen recently asked the State Highway Administration to consider bike lanes and bike markings in repaving and road improvement projects. Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) brought up safety issues between bikers and pedestrians on sidewalks, something not measured in the DOT report. According to an August report by CountyStat, there were eight reported bicycle collisions in downtown Bethesda in 2011 involving bicycles and cars, most at crosswalks.