Could a comfort map ease bikers’ concerns?

WASHINGTON — A bicycle program in Arlington, Virginia hopes to ease the anxieties of those who pedal to work.

Bike Arlington is a county initiative meant to get more people on two wheels. On Sept. 10, officials will host a screening and informational event at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse to answer commuter questions about biking.

The group will play six shorts that profile Arlington residents who get around on their bikes. The event will also address the fears they might have riding with cars.

“It’s not about difficulty like, ‘Is it steep?’ but how close the cars are going to be to you,” said Henry Dunbar with Bike Arlington.

His team has worked for two years, rating every road in the county for its commuting difficulty, and asking thousands of fellow cyclists to help.

The comfort level map addresses some key questions.

“Are the routes marked well?” Dunbar asked. “Is there room to maneuver? And the volume and speed of traffic is one of the critical things.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation is rolling out a similar project, with the aim of getting more commuters cycling.

VDOT is asking riders to take a survey and help update the Northern Virginia Regional Bikeway and Trail map

As part of it, there’s a comfort level rating for the roads to help give commuters a better idea of what they’re going to endure.

While the projects are separate, they speak to commuters’ growing interest in ditching the car — whether on a nice day or altogether.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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