Va. cyclists push for friendlier biking conditions

WASHINGTON – Bicycle advocates gathered this weekend with the support of a number of elected leaders to learn about cycling infrastructure in the suburbs and how to push for more, as part of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling Summit.

“There are so many people we talk to that want to ride, but they’re intimidated by riding in the road, especially on our bigger roads,” Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling Chairman Bruce Wright says.

He points to the growth of cycling in the District since the expansion of bike lanes and cycle tracks – and the addition of Capital Bikeshare.

While Bikeshare in Fairfax County is still in the planning stages, the county is in the process of expanding bike lanes, trails and other infrastructure. The county transportation department expects to first bring it to Reston, then Tysons.

“Fairfax County is going to continue to grow,” says Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, “and we want to provide those alternatives so that our existing facilities don’t get any more congested, and people have alternatives without having to be stuck in traffic.”

Lake Braddock 10th-grader James Carter and his younger brother Greg say they pedal around often, but they can’t always feel comfortable in the streets where cyclists are supposed to ride.

“There’s this place by my house that we call Dead Man’s Curve,” Greg says. “It’s a very sharp turn, and the road is very crappy. It’s just not very safe.”

“Road-wise, the bikes are very good,” says James, “but I feel like the drivers aren’t as educated toward bikers as they really should be. A lot of them, if they see a biker, will honk or swerve around them really fast.”

James is set to start driving himself in a few weeks. He hopes his experience as a cyclist will make him more considerate behind the wheel.

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