I’ve written to the editor before about state driving laws being just and needing no refinement. Now, can the elected stewards, our representatives, get together to scout an infrastructure plan for safe biking in districts, towns, and state? There may be many working on proposals, but all such proposals would have to be worked out with dedicated fundraising monies, preferably from bicyclists, from grants, and matching funds then codified in law. If stewards who bike get together to form a coalition, in the House and in local governments, it might happen.
Big and small businesses would benefit from safer roads and designated off-road bike paths like those found in other states and Canadian provinces. We want paved shoulders on highways and byways, and the paving of breakdown lanes as a safety net for all traffic. Because of deep soft sand shoulders, narrow lanes, and 18-wheelers, tankers, and pulp trucks faring blind curves and hills on two-lane roads … bits of glass, drag, and instability … these unstable shoulders make moving off in traffic onto shoulders a dangerous proposition.
Prince Edward Island converted defunct rail beds into bike paths years ago. We might do the same to great advantage of Maine’s tourism. Tourists bring money for small businesses to prosper, and biking has been de-focused, neglected in our resort areas. Cyclists want to bike in Maine but the roads are unsafe, despite claims on web sites connected to Maine.gov that we are a “bike friendly” state. Maine is not bike friendly. For the safety of bicyclists and drivers of other vehicles, this claim should not be made.
One important aspect for legislators working on this problem is the designated dedicated use of all bike monies to the project, and to be used for no other purpose than making safe biking places. There might be a special dedicated tax on bikes bought and sold in the state. However, bike registration may not be the way since that would entail added bureaucratic expense and make it a hardship for those who cannot afford to register. For many people in this state biking is the only way they have to get around, get to work, run errands.
Hopefully, some way will soon be found to make Maine “bike friendly” for all.