Raleigh cites bike-friendly improvements for decrease in crashes since 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cyclist-related crashes are steadily decreasing in Raleigh and officials are contributing the improvements to efforts to make the city more bike-friendly.

Bike lanes are continuously being added to roadways.

When Raleigh adopted its Bike Plan back in 2009, there were just four miles of bike lanes. There are now more than 80 miles.

"I do believe it is safer now than it was seven years ago," said Raleigh resident Charles Thompson.

He's a manager at Oak City Cycling and an avid cyclist himself.

Thompson bikes to work every day and appreciates dedicated lanes.

"It's shocking to hear the numbers (of added lanes) and how much it has increased," said Thompson.

It wasn't so long ago that he was injured in a wreck near NC State University.

"I had an accident years ago on a road that now has a bike lane, which feels good," he said.

Raleigh Transportation Planning Manager Eric Lamb said the work is easy in new developments. There's a blank canvas to incorporate bike lanes.

Reconfiguring existing roadways can be more difficult and it may create some tricky situations for drivers.

On Crabtree Boulevard off Capital Boulevard, for instance, drivers have to cross over the bike lane to make a right on North Raleigh Boulevard.

The City has reassigned some of the pavement on Green Road.

"Green Road was built anticipating a massive amount of development around the Mini City area. It was a four lane private roadway, but it doesn't have four lanes worth of traffic," explained Lamb. "We could reassign some of that pavement and make some space for bike lanes and still meet the traffic demands. Does that mean that it goes from being a wide-open free flow road to sometimes congested during rush hour? Yes, but it's not necessarily a bad thing when you take into consideration all of the safety improvements not just for bikes but for traffic as well."

Raleigh reports that bike-related crashes have been being sliced in half since 2017.

"That's a really, really remarkable achievement," said Lamb.

It could encourage folks to find alternative forms of transportation.

"There are people who need this option and thinking of them is what we should be doing. I am privileged to be able to commute by bike as a choice, but that is not everyone's situation," said Thompson.

There is a plan for the city and you can see whether streets in your neighborhood are slated for improvements.
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