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Sat., Aug. 3, 2013

Sweep bike paths

I recently took an unexpected bike trip: a 16 mph face-plant on the Appleway Couplet bike path near Dishman Hills after hitting a 5-inch piece of asphalt. Color made it invisible.

With a scraped elbow, thigh rash, face bruises shaped like glasses, a severely sprained wrist and two-piece broken helmet, I took my bike with two flats to the shop for a new front wheel and whatever else needs repaired. After countless swerves and near misses, the path got me with a direct hit.

If the Spokane and Spokane Valley city councils think they’re doing cyclists a favor by providing bike paths, they are not. Without regular sweeping, they’re a 4-foot area for the collection of spark plugs, lug nuts, strap hooks, bolts, gravel, glass and whatever else falls off vehicles. Before paths, momentum and car wind kept that stuff up against the curb. Now it’s right where we ride.

Want to provide a bike path? Great. But they are not safe if not maintained. In 40 years of road-biking, I’ve noticed it was much safer back when I rode alongside the cars 2 feet from the curb than it is now.

Chuck Vensel

Spokane Valley

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