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Chip seal bad for bikes

As a cyclist, I appreciate the changes that have been implemented and are currently in the works to make Spokane a more bicycle-friendly community. One recent counterproductive development is the proliferation of chip seal.

The chief advantage of chip sealing is that it is cheaper to apply than standard pavement. I get that cost is an important consideration. I pay taxes, too. Using chip seal to extend the life of damaged pavement may make sense. But dumping chip seal on top of smooth pavement, which seems to be the current fad, makes less sense and is especially grating.

Chip seal causes significant increases in road vibration. It is especially jarring to one particular body part of cyclists. You can probably guess what part. The bumpier ride over chip seal also makes accidents more likely. Especially with new chip seal, loose gravel tends to build up in the bike lane making bikes harder to control.

This contradicts the city’s 2009 Master Bike Plan, which aims to make cycling safer and more efficient. I urge governmental authorities to reverse the disturbing increase in the use of chip seal and to instead of lay down more smooth pavement.

Ted Meckler


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