How to make roads safer for Delaware pedestrians and cyclists

cycle lane

What’s keeping you from an early morning jog or a runout with your bike? Is it the safety concerns? Well like they say if you’re looking to be invisible try being a pedestrian or cyclist on a busy road and rightly so.

The increase in road accidents is a cause for concern and the major problem is that while we our invisible to the motorists it’s the same in case of the safety engineers too. It’s also the responsibility of the engineers and road safety experts to ensure infrastructure that promotes pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The funds for road safety in any state including Delaware is sanctioned by the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and while close to $51m has been spent by the authorities you’ll be surprised to know out it none has been dedicated towards pedestrian or cyclist safety projects.

Quite shocking isn’t it? Such a huge amount spent only on improving road safety for vehicles and while these projects have brought about a significant reduction in vehicle accidents, pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have gone up by 10-15 over the past 8-9 years.

But who’s to blame? Is it the automobile companies and safety technicians conspiring to drive out pedestrians and cyclists to increase car sales by making roads a nightmare for the walkers and cyclists?

While that makes a killer plot for movie or TV series it isn’t the case in reality. The problem is quite basic. Every time we talk about road safety our first thought is automobile safety. That’s the reason you’d find engineers and technicians working more on making intersections safer and while that lowered accidents it’s time to shift focus onto the streets of Delaware.

One of biggest changes we have seen is the setting up of a special team for improving safety standards for pedestrians and cyclists. The team comprises of member from the local police force, Highway safety department and other important organizations.

The Solution

One basic change we can all agree to is increased investment of both time and money by the experts. Few other things that can help improve the situation are use of light beacons on crosswalks. Even LED sign boards or use of digital speed signs are small changes that can make the biggest impacts. Construction of separate lanes for cyclists and walkers and stricter laws and fines for over speeding and breaking of rules are few obvious solutions.

led signs

One important suggestion during the team’s meet was relocating bus stands to safer and more convenient locations. Apart from that use of audio messages to alert buses and installation of safety banners have also been discussed. Also public surveys are being conducted to help inform the people about road and safety measures.

In case you have an idea or a suggestion you think will help, let us know through the comments below.

 

Wilmington Grand Prix 2016: Everything you need to know

The last time you heard of a pro cycling event in Wilmington was probably in the year 1990 and somewhere in the year 1996 this race was permanently shut down after the withdrawal of a big sponsor but thanks to Jerry, co-founder of the race and other sponsors the race was brought back to back to life in 2007 and back to Wilmington this year with a bang. Both the winners Brad White from the United Health Care Pro cycling team and Samantha Schneider of IC corp from the men and women divisions respectively were all smiles in the end.

winners

The number of participants and the overall response gave it the nick name of the American version of the Tour De France. It’s only the 2nd time the race has been held in Wilmington and cyclists from across the globe hit the road.

About 800-900 racers are said to have taken while close to 9000 spectators were present to enjoy not just the race but the live music, mini games and various other activities on an action packed day on the streets of Wilmington.

Wilmington gp

One of the leading sponsor for the race since the very start has been Bank of America but this year was different. Even the other sponsor came to the fore and did their best to make it a special 3 day event.

The race was flagged on Friday from the Brandywine Zoo and the whole event came to a close on Sunday after a short 15 mile ride by the Governor.  The race director Laura, a former winner of the same GP was quite happy with the event and response.

The only concern before the race was the weather but rains held off until the final few laps of the day providing the participants and spectators a clear blue sky otherwise. The spectators seemed quite happy with the inclusion of the race into the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour.

The event gave the locals the perfect reason to get out of their homes and enjoy the warm Saturday afternoon along with friends and family with some tacos and a pint of beer.

DuPhily later in an interview described in details the troubles and hard work put into managing an event this big. Lack sleep etc. are just a few things his team go through.

Yes over the years Wilmington has developed a bad reputation when it comes to safety and while many would refuse coming here we were glad to see the organizers, participants and also the spectators put in the effort and time needed to make the event a successful one and turn it into a weekend to remember for many and hope to see more such events in the near future.

gp event

If you attended the event do share your views, images and videos of the day with us. You can comment below or use the contact form.

 

Must Read: $20 Million approved to improve cycling and walking in Delaware

We have all heard about the amount of deaths caused by road accidents in Delaware especially among the cyclists and pedestrians and in the high tech fast moving world of today these modes of transports have taken a back seat but guess what good news is just around the corner.

On the 1st of July the Delaware General Assembly agreed to fund $20 million in order to improve safety and of cyclists and pedestrians in the state. While big strides have been made in the past year regarding these issues it’s expected that this record amount will provide the infrastructure the much needed boost.

Yes you heard it right, it’s a new record. The same assembly in the year 2012 approved $13m which has now been surpassed by $7m. This comes as a surprise because when the budget was initially drafted it was only around $18-$19m but the $1m add-on is certainly a positive sign and it’s now expected to speed up the previously made efforts.

One of the major tasks set out to be completed through the budget is the Wilmington-New Castle Greenway. For those unaware this is a secure, straightforward, well paved and smooth path designed especially for the morning joggers and cyclists.

It’s a 6 mile long motorist free path planned to be covering the Wilmington Riverfront and downtown new castle. Apart from that one of the more interesting projects that’s also being targeted with the newly sanctioned funds is the Lewes-Georgetown Trail, one that will interest the mountain bikers or trail runners looking for a new adventure.

Wilmington Riverfront
Wilmington Riverfront

This is going to be a 10-11 foot broad path and is expected to cover a distance of about 15-17 miles stretching from Lewes to Georgetown breaking another record of the lengthiest trail in Delaware.

While these projects aren’t immediate solutions to the growing problems it’s encouraging to see serious steps being taken towards a better and fitter future and we here on behalf of everyone would love to thank all members of the assembly especially the State Senator and Governor for initiating the funds and future steps. To end with, here’s an interesting fact.

Few days back the senator cycled his way to office which is about 50-60 miles and this was emulated by the governor few days later, sounds great doesn’t it? So what’s keeping you hold up in your room? Get out and get fitter.

You can share with us your views and comments on the funds approved and projects being undertaken in the comments section below. Let’s together make Delaware a safer and greener place.

Our top recommended trails for cyclists in Delaware

Riding on roads is for the newbies. If you’re up for a tougher challenge and want to take your cycling to the next level well there’s a trail ride in the waiting. So if you’re in Delaware and up for the ride here are some places we recommend you pay a visit.

Cape Henlopen State trail

state trail

This is a 4 miles trail with loads of scenic spots in and around the area one of which is the World War 2 tower. Rider and runners love to take a break and go up the stairs to enjoy the panoramic view of the entire area.

Apart from that you’ll find paths that lead to the dunes and spots inhabited by plenty of deer. The fishing camps, Gordon’s pond and the cape where migrating birds are present are some other points of interest.

Greenway Trail

greenway trail

Those looking for a short and quiet getaway from the busy city streets on their bikes will love this trail. Most of the trail is along a deserted road which ultimately connects to the New castle and the famous Wilmington Riverfront.

It’s a 4-5 miles long trail that starts around Christina River and ends near the castle. In between you’ll get awesome urban landscape views and lush green fields. It’s the perfect trail for the newbie riders.

Loblolly Trail

Loblolly Trail

This trail is present in the area around the Trap pond and since it runs across a forest and a dam present at the Raccoon pond you can expect some amazing panoramic views so carry your camera along.

Another point of interest is the Cypress point and is one the top spots for birdwatchers around the country. The cypress trees are home to a variety of bird species such as woodpeckers etc. An age old stone church is worth a stop but the best part remains the pond camping site.

The Breakwater trail

Junction Breakwater

This is one of the lengthiest trails in the list and stretches to a total of about 6-7 miles. It begins at the Gills Neck road and ends at the Rehoboth beach. The trail is mostly stone clad with a few smooth areas towards the end so prep for bumpy ride.

On your ride you’ll come across wetlands near Holland Glade and further down some cornfields, thick pine forest trees and some wildlife such as geese, squirrels, deer etc. The various outlets give you the opportunity to fuel up during the rides.

Before you hit any of these trails make you’re well trained and prepared. Clock miles riding uphill and downhill on roads and integrate other muscle strengthening workouts into your routine such as a treadmill or rowing machine workout. Concept2 Model D rowers are the most comfortable, challenging and yet affordable rowers.

Also make sure you carry the required equipment and gear. Water bottles, puncture kit, first aid box etc. are simply a must.