Orange County is commonly known as one of the most bicycle-friendly counties in the state.
That being said, there are still clashes between motorists and cyclists when it comes to subjects like holding up traffic.
The Bicycle Safety Task Force was formed to develop a campaign for bike safety and research to inform community members who partake in all types of transportation how to best coexist with cyclists.
The task force presented a plan at the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday that members say could help make safety a priority. Members suggested that things like improved data collection, updated traffic lights and a media campaign could help jump-start the plan.
The task force requested $15,000 from the county to fund the first year of its efforts.
“That money would be spent on posters and flyers, signage design and placement at entry points in the county,” said Abigaile Pittman, Transportation and Land Use Planner for Orange County. “That would require coordination with NCDOT, bumper stickers and magnets and yard signs, website development and social media, and to launch a campaign kickoff with signs, contests, ads… things like that.”
Pittman said the money will go toward developing a web site, although it will have to be linked to the county’s planning page.
But County Commissioner Vice Chair Penny Rich said it could be difficult for residents to find web page if it isn’t made clear on the planning site.
“So my concern is how are people going to find this,” she said. “Because if you have to go through three or four clicks to get there… I’m wondering if there’s going to be some sort of heading or something that allows you to get there with one click.”
Pittman said the task force has some options to make it stand out.
“It would be hard to know where to go, otherwise,” she said. “So you can certainly put it farther towards the front on the front of the planning department page… and then you can click that and it will send you back.”
Commissioner Mark Marcoplos said the plan should potentially address bicycling group sizes, because certain roads clog easily with big groups of cyclists.
“I go up and down Orange Grove Road all the time and have lost hours of my life behind packs of bikes,” he said. “And I just wondered, I haven’t really looked into it much to see what the solutions are around the country but, are there legal solutions? Are there maximum pack sizes or spacing solutions?”
County Commissioner Chair Mark Dorosin said the funding for the task force will be brought up when the commissioners discuss budget for the next year.
“Let’s bring that back in our budget discussions and if there’s consensus, to put it in there to move forward,” he said. “Also look at the other recommendations and an implementation committee to then do that.”