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Bicycle Safety and Our Town

by | Feb 4, 2020 | Voices of Davidson

(On January 28, Nicole van Baelen spoke to the Davidson Town Council at their regularly scheduled meeting. These are her remarks.)

Good evening, town council members and everyone present this evening. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I am here tonight with a group of friends and cyclists. My name is Nicole van Baelen. I have lived in Davidson since 2016, and work for Ingersoll Rand as Human Resources Director. I absolutely love our outdoors and I am an avid runner and cyclist.

On Saturday, more than 300 cyclists turned out to ride for Earl, our friend who was killed on Highway 115 on January 12. While we lost an amazing friend, his family lost a husband, dad, and granddad. Statistics reveal that 29% of collisions in rural areas involving cars and cyclists happen when the car driver tries to overtake the cyclist. That’s what happened to Earl, too.

We would like to continue to cycle in our beautiful area but would like to see safety concerns, such as infrastructure and law enforcement, being addressed so we can avoid these tragic accidents. We want safer roads for all road users: car drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

On my way back from the ride on Saturday, two trucks were trying to pass a group of cyclists on Shearers Road. I had to stop my car to oncoming traffic to let them finish passing. If I had not anticipated this and stopped my car, the two passing cars would have either pushed the cyclists off the road or hit my car. This is the kind of behavior we need to address.

I am very, very lucky that I have never been hit, but I have had several near misses, both as a runner and cyclist. Thank you, commissioners, for your consideration of how we can work together to improve our area for all road users.

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