Sedona News (July 20, 2021) I would like to share some thoughts about the recent project of putting in a pedestrian/bike lane on Sanborn and Thunder Mountain roads. It is a wonderful project in that it encourages people to get out and walk or bike which will be a very positive thing for our community.
I speak from my background of several decades of being a dedicated biker. Before I moved here 15 years ago, I biked to my office, round trip of 10 miles, for 20 years. It was in Eugene, Oregon and I was able use a lovely bike path which was along the side of the Willamette river. What a joy. On moving here, there was the challenge of the hills, so I converted to an electric bike. It is still a bike, one that is pedaled, but has the assistance of extra help on hills if needed. It has been my primary transportation in Sedona, going uptown from West Sedona, or to the stores, bank, library, whatever.
So I speak from approval of the project but with some suggestions from my experience. The first thing is the plan of having walkers in one lane and bikers in the other. Here is a picture of it.
You can see the yellow line down the middle which divides the two lanes — one for walking the other for the bike. Yes, you can use either lane, but the idea is that they are used separately. My objection to this is that I don’t consider it safe.
If there is a couple in one lane, or perhaps one or more persons walking with a child or dog, my riding by them in the other lane is not safe. My bike will go over 20 miles an hour and you can imagine this whipping by you at that speed.
Well, yes, I would slow down, would all bikers? I talked to the project manager about it and was told the assumption was that the biker would let the people know they were going to be passed and that would be the right thing to do. Nonetheless, I would feel unsafe about it because of the narrowness of the lane. I could be passing slowly and a child or dog runs in front of me, or I might inadvertently swerve a little and bump the person. Or a flat tire? What I would do (and will do) is ride off the path for a bit, into the street and then back up on the path. Very easy to do if set up right. So this leads to the next comment.
In this next picture notice the shape of the curb.
It is slanted and very, very easy to turn the bike and ride down to the road. Feels very safe, no bumps, smooth transition. I think most bikers would do that, just the easiest and safest. What if there was traffic on the road? Then one can wait a bit, or do the original plan of riding the bike lane around the people. However there is not usually that much traffic on these roads so would not be an issue.
But here is the obstacle. Look at the next picture.
Do you see how the curb is not slanted but has a sharp edge? There is no way I am going over that in my bike. Not safe for me, and not comfortable. Unfortunately, there is a very long stretch with this sort of curb, maybe half mile or more. Why did they do that? I don’t know but the result is that a biker cannot access the path to get on or off without getting off the bike and manually moving it off. Could they change this? Surely it could be done but likely not. But perhaps in the future this will be taken into account.
As I said at the start it is a great idea, just could be fine-tuned better.
Editor’s Note: Sedona resident Dr. Richard Pitcairn graduated from Veterinary school as UC Davis in 1965 and entered practice in Southern California. The work was with dogs, cats, horses, dairy cows, other livestock as well as animals in a traveling circus. After a couple of years, he moved to Pullman, Washington, to join the faculty at the veterinary school there.
During that time of teaching, research, and a PhD in the study of viruses and the immune system, an interest in nutrition as a health aid developed. Re-entering practice, Dr. Pitcairn emphasized the use of nutritional therapy and homeopathic medicine as treatments. His practice in Eugene, Oregon, used only these methods of 20 yers. With his wife Susan Pitcairn a book emphasizing this approach was published in 1982, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Still in print, in4th edition, having sold over 500,000 copies.