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Wilmington needs more bike and pedestrian paths

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– Bike paths in Wilmington could lose state funding.

Cyclists say the paths need a lot of improvements, but a new state requirement could delay funding for any of these new projects.

Suzy Linger and her family grew up riding their bikes in Ohio.

“A state that’s bike friendly,” Fred Linger said.

So, when they packed up their bicycles for a trip to Wilmington they were a bit surprised.

“Were there bike paths?” Suzy Linger asked.

After one try on the road they said it just did not feel safe.

“For my daughter especially,” Suzy said. “I think that’s why she only wanted to ride the one time. She didn’t really want to deal with the cars.”

Executive Director for the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Mike Kolzosky says after the city’s planning staff analyzed the current bike paths, they also found a need for more.

“It’s important to point out there is a safety issue,” Kolzosky said. “From 2007 to 2013, there were over 800 injuries and 24 fatalities that have occurred that are bicycle and pedestrian related.”

Suzy’s husband Fred sat out on their porch and saw how easily these accidents happen.

“I saw a number of times where cars pulled out in front of bikers and bikers had to dodge the cars if the car didn’t see them at all.”

Kolzosky says the state now requires a letter of support from local governments if they want state funding.
“A letter acknowledging this local commitment is part of the process.”

Until the city creates more paths, the Linger’s say they won’t be cycling on Port City roads again.

“No. it’s too tense.”

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. city council will discuss whether or not to support the funding.

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