Friday, August 19, 2011

Should There Be a Bike Trail Through Wellfleet?

Often, in summer, we encounter bikers on Commercial Street. It’s great that so many people are leaving their cars behind, and yet I fear the biking conditions are not optimal in our town. This situation will not change any time soon.

“Biking on the Outer Cape in summer can be dangerous,” I told my last set of guests, an exuberant family from France who would make a point of cycling everywhere despite my warning. I cringed as they set off without the helmets that had been provided by Idle Times Bike Shop.

Sven used to bike a lot and often managed to get out of the house without his helmet. I would worry about his riding out beautiful Chequessett Neck to Duck Harbor. The road is scenic and often deserted, so I do recommend it to guests.

The Cape Cod Rail Trail has many fans, but it starts in South Wellfleet. Chez Sven is two blocks from Long Pond Road, which is called “the Bike Trail Extension” but tell that to the summer drivers who juggle cell phones and screaming kids. One minute of distraction is all it takes. Indeed, a biker was killed last month on Route 6, between Truro and Provincetown. Now comes a proposal from the Provincetown Bicycle Advisory Committee for cutting Route 6 down to one lane on each side, from Truro to Provincetown.

Wellfleet used to have a committee to study improvement of the biking situation in town, but that committee was disbanded, Lydia Vivante, at Town Hall, told me. I called Alan Platt for more information: “They tried to generate enthusiasm by laying out trails, but the trails all involved private property.” In other words, whenever the path went by a house, someone would object. Alan specified that the objections came mostly from Truro residents. He added that these objections would probably disappear once people realized proximity to a bike trail would increase property values.

Would you like to see a real bike trail through Wellfleet? What do you think of the Provincetown-Truro proposal? Do you bike on a regular basis? Do you wear a helmet? Do you have a favorite Cape Cod bike trail?